Thursday, February 28, 2008

i-pod shame

It occurred to me recently that if I should ever be out walking around Center City and get hit by the number 47 bus, I would probably use my dying breath to ask that the paramedic to dispose of my i-pod lest anyone discover the kind of music I have downloaded to it. I have never claimed to be on the cutting edge of music or an avid reader of Rolling Stone or the first to buy tickets to a small show of an alternative-but-up and-coming band. I steal most of my musical taste from friends and primarily, male friends. Men, in their continuing struggle to learn how to communicate like humans, seem to be drawn to music as a means of expression. Like, if they could, they would just hand you a set of lyrics by Death Cab for Cutie rather than try to put into their own words how they feel. So, some of my best music comes from these sources. The more shameful songs can be traced back to hitting adolescence during the advent of MTV and, at the same time, owning only a clock radio which effectively honed my musical tastes to include mostly top 40 hits of the 1980s. But that's only part of it, because I also was a theatre geek and so have seen more than a normal amount of musical theatre and so those songs too sometimes make it onto my ipod. Add to this the fact that I like the popular songs from the 1950s such as "Earth Angel" and pretty much any song by Sam Cooke or the Everley Brothers, and you have a weird mix of Duran Duran meets Ado Annie at the sock hop. Plus random alterna songs here and there and one or two songs by Tegan and Sara, whom I only know about from hearing them on NPR. I swear though (and Apple can steal this idea freely for their next ad campaign) that's the greatest thing about the i-pod; no one really knows what you're listening to and you can fit all of your bad music in one place and it's not like you have to pull out each CD labeled Modern Rock of the Eighties Vol. VIII in front of anyone. For all they know, you're rocking out to Franz Ferdinand or, God forbid, that new little boy band with the tweens in it...What's that called? The newest version of the Mmmm--bop boys? This weekend, I was walking down Broad Street, listening to "Oklahoma" and I swear to God, I almost kicked my heels together at the corner of Broad and Pine and yelled "Yow!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Mysterious Case of the Weird Girl

Had my pop culture and philosophy class yesterday and ended up sitting next to the strange girl who, on the first day, came in wearing part of her hair pulled back and tied with a jaunty white bow. It reminded me of Mrs. Hinkel, the high school cheerleading coach who also taught health class. Every straight guy (and maybe some of the gay ones too) had a crush on Mrs. Hinkel b/c she was young and cute and wore bows on her ponytail (on game days only). But outside of school spirit or community theater, I can't imagine why an adult woman would voluntarily add a bow to her hair. The next week, she showed up in braids and Mark (a guy in my class) said she looked like Heidi. I loved him just a little bit for saying that. She's also one of those people whose mouth hangs open all the time. I mentioned that to Mary Beth's boyfriend, Ben, who always gives me a ride home after class and he said, "Isn't that what they used to call mentally challenged people? Mouth breathers?"
She rarely adds to the discussion and has yet to buy any of the books. Before class, she asked me if she could page through mine, saying, "I forgot my copy at home." The other thing she does is text message. She'll sit on her cell phone, and then, every ten minutes or so, she'll unsit on it and type a message, glancing up again and again to look at the teacher to see if he's noticing, her mouth still hanging open. I was getting irritated by it yesterday, writing furiously in my notebook--things like, "This isn't high school or undergrad. If you don't want to listen in class or contribute, don't sign up for it!" Then I realized that I wasn't listening in class either, so, okay, writing in my journal instead of contributing is just a different kind of text messaging.
Lastly, she spends most of the time glancing at the clock and doodling in her notebook; nothing interesting--hearts, for instance, which she then fills in with a different colored pen or, in one case, a yellow highlighter. Maybe I'm picking on her because I'm somewhat ambivalent about the class itself. There are about 12 people in the course and over half of them never speak at all. Nothing. Not a peep or outburst. There's another five of us who generally say a few things, and one guy who talks a lot. I like the teacher, but he asks questions that don't leave my room for discussion; mostly "yes" or "no" questions like, "Do you agree with the idea that film and philosophy should be mutually exclusive?" Yesterday, I had a slight twinge of ick when he said, "When I was an undergrad at Yale..." Maybe I would do the same if I had graduated from an Ivy League, but..................................

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My First Film With Sound


I Don't Give a Shit About the Academy Awards

Is something wrong with me? Could it be that I'm hostile because I can't honestly remember the last movie I went to see? I didn't see Juno, but I feel like I might hate it because I imagine it to be this forcefully quirky movie where the teenage characters speak more wittily than any real teen ever has, sort of a jacked up version of Gilmore Girls dialogue. I didn't see A Country for Old Men, in part because I heard on NPR that it's sad and bleak. I didn't see The Bucket List or whatever that Jack Nicholson buddy flick is (why would I go to a film that's about two old men dying of cancer?). But my irritation also has to do with the fact that there's so much press about the Academy Awards--everyone is so excited to see what the women will be wearing (i.e. who will wear something obnoxious horrible). But we already know. We already know that Angelina Jolie will be tastefully dressed, as will Keira Knightly aka Winona Ryder and Drew Barrymore and Jessica Alba, etc., etc. Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter is presenting, for God's sake.

However, one of the positive aspects of the Academy Awards is that TMC was playing old movies that had been up for awards in previous years--all without commercial interruption. Last night, I watched The Goodbye Girl. I do remember seeing that in the movie theater when it played--I must have been pretty young. I re-fell in love with Richard Dreyfus though I suspect in real life, he's probably a prick. After The Goodbye Girl, they showed Woody Allen's Manhattan and so I ended up watching half of that as well even though I've seen it about ten times already.
Just as another bitchy aside, how many times is NPR going to replay Terry Gross' stupid interview with this banana man? Seriously, this is probably the dumbest interview I've ever heard AND she makes him sing the banana song at the end. I've heard the word "banana" no fewer than 500 hundred times in the last 24 hours. It's driving me...

Here's a brief transcript of the interview:

TG: So, tell me more about this banana crisis.

BG: Well, it's not a matter of if we will run out of bananas, but more likely when we will run out of them.

TG: Huh. And the history of bananas is pretty interesting, isn't it?

BG: Absolutely. The pilgrims subsisted primarily on bananas on the Pinta and were often in danger of falling off of the boat because they didn't yet know how slippery the peels were.

TG: (laughs throatily) Does that mean that bananas almost caused Christoper Columbus not to discover our continent?

BG: That's a really interesting question, Terry...No, no danger. He wasn't actually on the Pinta. He was on the Maria and they lived mostly on pineapples.

TG: What's your favorite way to peel a banana?

BG: I like to peel it from the top down. I try to peel back four exact pieces and to eat it in smallish bites.

TG: Would you mind singing the Chiquita banana song for us?

BG: Yes, I would mind, Terry, for Christ's sake!! (I wish he had said that).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Extreme Make-Over of Your Face

For the most part, the programming on Bravo is okay. Or at least, it used to be somewhat decent, but now they have shows like Millionaire Matchmaker and Extreme Face Make-Over. It occurs to me that I might be confusing Bravo with the Style Network, a channel that shows the unbelievably tepid How Do I Look? wherein you have to yell back at the TV, "You look medium! You look minimally better than before!" It's hosted by the British woman who played/plays Felicia or someone on General Hospital. For the longest time, her featured trademark was waist-length hair and arch eyebrows. She's since cut her hair, but the eyebrows remain perpetually in a shape suggesting surprise. I digress.

Whatever channel plays Extreme Face Over should be ashamed of itself. In case you don't know or can't guess from the title, the show takes two ugly people and cuts the shit out of them, knocks out their teeth, sucks away their fat, and sews them back together with rhinestone thread. They get shot up with botox and then they have their hair cut and their make-up applied and get to go shopping for one outfit. By the end of the show, they have transformed from unattractive to plastic pretty and unreal. It doesn't matter what they looked like before, they have this sheen of sameness about them at the end. Maybe it's the teeth--the teeth are giant, straight, and white and when they smile, you feel like you're looking at a cartoon face.

Padhraig was kind enough to let me buy him lunch and multiple coffee refills today as well as letting me use his laptop every few minutes when it suited him. In exchange, I assisted in letting him look up journals through my account. Like me, Padhraig enjoys people-watching and making snide remarks about strangers. That is why we are friends.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Other Moments of Humiliation ala Theater School

There are many reasons that I never pursued an acting career beyond college, not the least of which was that I didn't have the kind of mind-blowing talent needed to succeed. Also, I hate constantly being rejected. More moments to blush by include:

*My roommates and I always threw a huge Halloween party at our house on Tharpe Street. Invariably, most of the attendants were theater majors, and you know that Halloween is one of their favorite holidays because it requires costumes!! One year, I managed to alienate two of my three roommates, Michelle and Becca, because I made out with least three people during the course of the party: Darrin Baggart. I'm pretty sure he was gay. He had a cute pixie-ish face and Becca really liked him, so she was upset when I kissed him. Michelle's ex-boyfriend who was visiting from Houston. I liked him because of his lazy Southern drawl and blue eyes, but I'm pretty sure he wore more jewelry than I did (and it wasn't part of a costume. He didn't wear a costume). I think the other person I kissed was the guy who was in town playing Othello. He used to be on my mom's soap opera. He later died (of heart complications. It had nothing to do with me).

*Another morning after regret came from hooking up with Jon Preston (see previous post--very curly hair and dimples and an infectious laugh). He was a good actor in part because he really didn't give a shit about what anyone thought of him. Also, he was stoned most of the time. I remember that after we fooled around, he constructed a make-shift bong out of the cardboard from a roll of toilet paper. I was disgusted and impressed at the same time.

*And yet another morning after moment of awkwardness with M. Chick, the bane of my existence, the crush of my college life, great, great, great actor, extremely attractive and intense and unattainable. Being around him was like being close to a famous person, even though he wasn't famous. He was in love with JoAnna Daniels probably because she seemed to have no interest in him. He always smelled good; like smoke or the outside or something. Woke up next to him one morning and he was staring up at the ceiling and said, "I have to decide who I want to be today.: That struck me as completely inauthentic and pretentious. I said, "What do you mean? Like, you might suddenly be a fireman or a vet or something?" He did not find me funny.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time Crunch

Guess what I discovered today? My laptop screen is scrambled and largely unreadable. A new exciting issue to address in my life! A new chance to see this as an opportunity rather than a fucked up, badly-timed, distressing, financially debilitating problem. Perhaps it is the universe telling me to stop playing so much computer Spider Solitaire. Now that I can't even see the cards, I will be forced to take up another hobby, perhaps as an activist or a street performer (mime) or a ventriloquist who shows up at local bars to scare the regulars. I'm currently at the Philadelphia Free Library where nothing is really free at all and you can only use the computer for thirty minutes at a time with this little box in the corner counting down your minutes, slowly, slowly..."10 minutes remaining." One thing I love/hate about Philadelphia is the city's refusal to be practical or helpful to its citizens. The free library is usually open between the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. making it impossible for a 9-5er to ever check out or return books. Oh, right, that's another thing--very few book drops, if any.

I meant to write something about how I've been thinking a lot about undergrad and being at FSU, probably because of the Saturday playwriting class I'm taking. I haven't been in contact with the theater world in a long time and am suddenly reminded of all the weird personalities and difficult moments. I only have 7 minutes remaining, so I don't know if I can make my list of the top 10 most embarrassing/distressing moments from FSU theater school, but let's see...Maybe I can do five?

1. Getting cast in this graduate director's truncated production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I can't remember which of the mechanicals I was...The dumb one, if that makes any sense (the one who played Thesbe, maybe?). Betsy what's her face played Bottom and was pretty good at it. The director, John Someone, was a skinny, defensive, pale jerk of a person. The first rehearsal he held, he told us all, "I didn't cast you because I thought you were the most talented. I cast you because I thought I could work with you." Then I believe he told us he was going to leave for awhile and that we should figure out the blocking on our own. Needless to say, the production sucked and afterwards, someone I admired came up to me and said, It was like I was watching a high school production of the play. I'm like, Thanks.

2. Oh, God, this Shakespeare class I took with all BFA students. The teacher didn't really want me in the class because I was only a BA, so she cast me in a scene with the only other BA in the course, this big girl who couldn't act. THEN she gave us a scene from Othello--the one where Desdemona is saying good night to the nurse, knowing somehow that she will soon be dead. It wouldn't have been so bad if not for the fact that one of the other girls in the class, Keli?, was actually playing Desdemona in an up-coming production on Mainstage. The other scene that I was given was something from The Tempest and again it was with one of the worst actors in the class. This kid was named Matthew and he wore small wire-rimmed glasses. Neither of us was really interested in rehearsing with the other and so that was part of the problem. I remember we performed the scene outside for the class (with a bonfire? Why would we do this?) and an actor I admired, Jon Preston, was there with his crazy curly hair. In the middle of our scene, he farted really loudly. Yet, I was such the consummate professional that I only glanced briefly at him before continuing.

3. Speaking of farting, I took a Movement I class led by John Olson (many Jon's at FSU during this time). He was a very nice man, but he made us do really embarrassing things like mirror exercises and another activity where the class stood in a circle and then one person was sent into the middle. She would then be expected to do something completely crazy for awhile and then go up to someone else in the circle and they would have to mirror what she was doing and then change places. The only person I remember doing this was this slightly off-kilter girl named Marsha would ended up becoming the girlfriend of another professor there twenty years her senior. Another thing we did was to lie on the floor and roll our legs up over our heads. I'm not sure what this was for, but the teacher always demonstrated first. He was a large older man and often wore red shorts. he would roll over, farting all the while and my roommate Michelle and I would have to bite our mouths to bits trying not to laugh.

4. My first play was another grad student production of a Shakespeare play, Richard III, directed by Mark Lehrman who was a very nice, tall, bulky mustached man with a deep voice who ended up dating a slanty-eyed hippie named Barbie. I was really just an extra in the play, a body. The opening scene was an orgy-like moment with INXS playing "Devil Inside" in the background. Mark suggested that I and this other girl bring in some lingerie to wear; whatever we had and Mark would say if it was okay or not. It wasn't at all a skeevy request, I promise. I put on this black silk and lace bra corset thing under a shirt and while the whole cast was gathered around, Mark asked what I was thinking of wearing. I took off my shirt and everyone gasped and Mark said, Put your shirt back on. It's fine, it's fine. It wasn't until later that I realized my nipples were showing through. Whoops!

Omigod, 2 mintues remaining...more later. I feel like the computer will explode in thirty seconds.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

NPR Overload

I have gotten into the habit of listening to NPR while on the computer (which is about 90% of the time that I am at home). While I have come to appreciate the goofiness and grating quality of Car Talk and the flat yappish syllables of the Garden Guy and the lisping sound of Ira Glass and the breathless, unsexy announcement of Terry Gross when she says, "This is FRESHHHHHH AAAAAAAAAAAIRRR," I still sometimes want to throw rocks at the radio, but I can't seem to stop listening, since there really is nothing else on unless I want to tune in to cock rock. Luke hates Terry Gross, mostly because she often asks somewhat stupid questions to really interesting people, rendering them less vibrant. Someone else agreed with me on this the other day...I forget who. It's true though, she'll have on Sid Vicious and say, When did you decide to get your first mohawk? How did your family react to this radical haircut?

I had an idea for a story the other day--can't remember if I wrote this down or not, but it would be about an actress who can only get jobs in roles that require her to look sad. Like, she's the poster woman for anti-depressant medication or can only land TV bits where she's the grieving widow. It's disconcerting for her because she doesn't feel particularly sad, but she supposes that there must be something emanating from her that she doesn't see. Perhaps she then meets an actor who can only get parts doing erectile dysfunction ads.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Stars at Night

Am back from the reading at the University of North Texas and have catapulted to fame. Woke up this morning to find the paparazzi flashing unflattering pictures of me in curlers, short shorts, and cowboy boots with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of my mouth. Dear God!I threw my Slurpee at them and then shaved my head which proved difficult b/c of the curlers.

The people at UNT were extremely nice and it was only marginally awkward to have to talk intelligently about writing to a group of strangers. The plane was delayed by two hours and so I had to rush to this coffee talk with grad students, then to a Q & A, then dinner, then had an hour to practice my reading at the Radisson and subsequently lost track of time and had to get ready in 14 minutes. The reading went well though I again self-edited some of the work as I was going b/c some of it seemed too repetitious. Afterwards, I signed books and tried to think of clever little messages to write in everyone's book flap such as 2 good 2 B 4 gotten. One girl asked to have her picture taken with me and another kid wrote "phone #?" in the margins of the book. I said, I live in Philadelphia, you know. I gave him my email address instead and found a message from him in my hotmail when I arrived home last night; the first line read: "If this is your real email address..." We are now engaged, long distance. Happy Valentine's Day to me! Another girl said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Drew Barrymore except with darker hair? From a distance, I mean?" (i.e. up close, I resemble DB's granny, Ethel). Found out that UNT has run an ad for the book in the Jan/Feb issue of Poet's and Writer's and something else in the last AWP magazine.

After the reading, one professor asked me why I repeat phrases like "everything, everything, everything." That was the hardest question to answer, but I said something like, because what it really means is "why did you leave me behind?" but saying that directly would be less interesting, more obvious. Other questions asked: Do you have a favorite story in the collection? How did your organize the stories? How much of this is autobiographical? (7 %) Is there a certain time of day that you write? Where do you get your ideas? Is the way you write and the way you think the same? How did you get started writing? Who were your favorite writers as a kid? Do you always have cats in your stories? (Yes).

Now it appears that I need to write a novel. Maybe something about Evie. I wish I could do it in my sleep.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Next Assignment

I started writing the next piece for my playwriting class--I think I'm going to set it outside of a theater at an intermission. It's two people; haven't decided if they're a couple or friends or brother or sister of whatever and they both hate the play but can't leave because one of their friends is in the show. It's a musical based on Othello. I haven't figured out who the person of another race might be who insists that the guy put out his cigarette. Perhaps the actor playing Othello? Maybe he's not actually not of another race; maybe the play is so bad that he's a white guy in blackface. I forgot how fun it is to write scenes.

I am not proud to admit that Extreme Home Manipulation is on my TV right now. They always find the most pathetic families and then they build them a gigantic McMansion in less that a week. They don't go back to film and show you what happens to the house after the first rainstorm; how it likely just tips over and disintegrates.
Will be going to Texas on Tuesday to do a reading for my book at the University of North Texas. I am nervous about it. I don't really like giving readings and I'm not a fan of meeting tons of new people. Maybe it'll be low key like the one at Penn State was. I'll come back with a ten gallon hat and spurred cowboy boots.

I confess that I love Whole Foods. I ate about eight free sugar cookies while I as there and half an orange and then went to the salad bar where you can find just about everything you ever want to eat. In my case, that means macaroni and cheese, ham, salad with cherry tomatoes and garlic and a hard boiled egg. All for only $50!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Play Full

Had my playwriting class this morning and had trouble falling asleep b/c I wasn't sure how I would get my two pieces printed up in time for a 10 a.m. class. Woke up before the alarm at 6:45 and ran to buy burnable CDs and then copied the pieces and made it downtown and went to Kinko's and $9 later, everything was fine, except for that I should mention there are a plethora of homeless people on Market Street around 9 a.m. any Saturday, including a slighly off-kilter woman who appeared to have moved herself into the foray of Kinko's (she had stacks of bags piled there) and was walking around the store clutching folders and yellow legal pads. An academic gone awry? A fired novelist? Shortly after that, I saw an old woman outside of Macy's wearing fashionable grey knit tights with a hole in the knee staring outward as though she were listening intently to an inner monologue. She had painted bright red lipstick around the perimter of her mouth. Not actually on her lips, but more like in the vicinty of them.

Class was good though there is lots and lots of talking about things unrelated to theater including what it's like to be a fireman. The cute fourteen year old boy (gay? straight? He looks like my high school crush, Rob Dittmer, except with larger mouth and he wore a sweater vest) appeared again and we read his piece; I got to play the part of the French whore who said things like "Please to touch my labia." I think he was trying to go for a kind of tongue in cheek parody of Euro trash chic with a dash of Camus. My two scenes went received better than I expected. For next week, the assignment is to put two characters together and one of them lights a cigarette and then gets yelled at buy a foreigner. Where should they be? A funeral home? A hospital wing? Church? How will I escape writing something completely xenophobic? "It would please me if you were to put out your cigarette now. Onto the ground."

Friday, February 8, 2008

I've Got Friends In High Places

Had lunch with one of my favorite people in the world, HH. We went to the same salad place as last time. I believe both of us are of the mind that if it's not broken, keep eating there. They have a great salad bar so you can have everything from an egg roll to pasta to strawberries and grapes. Then I met Padhraig later at a coffee house that was chockful of badly tattooed teensters all wearing furred hoodies and angst filled expressions. Tomorrow, I will go to my playwriting class and turn in this somewhat half-assed piece I wrote today. I really really like writing dialogue though. The assignment was to put together two people in a public place who are fighting. One of them gets a headache and they must ask a stranger for an aspirin. The stranger either gives it to them or not. Here's what I wrote:

Scene: A deserted bus station. A couple stands swaying together in the center of the waiting room; another guy sits behind them in one of the benches, reading a newspaper.

JoAnne: (trying to disentangle herself from the hug): Okay, Darren. I’ve got to go. The bus is loading.

Darren: (not letting her go): All right, darling, I’ll miss you.

JoAnne: It’s only two days.

Darren: Stay safe.

JoAnne: The interview is in Boise, Idaho. I think I’ll be fairly safe there. Can you just let go, please? I’ll be back in two days.

Darren: Okay, no, I know.

JoAnne: I thought you were working with your therapist on the separation anxiety.

Darren: Yes, but she just left for an extended vacation. It’s very hard. “Is that a dagger I see before me?”

JoAnne: You did Lady MacBeth?

Darren: I memorized all of the lines. It was a professional theater company.

JoAnne: Yes, I know.

Darren: Break a leg, honey. (He cups her face in his hands).

JoAnne: Your hands are freezing.

Darren: One last kiss (he tries to kiss her as she pulls away. Their faces collide).

JoAnne: Ow! God, your nose hit me right in the eye!

Darren: Are you okay? Sorry about that. I’ve got to work on my good-byes.

JoAnne: Oh, damnit, you knocked out one of my contacts!

Darren: Really? Oh.

JoAnne: (blinking rapidly) Yes, really. Shit. I can’t see anything. You and your gigantic nose. Jesus.

Darren: Hold still. It might be on your face. Don’t panic. Let me look.

JoAnne: I can’t see!

Darren: What color is it?

JoAnne: What do you mean what color is it? It’s nude. It’s a blank color. Natural.

Darren: Well, some have a tinge. Does yours have a tinge?

JoAnne: Blue. It’s bluish. You’re breathing on me.

Darren: Oh, wait, there’s—

JoAnne: You got it?

Darren: No, but I see what you were saying about the lines around your eyes. Just here—the beginning of crow’s feet. Hardly noticeable.

JoAnne: Oh, God, how am I going to go to an interview like this? They’ll think I have a nervous tick. I’ll run into a wall and fall over. They’ll think I’m drunk.

Darren: Let’s check your clothes. It might be stuck on your shirt (he runs his hands over her clothes).

JoAnne: You’re feeling me up in public.

Darren: Is it soft or hard?

JoAnne: You’re doing it a little hard, actually.

Darren: No, the contact.

JoAnne: Don’t move around too much. You’ll crush it. It’s crunchy. It’s the crunchy kind.

Darren: Crunchy?

JoAnne: Hard! Hard! It’s the hard kind.

Darren: Settle down.

JoAnne: Why did you have to do that? Why can’t you say goodbye like a normal person instead of like someone auditioning for From Here to Eternity? From now on, we’re shaking hands good-bye. That’s it.

Darren: From Here to Eternity is a movie, not a play. Are they making it into a play now?

JoAnne: You do the same thing in bed. You over act. You’re an over actor.

Darren: That is not acting.

JoAnne: Take off your shoes. We need to take off our shoes and look for it on the ground. Hurry up!

Darren: I can’t help the way I feel.

JoAnne: Your damaging the psyche of the neighbor kids with your historonics. It’s unnecessary. The parents have complained to me more than once.

Darren: Maybe we could get you an eye patch or something.

Joanne: I am not waltzing into an interview with an eye patch, for God’s sake. Made out of what? A pair of underwear?

Darren: A Band-Aid then. Just explain the situation. They’ll understand.

JoAnne: I’ll just tell him that my boyfriend with the freakishly huge nose poked me in the eye.

Darren: Here, look, I’m taking off my shoes now. It can’t have disappeared.

JoAnne: I’m getting a head-ache (They both remove their shoes). Don’t walk around too much. (She blinks at him). Are you wearing my socks again?

Darren: No.

JoAnne: Yes, you are. I asked you not to do that. It’s gross.

Darren: No grosser than you using my toothbrush.

JoAnne: I did that once. Once in an emergency.

Darren: Be careful of stepping on gum. (They both get on their hands and knees and start crawling around).

JoAnne: Buy your own girl socks.

Darren: Hey, a quarter!

JoAnne: Wait, I think I found…No, that’s not it. What is that?

Darren: Maybe this is a sign. Maybe this job isn’t meant to be.

JoAnne: God, my head! Do you think you could’ve knocked it back into my brain somehow? (The man with the newspaper stands up, folds the newspaper, begins to walk toward them). No, no, no, wait, sir! I need you to step away.

Man: Excuse me?

Darren: Her contact bounced out of her eye.

JoAnne: Was bounced out. Was forcibly bounced.

Man: Oh, okay.

JoAnne (sits up, puts her hands to her eyes): I can’t believe this. My head is pounding. I need to lie down. I think I’m getting a migraine. I’m nauseous (she lays down on her back). Forget it. Just forget it. I’ll have to cancel.

Darren (to the stranger): Do you have an aspirin or a Band-Aid or something?

JoAnne: Or an eye patch?

Man: I have some codeine. I just got out of surgery recently.

Darren: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.

Man: Nothing serious. It was my gall bladder. They gave it to me to take home in a jar. I’m not sure why.

JoAnne: Yes, give me the codeine. I’ll take it. I’ll take anything. Smack. Score me some smack.

Man (pulls out a vial from his pocket and shakes out two pills): You’re supposed to take this with food though. (Hands the pills to Darren who is still on the floor).

Darren: Thanks. (Offers him the quarter he has found).

Man: No, don’t worry about it. Just don’t sue me. I think this might be illegal. I’m not sure. Good luck with your eye. (He exits).

Darren: Wait a second. Here, what’s this? Ha!

JoAnne (sits up): Another quarter?

Darren: No, I think this is it. Is this it? (He hands her the contact).

JoAnne: Oh, my God, thank God! Thank you! You’re brilliant. You’re an idiot, but you’re brilliant.

Darren: Thanks, honey. Sorry about that.

JoAnne: Maybe I over-reacted. I’ve got to go though. (They both stand).

Darren: (begins to try to hug her again). Okay, well—

JoAnne: Stay! Keep your nose to yourself. Just…(she holds out her hand). I’ll call you when I get back.

Darren: Do you want the codeine?

JoAnne: No forget it. Shake my hand, for God’s sake. (They shake hands).

Darren: Parting is such sweet sorrow.

JoAnne: Okay. Take care of yourself.

Darren: That I should like to stay and say goodbye…(She leaves). ’Til it be morrow.

The ending is weak. I have a hard time bringing things to a close.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Altered States

Don't be mad, Mom, but I had seizures all day yesterday, perhaps b/c I haven't taken my Lamictal in like twenty months. A day of seizures only happens every once in awhile and the problem is that the seizures are interesting, so it's hard to be really proactive in finding ways to make them stop. Imagine that you could have this very intense de ja vu every hour or so; so intense that it feels like you might possibly be able to grasp the truth of existence in the thirty seconds or so where you're having a seizure. That's what it's like--it's like I'm on the verge of knowing the Truth about, I don't know, the meaning of life, or the reasons for child abuse or the possibility of believing in God. It's an altered state and one that feels so familiar now (since I've been having seizures for about ten years) that it's hard to give up. The downfall is that it impares my memory and makes me feel really tired and there's also a frustrating aspect to it---when they start to fade (they get less frequent and intense after about 12 hours), I experience a lessened sensation or else I think it's going to happen and it doesn't, so I pause and it's like thinking you're going to sneeze but then not sneezing.
Perhaps it is time to consider a full frontal lobotomy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Big Apple

I've been meaning to write about how much fun I had at the AWP conference last week. It was a mini Penn State reunion and everybody was just as funny as ever. I even got to have lunch with Joe when I first got in town. On the way to eat at this place called Ollie's Noodle Shop, we met a horse and two donkeys who had just finished performing in a play or an opera or something. The guy watching the animals let us pet them. Joe bought me lunch and we talked about work and how much more he likes his job now; how he's suddenly a rock star again.

I spent most of the afternoon after that walking around near 14th Street until Liz got off work and then we met up with Luke and went to dinner at a busy but low key Indian restaurant. Luke ordered best with a chicken dish. Next, went to the Hilton to meet people but the drinks there were crazy expensive so we persuaded people to leave and ended up in a much more casual bar and Dave and a bunch of other peeps showed up.

Friday, I stayed mostly in Brooklyn with Zach and we walked around Park Slope to Beacon's Closet where he bought a ragged jacket with a brown hood and I bought a pair of pink leg warmers (only $4.95!) and we had breakfast at this place that didn't seem to actually have any food---they were going to run out to buy bacon when we ordered it and they put our eggs (which they didn't ask us how we wanted prepared) sandwiched between cinnamon raisin bagels. I think it's possible that we accidentally just walked into someone's house and they gave us some food. Managed to get people together in Brooklyn at this little place with live music and Matt Perez told me he liked my snaggletooth. Adam was exactly the same as ever which was infinitely reassurring. Liz and Luke and I all laughed a lot, a lot, though I couldn't even tell you about what necessarily, just that they bring out the silly in me, which is, of course, always just below the surface and barely contained anyway.

So, I do love New York, but the thing that gets me about it is the sudden horribleness that happens every once in awhile. On the subway and at Port Authority waiting for the Greyhound back to Philadelphia, I saw two extremely messed up people. One kid actually fell down the stairs because he was so drunk or high or whatever. And it was only 4:30 p.m. I think I will stay in Philadelphia for the moment at least.