1. When I wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, I’m going to get up right away, instead of thinking the need will eventually pass, and then lying there for four hours unable to sleep.
That is all.
Note that this has been my resolution for the last two years. Because biting my nails is here to stay.
FOUND IT! (ok actually Nicole found it)
I woke up at 5 and couldn’t fall back asleep and I started thinking about Nicole Cliffe.
Last night I went to Nicole’s talk with Rebecca Mead about Rebecca’s new book. It was one of two times I’ve seen Nicole in the flesh in my life, but I feel like I’ve known her intimately for years, due to the miracle of blogs, specifically the miracle that was Nicole’s first Tumblr, Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews, and then later the miracles that are the Hairpin and The Toast. Through her writing, I’ve become aware of Nicole’s feelings about many different types of literature, but I’ve also learned as much about Nicole’s life — her husband, her horses, her daughter, her dog (RIP) — as I know about … well, I don’t know that much about that many other people!
I think part of it is Nicole’s generosity — this sounds sarcastic, but it’s earnest — with the insights she gleans from everyday life, and how seamlessly she incorporates that kind of knowledge with her “book learning,” the knowledge she’s gleaned from reading TEN HUNDRED KABILLION BOOKS, all of which she remembers in great detail, because she is a fucking genius. She’s also a great writer, and her sentences stick in your head. I always remember her opinion, even when I totally disagree with her (which I do, about books, kind of a lot!) I can’t tell you how often a Nicole-ism has flitted through my head completely unbidden. This makes her sound like the Fergie of literature, but it’s a good thing. Anyway, I knew she was a great writer, but what I didn’t know until last night was how well she commands a room, with utter confidence and articulate grace, and how great she is at asking an author questions about her work. It’s hard to strike a balance between putting the person at ease, “fangirling all over them” (this was something Nicole accused herself of last night), and eliciting interesting and genuine responses that might add to a reader’s appreciation for a book. I have been to a LOT of “in conversation with” events in my life and this one was different. It had a different energy. It was a breath of fresh (Utah-y?) air.
Lying awake (still, somehow) I started thinking about the irony in the subtitle of Nicole’s first tumblr, “the graveyard of personal literary ambition.” Or maybe it’s not quite irony, maybe it’s Alany, whatever, I didn’t get a ton of sleep. But it’s clear that this was the beginning of an incredibly ambitious project for Nicole, and that if Nicole wanted to she could live in New York and do what she she effortlessly, brilliantly did last night all the time. Instead she lives in Utah and skis a lot and rides horses and has a baby and — she would say this too, in these exact words! — a rich husband. She doesn’t have to pay someone the GDP of a small nation to take care of her daughter while she works at a job she semi-hates so that she can afford to keep a foothold in this, The Greatest City In The World. I was clearly going down a weird insomniac thought spiral here. I thought about taking out my phone and scrolling through Instagram til I got sleepy again, which obviously does not work.
And then I remembered something Nicole once wrote, one of her trademark memorable Nicole-isms. Years ago, she wrote (I can’t find this on the Internet! Nicole, do you know where it is? I googled up some AMAZING stuff while searching for it) that her New Year’s Resolution was, if she woke up in the middle of the night and had to pee, she would get up and pee right away, not lie there half-asleep in the hopes that the pee would somehow reabsorb into her body.
Nicole is wise. I got up, peed, and fell back asleep.
Dick, it’s hard for me to access you tonight. All your cowboy/loner stuff seems silly. —
"I Love Dick" by Chris Kraus (via riristylinson)
me watching the last 2 eps of True Detective
I don’t need to be the billionth person who tells you that most writers don’t make their whole living from their writing. For example: I don’t!
I have in the past, though, and that was great, but doing other stuff besides writing can be good too — for your life, your mental health, and even … for your writing. How else will you get the experiences of the world and other people and relationships that you need in order to reimagine them in fiction or memoir? The key is just to find work that won’t steal all your energy and kill your spirit. This is hard, and takes time, but you will find it eventually if you keep trying. — Some advice I gave, which I also try to take.
The cops who arrest Nina on the way to bringing her to jail, the hospital, and ultimately to mandated therapy— which is the usual progression for arrested street sex workers, at least on the first offense—gangrape her. That’s true to life, too.They claim that she violently resisted arrest, which prompts the hospital to put her into seclusion, where the hospital staff also rape her. She is committed to the mental hospital in the first place because a powerful abusive client puts her there. I read this as shorthand for the ways politicians, psychiatrists, and policemen are hypocritical clients in one role and attempt to exert control over the whores they cannot buy with their money alone in another, “rescuing” them against their will. This, then, is treatment. —
Emily Books: The Ones Buying It
Thoughtful, wrenching analysis of Notice by Heather Lewis from Tits and Sass’s Caty Simon.
How much my novel cost me -
Writing this was hard. I was very lucky to be edited by Chad Harbach, who spent many months (6? I forget. Possibly more) working on it with me. My writing group — Bennett, Anya and Lukas — also read several drafts and helped a lot. I would like to dedicate its appearance on the internet to the memory of Raffles, who cost me a lot of money but was worth every penny. I still miss you, buddy.
Last night after the No Regrets event I took the F home and there were two incredibly drunk guys in my car, middle-aged white guys in button-down shirts, not young fratty bros. They were hugging a pole in the middle of the crowded car, talking to each other loudly, moving unsteadily, slurring their words. I was worried, like I am 50% of the time on the subway at night, that vomit might happen on or near me. But they were only bothering each other, til they started talking to a woman who was sitting in the outer seat of a two-seat facing them, effectively underneath them, such that to talk to her one of them had to put his hand on the metal pole right behind her head so that he was sort of crouching over her. She had big, obvious neon green headphones on and I couldn’t see her face because of the direction her seat was facing. And she had a book open, but they were talking to her anyway. I couldn’t hear anything she said. She laughed at one point but to me it sounded like an uncomfortable laugh. Everyone else in the car was looking at these guys, looking at her, looking at each other, saying nothing. And then the louder of the two guys I guess wanted to get her attention because maybe she went back to her book and stopped nervously appeasing him so he reached over and touched her shoulder, not hard, just like “hey,”
DON’T TOUCH HER, I screamed.
"Whuh? Hey, I’m just … mind your business, we’re just talking," or whatever nonsense, he slurred.
DON’T TOUCH WOMEN AND DON’T TALK TO THEM. YOU’RE DRUNK. SHE DOESN’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU. DON’T TOUCH WOMEN AND DON’T TALK TO THEM, I screamed.
He protested, he called me “McSweeney’s” (!!) and he called me some other names, including, of course, “crazy,” But other women in the car chimed in, telling him to lay off, back off, calm down. And I got off at the next stop, so I don’t know what else happened.
maybe you had to be there -
My brother Matt and I both work in Midtown, and on Monday, we met up for lunch at our usual spot, Cafe China on 37th Street.
A waiter seated us and told us that because it was a holiday, there were no lunch specials.
"That’s annoying. Do you want to go somewhere else?" Matt asked.
Best zero star Yelp review ever
The MFA vs NYC launch is coming up on Tuesday. I’ll be reading from my essay about how I spent several years aggressively ruining every aspect of my life/writing this book. TEAM NYC!