Friday, September 28, 2007

Off the Chain Quote of the Day

Via text

“Hey, what are you doing right now?”

“Hey! Sort of having Cristal with Kanye’s entourage. No, not kidding.”

“So you’re saying you don’t want to meet me at the Waldorf for a drink?”

There might come a day, where you find yourself exiting a Duane Reade with band aids because you stabbed yourself with your new drawing pen, and you are thinking aloud how you will manage to fashion a meal out of Wasa crackers and Hawaiian Punch, and you will for some reason still have on the heels that you wore to work, and a man coming from a radio interview with a twenty thousand dollar chain hanging from his neck will stop you with “Miss! Miss! You dropped something!” and bend to the ground and pretend to pick up something but really pick up nothing and say, “You dropped my number!” and you will laugh and he will like it and then ask you to come with them to the hotel where he will pop champagne and then to the limo where there will be more and you pretend you have a boyfriend because he’s asked you if you want to go shopping at Gucci tomorrow and your response was “I can’t. I…have an expense report to finish.”

And you leave, because that is best, because you have been mistaken for someone or something else than what you are and you will one day be very grateful that you realized it first…

This must be someone else’s life…because it couldn’t possibly be mine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It sneaks up on me. I was deciding, quite nerdily I’ll admit, between varieties of charcoal for the next drawing when someone reminded me I should be thinking about a costume. What I gleaned from the rest of the lecture: my plaintiff plea that my outfits are starting to look more and more like costumes anyway, doesn’t now, nor at any point will ever, count*.

I still have yet to come up with one, and I’m dying for your suggestions. Luckily, my plans have come together for once, and they remain only slightly less cool than last year where I watched Stephen King’s It as my brother interrupted every, oh, four minutes or so with his narration of what was happening (“They are so going to die!” and “When are they going to die?” and “Why haven’t they died yet?” and “Do you think they’re going to die soon?”).

This year, the dance party continuation will happen the night before. On Halloween proper, we’ll take the day off to bake pie and carve pumpkins and watch movies, because we don’t have boyfriends this time and we’re starting to be pretty glad, because then we have one another, in our pajamas and painting our nails. And with one another and in our pajamas and painting our nails, we’re already doing everything in the world we could ever want.

*Case in point; the recent dance party and my singular predominance of spandex and crystallized accessories. But as a hostess, I figure it’s my job to get the ball rolling. And the conversation that followed did prompt the idea of having a Thanksgiving fete, where all the girls dress as Pocahontas and all the boys have to come as turkeys.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Missed Opportunity

It was the greatest idea that never came to pass. We had just graduated and were living on 13th street in an apartment where pineapple pajamas and one mysterious stagnant pool of water in the bathroom were staples.

The TV was flush against the fridge, our horrible table was taken off the prop truck of Party Monster, my room was literally part of the kitchen and dustballs* the size of pets lived under the couch.

Things happened there. Roommates and friends moved in, moved out, hooked up, woke up lying down and fully clothed in the shower with their legs in the kitchen, that sort of thing. Once two of my male roommates had been out drinking and came home, banging on my door until I opened it, then proceeded to get into my bed to hang out (my bed was a single, by the way, this is how small the room was) and thought it would be hysterical to try to see if a three person spoon could be completed. I left to go sleep in one of their beds, alone, and when I woke up, I checked on them, and the boys were still there, fast asleep and spooning each other.

That apartment was the origin of our New York experiences, where there wasn’t enough room for more than one person out of the four of us to have a boyfriend or girlfriend because there were only five seats, if you squished, on the couches. Where The Curmudgeon began to reference my now-infamous black dress, when the boys were on their meat diet and they bought a fan to blow the smell of all that steak out the window just for that purpose, where I had heated, endlessly circular discussions on how leaving the water running was destroying the environment.

We had a lot of ideas, and some of them we actually managed to enact, but the best of all was the one we didn’t. It was to have a portrait commissioned of us, dressed up and as though we were a family, looking straight ahead, me in a cardigan, the boys in hats and maybe one with a pipe. I always imagined the artist would take license and paint in a Dalmation. We wanted to hang it in what we called the living room. It would have been fantastic, but we never quite worked it out. It’s like when a friend moves to an exotic place and everyone says they’ll visit them but no one ever does. Our portrait was just like that. Truthfully, I wanted it more than anyone else. We’d talk about it at parties or when we went out, laughing and pushing each other at the hilarity of it all.

I had forgotten about it until last night. We laughed about it again. We said we’d really do it. Next time we live together, we’ll do it, we promise this time, and it will be just like it was when we were assistants, all of us, we had no money, we ate biscuits for dinner, we slept until four PM on Sundays, we were just so excited to be away from our parents and living with our friends, we would do it this time, we said wistfully, knowing full well we never would...

*I remember pushing a paper towel under to collect them periodically, jumping and then throwing it, thinking I had snagged part of an animal. After that, when we picked them up, we’d sing “here kitty, kitty” and throw them at each other.

Monday, September 24, 2007

For Measure

It used to be that a good weekend was measured by Monday’s discomfort. How much pain were you in, literally or figuratively speaking, by then. Did you not get any sleep because you were up all night with someone or something? Did you fall victim to any form of over-consumption? Are you now slumped at your chair, the litany of texts you sent your ex burning brightly in your mind, waiting out the after-hangover of far too much fun?

My measures harken back to those of yesterday, not in productivity and shoulds but of all the things I did that I should have not:

- The continuation of the Wordless Music Series in Brooklyn via Fifth Veil and Beirut’s giddy, rehearsal-like performance. Hilarious snippets directly from the program: “The name of the group (Fifth Veil) refers both to Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils from the New Testament, and to a little-known conspiracy theory in which removing successive veils eventually reveals that the universe is controlled by secret societies of time-traveling lizards.” Also, an urging to join for September 24th’s performance where “Parisian electroacoustic artist Colleen” will play.

- IFC’s Rooftop Film Series in the lower east side, the last of the summer, where we saw all the best shorts of the year, our blanket on the floor and our eyes on French cartoons. Then, a social experiment at Fontana’s, where she left and I stayed, just to see if I could.

- The dance party mix was eight and a half hours long. And the party outlasted the mix.

- My family sitting in the best seats at the Jets game, mere hours after the dance party ended with me literally pushing people out of the door, in the sun, wave after wave of heat landing on me in this state. The Jets game outlasted me.

- How I ended it all by eating ice cream in my bed and in the dark and falling asleep before eleven.

The weekend is over; all go hard or go home, and my ribs hurt though I am not in any pain at all...

Friday, September 21, 2007

The State

I’ve crossed back to the nebulous state. Transitions and plans of attack cloud around me as September ends. Truthfully, I never really thought I would know what to do with my life, yet every day I don’t, it’s fresh surprise. A burning idea gives way to reasoning and for everything that seems perfectly sane, there are a hundred points behind it that urge opting out.

Luckily, now I only have myself to reassure. If I can’t sleep, only I occupy the bed. And lately, I can’t sleep. My hands are idle, they need to be moving, I’m organizing items just to re-pile, staring at a to-do list that does not exist, scrolling through my phone and wondering where the time went from the last moment I heard what I wanted to hear, a possibility that turned into something half as exciting as the prospect. The din of my air conditioner has never been able to drown out my nagging inner voice. Do I take this step or let it take me?

That I can’t answer, so I let my moods do the talking. I signed up, finally and nearly eight months later, to finish up that lingering art-partial-degree. I’m structuring a plan for the novel so that come January it will be someone else’s problem for a while. These things have been shadowing me too long to abandon and also, I tend to love them as much as they tend to not love me back. In the meantime, I am walking too much and too far, finding myself under faulty lighting at the side of the city, scuffing my shoes, and I have not gotten tired even once.

Feeling contemplative is futile. It’s Friday and it’s beautiful and it will not be cold for at least another week or three. So today whatever it is that holds me back will not be pushed down, but will be let out, and it can ride away with summer for all I care…

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monopoly on Fun

The year was 1988 and Christmas had ended, lasting a little over twenty three minutes.

At least, the important part. Namely me, slowed only by insistence on wearing my new Freezy Freakies, fighting the urge to tear open every present until I could do snow angels in the piles of discarded glitter paper.

My brother would not be born for a few more holidays and so after we had picked up all errant bows, it was just me, the adults and their coffee. My dad stoking the fire while simultaneously cataloging thank you notes and insisting, with his back at me, that I write them that instant (though I didn’t have to write them for what Santa brought). My mom in a patterned robe dishing out hot chocolate so thick you had to finish it with a spoon. And me, hiding, waiting to scare the dog by shouting her name through an empty cardboard wrapping tube every time she went to drink the tree water.

In my house, the big celebration has always been dinner the day of, so in the no-man’s land between 7 AM and 10 AM (10 AM being when “fun time was over” apparently, according to my dad, and I had to take off the Freezy Freakies) my parents would do the greatest thing. They’d put on the good Christmas CD (James Brown's Funky Christmas--if you do not own this then your happiness does not matter to you at all) and we’d play Monopoly.

I loved it so much when we first started, so filled with glee at the prospect of playing a game for hours, but as we continued, my feeble brain began to understand. I started not to trust the Parker Brothers. Because as the morning wore on, it was very clear what was happening. Monopoly had aided and abetted the adults in duping me. For that game is no game, my friends.

Crossfire is a game*.

Monopoly is no Crossfire.

It’s made for grown-ups and that’s why we played.

Of course, I didn’t see it at first. How could I? I was too busy clapping my Freezy Freakies together in my joy dance that I, kid, had triumphed over formidable enemies of all things cool (Mom + Dad). We were going to play a game. Ha! Take that Zydeco! (Our dog, running from me as I shouted her name through the tube one last time).

That feeling, like all others, did not last long.

First, I was the last to choose my piece; cosmic retribution for having tricked the adults into playing. My dad was the car. My mom was the Scottie. And I can’t recall whether we were missing pieces or if Monopoly was just this bad at the time, but I remember then and every time we played after, always ending up with something awful. Like the top hat. Or even worse, the old-timey shoe. Wow, that shoe was the apex of anti-fun. Just thinking about it makes me a little uncomfortable.

Then, and I remember this well, I asked to be the banker, for reasons even now I cannot explain. I think I truly believed if I were to be in charge of the money, I could never go bankrupt. It just seemed to be a natural law of the universe. Of course, it always happened. I was the type of player to put a house on Park Place—which we all know no one, not in seventeen years minimum, has landed on even once—and simultaneously grossly underestimate all red and yellow properties along with my father’s stealth seeing as he would buy all red and yellow properties and build one neat, unbroken row of deadly hotels, looking up at me with his perfunctory, Midwestern “aw shucks, better luck next time” face as he held his open palm to collect.

As the banker, my joyless task of handling the money was only exacerbated by an acute sense of everyone else’s good fortune (why, oh why did my mother ALWAYS land on Go, while my best play was to “win a beauty contest, collect fifteen dollars” from the Community Chest?). So there I was, trying to keep my own bills in straight piles tucked underneath the board’s edge, strategizing, kicking myself for thinking it didn’t matter if I landed on Baltic Avenue, I could afford it, and dishing out all the orange bills—you know, the good ones—to the adults, the adults who already had all the real money in the world! I mean, we had two cars, one for each of them! I could just tell they were billionaires in real life. I mean, the TV in the den had wood paneling for crying out loud. That was evidence enough.

I do remember that a game like that, and this one in particular, could have gone on all day. I could jot out I.O.U.’s, plead for underhanded deals, offer to double the presents I gave to my parents (which for a few years consisted of painstakingly-made elaborate art projects that promised “this coupon good for one whole day where K will spend inside her room reading instead of pretending Mom’s new garden is a jungle and K is a snow leopard that somehow got transported into Mom’s new jungle”).

The great thing about my parents though, is that they were kind enough to stop it when it was clear I would never win. It would be suddenly time to get dressed or feed the dog or start roasting chicken. I would pack up the game, put my Freezy Freakies back on, and go outside to stomp.

They were good like that. Monopoly wasn’t.

I’m remembering this because last night, I saw an advertisement for the newest version of the game. And I couldn't believe it. The pieces are different. The cards are better. And the greatest thing of all, there’s an electronic banker. No more counting out the one dollar bills by hand. No more pleads on scraps of paper. No more utter humiliation of doing math in your spare time. No more what I went through. I should have been happy.

Monopoly had changed. But I had not.

Because all I could think, and this is the part of me that will always reside in 1988, much like Freezy Freakies, though this revamped version will save legions of children come this Christmas, was this:

“Hey, no fair!”

Because you know, if I had to go through it, they should too…

*Who am I kidding? Crossfire is the game. To end all games. That song is so amazing. I’m currently researching if I can get it as my ringtone and will report back.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quote of the Day

Think of it as an old western at high noon...

Good versus Evil.

Us vs. Them.

Scrub versus Management.

The scene: Friday at 4:30 PM.

A high-level director approaches at the opposite end of the hallway, extremely dapper in a light purple shirt and certainly expensive light purple tie atop the lower half of a gray suit. Now me, I am dressed quite inappropriately in skinny jeans and a T-shirt with a huge-ass skull (cause you know, skulls are cool!). I have been hiding all day in my end of the office where no management has seen me for hours. I almost made it. It’s heartbreaking, really. How close I came...

We now walk towards one another, him increasing at a clip, leaving me nowhere to turn. I try to hide my face with a standard sized envelope. It does not work. Damnit.

The question of what to do is unanswerable, at least in the next five seconds. I don’t want him to see me and tell my boss that I pal around the office with the other assistants looking like a ragamuffin when she’s not in. But I don’t want him to think I’m ignoring him, especially dressed as a ragamuffin (what message does that send? I think I'm better than him in some weird shaggy chic, homegrown mentality against the man?), as I need to stay good with people above me. The solution? Distract, deflect, project. Possibly with flattery. Okay, you can do this...

Him: “Good afternoon, K.”

Me: “Richard! You’re a vision in lilac!”

All the cubes within earshot, everyone jumping out to see who on earth just addressed said director in such a way: “Bah hah hah!”

Me, scurrying away: “Um. I’m late for…something.”

Why haven’t I been fired yet?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Changing

With the all the festivities coming up, I can’t help but think about my taste in movies. There’s a problem with it. I’m...not sure it’s very good. People really like to judge each other on that. As if you can trade your penchant for chick flicks for obtuse foreign films made in the thirties. As if it really says something about your intelligence.

As if thinking The Descent is the best horror movie ever made makes me…er, you, a plebian. I mean, I think that Nosfuratu circa 1922 with no subtitles and only the sweet sweet lovesounds of the gorgeous language that is German is actually the best horror movie ever made. Yeah, yeah…

Fine, you got me. You already know that I wrote an application essay on T2 (and because of it I sailed on through to near MTV acceptance).

Thank goodness for the company of my friends, or else all I’d watch would be dance movies*, slashers and stoned-teenaged-antics-epics. And cartoons. Because of a certain someone, known in select circles (my head) as The Curmudgeon or Captain Gray Pants, I have seen the following artsy movies and loved them. They are sort of "changing" films. I thought a little bit differently about the world after watching each of them. I highly recommend them to you, with no pretense at all, for my paltry crash course in indie filmmaking or just your general enjoyment.

Duck Season.
I just saw this on Tuesday. It was fun, funny, heartwarming in the least annoying of ways. And the soundtrack kicks.

The Bothersome Man.
So what if the ending left me a little unsatisfied? I loved the antiseptic world they occupied. And if you were that strange kid in class who didn’t hate the ending of The Lady or The Tiger?, then you’re fine.

The Five Obstructions.
This movie, above the others, left me a little different for watching. It was as though I was given a window into an alternate universe and I didn’t have to close it to go back to my own life, I could keep it open and look through from time to time. And the animation in the middle is too cool for school.

Do you have world-changing movies? Please share…

*I am so incredibly excited for this, even though they keep pushing back the opening. If it’s half as good as Rize, I'm doing a happy dance already.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All the good girls...

I read somewhere about the power of remembering all the good moods of before and holding them close to now as gaining some sort of power over life. That doing so isn’t just some ridiculous exercise, that everything that we experience is not a reaction, but a chosen action before we even encounter the catalyst. That we chose to feel bad or we choose to feel good, before the problem even comes our way.

A feeling is what we can associate with something good or less than, and to be in a good way now, we have to remember how we successfully were in a good way before. My goal for today is to dip my fingers in the following times and blow them out into the air…to see if they catch:

When Jon and I sat in the college chapel, his girlfriend between us, and she never trusted me because he was my best friend, and that male soprano began to sing, and I didn’t want to laugh, but I could feel him shaking as he tried not to, and I was shaking and after that she didn’t talk to us for three days.

The snowfall where my ex-steady and I stomped around on his birthday, and no one in the world was on the streets, and I had on those ridiculous snow-moon-boots and it felt like the end of the earth and I wasn’t even cold.

At the Keilkookie Crawfish Cookout every summer of elementary school, before we moved away, and Rachel and I stole away from our parents and their plastic cups of wine, and we took off our shoes the moment their backs were turned, and we slipped on rocks and green glass, and she fell into the water and pushed me in when I tried to help her out.

The first night I spent in my second New York apartment.

The day that everyone came over to our pool and my parents didn’t even blink, even when we tread water onto every panel of hardwood on the first floor and left the lights on all night long.

The month before graduating from boarding school, on gifted and borrowed time, not filling out off-campus passes, violating dress code and hanging our limbs from the windows of every car in sight.

When at Camp Tapawingo, the girls in the Cherokee cabin let me hang out with them, even though they were in seventh grade and I was in fourth, and they were so pretty and they were so mature and they put makeup on me and said they wished they could have a little sister just like me and I had never felt such a part of something so important in my entire life.

The few minutes when I thought I had found my long-lost cat after we got that territorial new dog, before I saw the markings on her paws which showed me what I didn’t want to know; that it was not her.

The drive between Sharon and Great Barrington, especially those two lone trees at the top of that field before Lakeville, when all the bales of hay are rolled, and the road winds every five seconds.

When my goddaughter thought a nose was a bottle, the best hostel under all the palm trees in Australia, the sky at eight PM, when the best laid plans lay something, and when timing, if nothing else, is just right…

Quote of the Day

“Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. You’re meeting up with that ex?”



“No, it’s okay. I told him exactly what you and I talked about.”

“You told him you would just break his heart again?”


“You did? And?”

“And…he kind of seems cool with it.”

Careful, careful…this is a very, very bad idea...but since when did that ever stop anyone?

Addendum: Hmmm...maybe men really do love bitches...

Monday, September 10, 2007


Mondays are a period of adjustment. Was it only mere hours ago that I was laughing too loudly about someone’s really big sandwich? Now it’s get back-to-business time, blaring alarms, that project I put off from Friday, fronting as though I’m presentable and all the rest.

In my not-so-secret life, I find I do much more jumping, singing, dorking out. Though that’s not really encouraged during the daily grind. Today, I wish it were.

When I’m a boss—and my mother swears it will happen some day, and it better damnit, cause she didn’t pay all that money for such a fancy-pants education just for me to blow it by being an assistant my entire life, now did she?—I think I’ll make the office celebrate on Monday mornings. Recess first, the budget to follow. Everyone will get a frosted cupcake and I will make my plucky, diamond-in-the-rough assistant (I imagine her name is Sarah, she’s eager to please and has a ponytail) replay the same mix tape (because in my future, mix tapes are back) each week:

Snow “Informer”
Wreckx-n-Effect “Rumpshaker”
Boyz II Men “Motown Philly”
Bell Biv Devoe “Poison”
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince “Summertime”
Positive K "I Got a Man"*
Young MC “Bust a Move”
TLC “Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg”
Digital Underground “The Humpty Dance”
Pharcyde “Passin’ Me By”
Warren G “Regulate”
Arrested Development “Mr. Wendal”*

And if it’s really lulling, I’ll make the big finish with 2 Live Crew “Hoochie Mama”

Any more suggestions for my in-progress Funday mix?

**These are my most favorite karaoke songs ever...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Meta Alert

Why are you here? Why are (is?) any of us here? No, not here, like on this earth here.

Here, here. This page.

Surely by accident.

The top five Google searches that have brought you, dear readers, to this site in the last 14 hours:

5. “Nia looks like”

4. “Dinosaur Pill Sponges”

3. “ Hate Trader Joe's” (we also would have accepted Hipster Smack)

2. “Awful Waffle”

1. And the number one search that has brought a visitor here lately and my personal favorite is...“Righteous Dude!”

Note: Empanadas are the new cupcakes was the second runner-up, lagging only behind Friend-Dating

Better luck next time…

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Good morning campers and welcome to K’s Dance Party! Not to be confused with K’s Pity Party. This one is funner; promise.

Come in, come in. Wait, are you sitting down? I don’t care if you walked all the way here and it’s Wednesday morning and you’re supposed to be working right now. It’s not my fault you’re such a square! Yeah I said square. You just got served!

Oh I see. Now you’re upset. Hello, dance reference! Lighten up!

What’s with the pouting? (Exasperated sigh). Fine. Fine. No, you’re right, I don’t want to “force the fun” on you, and this being a party and all there “really shouldn’t be any rules”. But it’s my party, right? Can’t I just have one? A small one. Scout’s honor.

(Why did I invite you again?) What? Oh, nothing. No, I didn’t say anything. (Yes I did. Tee hee.)

Okay, the only rule of the dance party is that you must be dancey at all times. No, it’s not technically a word, I just made it up. Yes, you can totally define what that means to you. So let’s see it. Here, take these wristbands on good faith. No I don’t have any more in hot pink. Cause I’m already wearing them, that’s why. Don’t be such a jerk about it. It’s not my fault you didn’t come correct! Oh snap!

Oh him? That’s Juan-Jean-Pierre. He runs back and forth in front of that light while raving. Juan-Jean-Pierre is the new strobe. I’m telling you, he’s so hot right now. Never you mind where I got him.

What’s that pounding out of mypod you ask? Oh that’s our soundtrack for this morning. Yes, the silliest mix you ever did hear, in celebration of our dance party, and Wednesday, and your bad attitude. Psych! Not your bad attitude. I’m not rewarding that, I’ll tell you right now. You’re damn right I put Uffie on there. I know it’s a terrible song but those lyrics can’t be beat! Yes it’s your anthem of last fall, I remember. Yes, yes, we’ve all heard that you’re ready to…uff.

But are you ready to dance?

M.I.A. “Ten Dollar”

The Streets “When You Wasn’t Famous”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

MTV has something to teach us...or not

There was a point recently where I found myself eyeing MTV in the background of a strange person’s house. Isn’t that always how it goes, some weird party, and you become privy to the viewing habits of friends of friends, and you’re surprised, maybe even horrified? It was just like that. And I thought, wow, what is the problem with MTV, how could it have missed its mark so completely, its sold demographic utterly opposite of the truth behind it. I remember it was dogma in sixth grade for us. From 18-24 I’m not sure if we looked at it once, and now, here I am, now practically geriatric, and watching it again. In my own house and at risk.

And what have I missed?

I’ll tell you.

The absolute shaving of Silverchair. I mean, really? This is what’s happened to you, Daniel? See if you had just moved to Connecticut and married me like I wished when I blew out the candles as I turned twelve, none of this would have happened. I mean, jeez. I liked you a lot better when you were ripping off Pearl Jam.

It worked more than when you were ripping off Coldplay. Talk about "pulling a Fred Savage*".

But, as a really great side revelation of viewing this atrocity, if I were a guy, I would so wear a vest as a shirt just about every day. But I would dance a little better.

So much better in fact that I’d pretty much want to be this, no matter how much the other guys hated me, the other revelation which fell over my virgin eyes. The hottttness of what’s happening in the video is trumped only by its lyrics. I mean, I don’t know when it became acceptable for a daytime hook to demand that the girl which the guy is stalking with clothes-removing X-ray telescopes to “sit down on top of me” and that “Ooh, she wants it…so I got to give it to her”, but I sure am glad it did, aren’t you?

And lastly, in ridiculous round-ups, here is what happens when Brooklyn stagedads hit thirty and get their way.

Thank you, ex-pat, for showing me this, and the beginning of the end of the world. I’m waxing on MTV and these kids are paling around with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs citing the Sex Pistols as influencers? CSS remixes? WTF? And I thought Smoosh was bad (good?).

Wait, something is becoming clear. The Tiny Masters of Today are the Silverchair of yesterday. Let this be a cautionary tale to you, kids. Beware! See us old folks know a thing or two about a thing or two still…


*You know what I'm talking about. Adorable kid, not so adorable adult...

Dear Donna Tartt

Dear Donna Tartt,

Fatal flaws certainly do exist outside of literature, though it’s widely known they remain far less romantic. I noticed this as summer ended, as I was glowering, dirty-haired. I was in the park, the sky a terrifying blue, the people picturesque, not differing in their sameness, their stained v-necks, cigarettes and dogs.

I had no plans to meet anyone, though I had long-since perfected the motions of seeming on this very point. I had a book with a ratty, esoteric cover and many hours which stretched in front of me. No one in days had known where I was and to my knowledge, no one had asked. Was it then that I realized suddenly, and moreover, with such sadness, that I would be reading a great deal this fall, and quite alone? Even familiarity of the idea offered no solace. The joy was gone the instant another indulgence became petrified and standard. It was expected and so it lost all reprieve.

My time in California, all orange groves and glittering pools in conversation, was not as lovely as then, in the park so many miles from anyone who had to love me. It was far removed from shag carpeting, the meanness of my father, our ugly lawn. I carried with me to the East Coast my petulance and nothing else. Children fell over their own feet. Birds flocked around bread. People kissed and meant it. The brochures had told me the truth.

I hadn’t heard from him in a month by that point, and even now I am a bit afraid to admit how much I missed him. Still it was not something I was yet used to. Throughout my childhood I was prone to melancholy because I thought it artistic while all the inclinations in the world did not make it so. I was merely small, in person and not. I will tell you now, it did not fit in with the beach slopes and taco stands. I did not fit in there at all.

The time I spent on a hard bench, avoiding those who tried to engage me, talk to me, rouse me out and throw a Frisbee, to marry myself to each passing day, brought me a mild comfort. I acquired a seventeen year old boy’s libido, lusting after almost anyone and anything. A glimpse of the most mundane could set me off; a slender foot, the veining of an arm, two walking together or one sitting alone. I found later that those around me had been just as wary and intrigued by me, ridiculous I know, as I was a bothersome man and my want for another’s life, no matter whose, permeated my every act.

I kept my front on this long after the benefit left, I was desperately trying to impress him with my brilliance, though I had none. Anything he could have said to me would have been fresh heartbreak, apparently he knew this too, and so he kept quiet and away and he must have been as glad as I was for that.

Did you understand this, the emptiness which flowed over us all or at least me in this time period? The formative years which kept me from connection, which remain beautiful only in memory because they can never exist again? I think that perhaps you did. It is your greatest life's work to have known this and further to have captured it. Our lives together, gin-drunk, lazing with our feet on the dinosaur egg rocks of the lake. My loss of memory. My aging and your agelessness. How another autumn can bring these feelings, stirred again like tea leaves, brought to the surface, and my need to push them down so I don't boil over and destroy us both.

My favorite book since I was thirteen was always thought of as sad, thrilling, adult-even, but could the prone-to-florid-when-imitated-musings become my style?