Reading articles/books about writing by writers is my favorite way to feel like I’m working when I’m not. Maybe it is working? I’m having a hard time, lately, deciding what IS and ISN’T work, because all of this is more fun than I feel it should be. (This is such an American thing to think, right?) I have to figure out how to manage my time better now that I make my own rules! I am very responsive to authority and rules (like too much, weirdly so, it’s actually annoying) and haven’t quite figured out what to do now that I am in charge of me. Rylee and I talk about this a lot — we both feel guilty like always because we get to work from home and wake up when we want to (which is still before 8:00 usually, but still), and everyday we have to remind each other, just to not feel so bad, “You are NOT making that much money.” It feels like we are, it feels like we have everything. That being said, we haven’t had to pay our first self-employed round of taxes yet. So. We’ll check back in then.
Today I’m buying myself a nice big desk, too. I’ve been writing in my bed (worst idea) or at my kitchen table, and all my “desk” items are in boxes STILL though I moved in nearly two months ago, and I’m excited to have things in their places and to buy myself something for work with money I earned doing that same kind of work. I’m pretty much expecting the desk will sort everything out in every area of my life, even those unrelated to work.
Anyway I love this piece, which is by Colson Whitehead. “Rule No. 8: Is secret.” That’s brilliant.
Well, I have something that is very thrilling and unbelievable to tell you and that is that I have a book coming out. I’ve been working on it for what feels like both a long time and not a very long time at all and I’m so excited for it to come out in what feels like a VERY LONG TIME but will probably not feel very long at all. Time is confusing! Sometimes it goes by horribly slowly during a horrible slow sad summer and then somewhere in the middle of that summer a person can start writing something happy and in about a year have it turn out to be a book that someone wants to buy. I’m talking about me (haha…surprise!) which is so crazy I cannot believe it. My book is also about me, in that it is a memoir. It’s about being single on a permanent basis, and about horrible embarrassing wonderful crushes, and it’s also about friends. It’s funny, and I think you’ll like it, and hopefully by the time it comes out it will be even funnier. This might change, but as of right now it’s called “You’re Right, I Really Like You” ”Never Have I Ever.” It’s being published by Grand Central Publishing and will come out in early 2014. I can’t wait for you all to read it. Thanks for reading my weird and personal and sometimes UFO-heavy blog. It means more to me than I can say.
Everyone in New York City, or perhaps everyone who lives in places where cars are less common and therefore road trips are less common, is FASCINATED by the fact that I took the train to get here. Everyone says this: “Twenty HOURS??” and I say yes, I know, and yes, it’s true, I’d probably fly instead if I weren’t scared, at least some of the time.
But I had fun on my train trip. Except for the not sleeping, except for brushing my teeth in hot water in the bathroom and being unable to shower and the annoying family that sat behind us, the father’s repeated scold “Jeffrey, stop" so much more annoying than anything Jeffrey could have possibly been doing.
When it was very late in the night, when we must have been in Indiana somewhere, Rylee and I held hands over the tennis racquet-patterned fleece blanket her dad let us borrow. It just seemed appropriate. She asked me if I thought anyone ever thought we were a couple, and I guessed no. There was this really hot guy in our train car, up in the front. We noticed him when we boarded. While she and I were talking and still holding hands he started walking down the aisle towards us, and I whispered “Uh-oh,” and this was honestly three seconds after we agreed we wouldn’t care if anyone ever DID think we were a couple, and immediately we dropped each other’s hands, even though Rylee was slouched so low in her seat that she couldn’t even see what I was referring to. She just KNEW. OBVIOUSLY he was not checking our laps to see if we were holding hands, like if we WEREN’T then maybe something really good was about to happen, but it was a reflex. So then she and I laughed for what felt like twenty-five minutes.
That’s why I’m ok with the train: you get giddy. It’s cheap and you know why, it takes a long time, and you have periods when you think YOU WILL NEVER GET THERE, but there will be at least five new inside jokes. It’s like how bunk beds used to be, back in college, when we all stayed up laughing much later than we meant to. That part, and the part where cute boys sometimes show(ed) up unexpectedly. Haha no, no, that part is only true of trains.
Q. “Is it better to try to take back an embarrassing drunk text by writing some sort of apology/excuse the next morning, or is it better to pretend it never happened and/or move to Siberia?”
A. “I think you should leave. I think you should put a hunk of bread and a hunk of cheese in a bandana, tie it to a stick, and start walking. (Important sidenote: why do bread and cheese sound so unreasonably delicious when described as being in “hunks”?) I think you should jump onto a moving train and follow it out west. Do you have overalls? Wear those. At the first stop, jump off the train, rub your hand in some dirt, and then rub that hand on your face and in your hair. Find a piece of hay to chew on. Get back on the train. Share a piece of bread with the tiny orphan boy in the corner of your car. This is really the only way the journey to redemption begins.
Don’t drunk text anyone, ever! I know you’re probably like, “Well, ok! Easier said than done, MOM!” Listen: Just because you’re acting like a child doesn’t mean I’m your mother. Let’s both take a couple of seconds to cool off. OK? OK. Drunk texting is the rightful territory of the very young. Like in The Lion King? You are Scar, and Simba is every 19-year-old. I know you feel all entitled to this land but it is NOT YOURS. If you have reached or passed your twenty-third birthday, you should know better than drunk texting. You are either drinking too much or thinking too little, and it’s probably both. There is always a moment of recognition before you send that 4:00 am, overly capitalized, slur-y text message — ALWAYS. College-age kids can press send and deal with the consequences. Adults can — and must — backspace that mess into extinction. Don’t pretend we don’t have free will.
Now then, if you speak with this person regularly, you should send a second, apologetic text message the next morning. “I drank too much, I’m sorry. That’s embarrassing. I hope I didn’t wake you”: something like that. If you don’t speak with this person much/at all, and he or she hasn’t responded by noon that following day, stay silent. Find a pool of water you can examine your reflection in. Stay there all day.”
- See the other two questions and answers from my Buzzfeed column here.
Male comics: this is not an issue of your oppression. You guys know that “thought police” isn’t a real thing, right? (I mean, not anymore—it was the first thing to go in the recession.) At no point in time will some shimmery grandpa-of-the-future say, ”When I was your age, Timmy, we had these things called ‘jokes.’ But then they came for our rape humor and our racism, so comedy died and chuckles were abolished.” I’m pretty sure there are a couple of jokes out there that don’t involve a lady getting raped. Like 100 at least! Hooray, comedy is saved! Nobody is taking away your right to talk about rape, make jokes about rape, or use the word “rape.”
Now including a reference to the time I sort of, kind of, whatever I’m not ashamed or at all concerned about how you perceive my sanity, MAYBE saw a UFO-type thing. How many more articles about these things do you think I need to publish before I can start calling myself a “ufologist”?
”You know how in Beauty & the Beast there’s the light and dark paths? I want my room to be the dark path. Like foggy, but foggy-sexual. I want a circle velvet bed, and lights that dim as the music goes up. Also primate noises are playing. And there’s a naked man swinging on a vine across the room eating a banana. The banana is completely peeled.”
- last night my friend Colleen, who AS I SAID is very unassuming and pale and well-behaved, said this series of sentences, and I have not yet recovered.
Q. “I have a friend who is in the habit of texting me, and then when I respond very shortly after, I wait eons and eons (like, HOURS) for them to reply back to my response. Can I kill her?”
A. “Far be it from me to condone murder, or violence in any shape or form, which I am certainly against in every context without exception, but if your friend was walking alone through the jungle and stepped down on the kind of mossy trap doors jungles are known for, and s/he fell onto the sharpened steel spikes below, would it even make a sound?
When the scenario you’ve described happens to me (because I, too, have been cursed with one of these so-called friends), my skin crawls. It crawls right off my body, around the room, shrieking. I just lie there, bones and muscle, silent and infuriated, until my friend finally f#%*ing responds and my skin can calm down and wrap itself around me again. It is gross and annoying and such a complete waste of time for everyone involved.”
- The rest of this answer, and the rest of my Buzzfeed column, here.
Our Fourth was too hot to even use the grill, so my friends and I had a “BBQ” that consisted of three boiled regular hot dogs and, for me, one microwaved veggie one. We also ate inside, at the table right next to our window A/C. We had an enormous and very delicious watermelon that Colleen and I had bought earlier in the day. She had carried it around the grocery store doing bicep curls with it, which made her slower, which made her trail behind me a bit, which I was kind of okay with because of the bicep curls. In the deli area, when she had caught up to me, I asked her if we should get taco chip dip. Colleen — who is very skinny and pale and unassuming — sort of sank over herself, hunched and cradling the watermelon down by her ankles, and bellowed (I never use the word “bellowed” but there is no other way to describe it) “OHHHH MYYYY GOODDDDDD” in this deep guttural growl. I was stunned into silence, and I am sure that everyone in the ENTIRE store was staring silently and curiously as well, but I was too scared to look.
We also bought supplies to make festive Rice Krispies. They came out okay — we thought we could make it more swirled, but it was tricky. They looked like Fruity Pebbles, but patriotic ones at least.
When it was getting dark we went downtown for fireworks. I like getting there when it’s still light enough out to see so that I can stare at everyone. My favorite person that I saw was the 4-year-old redhead standing in front of me while his dad showed him and his brothers how to use sparklers. He was just kind of grasping his right butt cheek the ENTIRE time, for at least five minutes, because who knows why but maybe he just needed something to hold on to. My least favorite person that I saw was this terrible high school student in a pack of terrible high school students who parked their camp to our left: a girl who kept singing opera loudly, on and off, because you could really tell she was just one of those VERY cool young people who does not give a fuck. Rylee: “I am going to stab that girl in the face.” Emily: “I am going to seriously shoot that girl, for real.” Etc. I wanted to stand over her and yell “ARE YOU NOT GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION” but, alas, I was 17 at some point as well. I was never that annoying, but I was still probably pretty annoying.
But then the fireworks started and everyone got quiet, which is kind of the great thing about fireworks: you sit at the park and make all these enemies and then by the time the thing you came there to watch is over, you don’t mind anything anymore. You’re compatriots, only. And during the show itself, when everyone is literally whooping and cheering for the fireworks that look like smiley faces and hearts — we Americans love our simple geometric shapes — it’s hard to be mad at anyone. Even the teenagers.
Remember in Harry Potter when everyone has to take turns wearing the Slytherin locket horcrux because it makes you think your worst thoughts and feel that nothing will ever be okay ever again? (And remember, too, in the movie version, how they made Ron imagine naked Harry & Hermione having sex while he was wearing the locket and you were like “YIKES, TOO SEXY/CREEPY FOR THIS YOUNG AUDIENCE AND ALSO ME WHO IS AN ADULT” ?)
Well, I was wearing an elastic headband because I was doing yoga in my hotbox apartment, and I was looking at the 5-day forecast, which is 97, 97, 96, 98, 95, and it was making me so depressed I essentially started crying because, isn’t this supposed to be MINNESOTA and what have we done to this planet etc. etc. And then I also thought about this show I went to last night and how I saw this very attractive man that I’ve seen out once before, and the time before we had lots of good eye contact and it was thrilling (I am easily pleased!), and then when I saw him AGAIN, last night, I somehow took several steps back and mostly just hid, because I am nothing if not consistently a goddamn coward. And then THAT made me almost cry AGAIN because, I don’t know, boys.
Then I took my headband off and felt at least 96% better immediately, at once, like I could feel the pressure (figurative AND literal) just evaporating.