Jun 30, 2008

The accordion I ordered yesterday was UNAVAILABLE and so after perusing many more gorgeous creations I picked this one instead:

I also just spent the morning with this amazing photographer Rob who teaches at Penn State and walked me through the entire process of developing film and printing photos in a dark room -- since my noir heroine does photography and I tried writing dark room scenes and realized I had no idea what I was doing. And when I explained that my noir heroine is very old school, Rob also showed the whole process for making cyanotype prints and wet plate colloidion... I don't know if I'm saying those things right but it was very very very cool. Cool spooky photos images staring outta glass and so on. He also told me about this place.. and told me about all these different photographers at work around here (he also mentioned Sally Mann, whom I love, and said she was totally open to talking to people)... AND said I could take his dark room photography class this fall. Just come and learn along with the regular students. We spent over 2 hours talking and I felt like I was learning the mysteries of the damn universe!!
I just ordered this:

As soon as it arrives I will begin lessons with a woman in Philipsburg. Because THAT IS HOW COOL I AM.

In other news, my heart was broke last week when I went back to the horses with Courtney and this one horse started sniffing and chomping at my arms and getting all close and personal and within minutes my porcelain like yet traitorous skin erupted into terrible bumps that then went and turned themselves into welts. I AM ALLERGIC! DEATHLY ALLERGIC TO HORSES! I went home and cahriiiiied and scratched and took baths with baking soda and spread my skin with cortizone and even went so far as to contemplate moving back to New York City... but then the swelling went down and I realized I can still be a country bumpkin, just one who has to stick to pink bicycles and admire the equine beauty from afar. Sigh.

In other news, my deceptively angelic looking personal trainer tortured me so much last Thursday that I up and paid him for 20 more sessions, one of which I shall partake of in 90 minutes.

Also: Saturday I went to a giant party at my favorite farmhouse out in the country, a farmhouse I posted photos of some months back, and there were 100 people eating pulled pork at picnic tables in an 18th century barn.. and there were 50000 children racing around the pond and catching bullfrogs and tadpoles and petting chickens... and that is where I met this accordion player, by the way, who gave me the card of this woman in Phillipsburg, and I also talked to another woman who leads an outdoors/hiking club once a week on Tuesday evenings and IM GONNA JOIN. Then yesterday my mom and dad and Courtney and his son Duncan all went to a play in MILL HALL where you sit behind big tables and eat dinner while watching the show. Tomorrrow this teacher at Penn State is going to show me the dark rooms and explain how they work and this be NOVELISTIC RESEARCH. As my noir heroine is a photographer. I am quite sure that the bellydancing and accordion lessons will turn into novelistic research as well... if they're lucky.


Jun 26, 2008

So I have been having much much fun here in the center of Pennyslvania and am appalled at myself for having done almost no work in the last week and a half -- well, both here and in Canada. WHICH I SHALL CHANGE. Right after writing up this list of gorgeousness to console myself in the hours ahead.

1. On my birthday I had a long luxurious lunch with Barb and Heather and my sister in the kind of old woody fairylight-strung restaurant that has MILL in the title.

My birthday also involved a long luxurious family dinner and many hours of bowling with my sister and our old friend Courtney. As well as a viewing of the BACHELORETTE, in which I'm not gonna lie I am exceedingly emotionally invested.

2. On Tuesday I had my first real personal training session at my new gym and whereas I thought we were gonna do a fairly painless Nautilus circuit, instead my angel-faced lovely blond boy trainer KICKED MY ASS until all I could do was close my eyes and do whatever he told me with no thought in my brain whatsoever. Said torture involved many exercises performed with that deceptively bouncy lookin BALL that lurks in gyms worldwide. I stumbled home and slept for two hours. My next meeting with that blond devil is in 90 minutes. I am still listing this under fun things as I have now masochistically decided to work with this boy every week until I have SUPER POWERS and possibly even the ability to fly.

3. That evening Barb came to get me for our first private BELLYDANCING LESSON. Which I also didn't think would be a very hard workout and which also KICKED MY ASS. But in the best way possible. It was so fun! We are both madly in love with bellydancing now -- and with our teacher, Alexa, who tells us things like (whilst moving our arms elegantly from our sides to above our heads) "imagine you're showing off a huge diamond! oh, look at how gorgeous it is!" She also told us that women do not ever sweat; "we just get dewy." Now Barb and I are taking lessons with Alexa in her little studio -- which looks over green green green -- twice a week. Plus I now officially know how to shimmy.

4. After bellydancing, Barb and I went downtown to see AGENT ORANGE. Who were GREAT. And I can't tell you how weird it was to be at a punk show at age 37 in my old town surrounded by college kids. And the occasional person I used to know. It is weird to be in a place where your past is always right there ready to smack you in the face. But there were MANY MANY cute boys and we had lots of fun. Here are photos I took of Barb with the (very very sweet) band.

5. Yesterday evening my friend Courtney and his 10 year old genius son Duncan picked me up and the three of us took a long walk through this unbelievably gorgeous and idyllic park -- replete with butterfly gardens and blackberries -- and then came upon this DOG RUN which was full of rescued beagles as well as ordinary canine creatures and we went inside and played with 50000000000 different dogs, one of whom ran over and became obsessed with my VERY FASHIONABLE BAG and when I saw said beagle's rhinestone-studded collar I understood and felt I had met a creature after my own heart. If I be staying in central PA -- and I think I will be, in a little house in the boonies -- then getting a dog will be one of my first orders of bizness. A dog and a gun. We then walked over to this field with two horses in it chompin on grass. I had never been right next to a horse and never touched one, and man are they some strange and magical creatures. They come right up to you and look at you and one had a hankering for my hand and just about chomped it off. Courtney claimed that meant she loved me but he mighta just been being kind. He has promised to teach me to ride horses in the near future and claims that his mama's sweetest horse will be very good for this and NOT KILL ME.

The end.

Jun 21, 2008


Jun 20, 2008


So for the past two weeks, all the contributors to to the astonishing tome Fucking Daphne -- by the astonishing Daphne Gottlieb -- have asked each other very piercing and compelling questiones and put the answers in their journals on given days. In an act of extreme generosity towards all readers, I asked DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ABOUT WRITING ABOUT SEX. I am hopeful that the following answers will prevent all future scenes in which mens are stroked to fulfillment and womens shatter into a million fiery pieces:

(Jamie Berger) Write first draft while inebriated.

(Hanne Blank) Having edited several books of erotica and written a lot of it, my advice is to think of the sex scene as being like a fight scene: it should be part of the throughline of the story, and help to develop both the action and the characters. Mere virtuosity will not save it from dullness, it has to have a reason to be there.

(R. Gay) The thing about advising people about writing about sex is that everyone is going to tell you something different and often times that advice is so nauseating. It sounds kind of lazy of me but either you can write about sex or you can’t and if you (not in this instance, of course) need to ask how, you just cannot learn. Having said that, the general advice I give is to think about the best fucking you’ve ever given or received, then add some embellishments so that your characters become the best fuckers they can be.

(Marlo Gayle) Don’t. The market’s too saturated. I wanna make some money. Honestly, I always try to not make THE SEX the focus of my stories.

(Caren Gussoff) I don’t write about sex. I just can’t. When I do, it either sounds really mechanical, or clad in too many twisted metaphors (I blame a childhood spent studying DH Lawrence and Henry Miller for the birds/bees for that).
The way I’ve solved that is that I steal from Hitchcock. Not to sound cowardly, but I cut away from the scene. I make sure that the reader knows sex is about to happen—I can write kissing and people embracing and falling around on the floor, rolling onto the TV remote control—and then, that sex has happened—the proverbial lighting of cigarettes, or the guy washing his dick in the sink, or the girl feeling around beneath the bed for her bra—but I tend not to try and show the actual act.
Even in my story for the anthology—there’s little sex actually depicted. The whole point is about what is happening around the sex. The funny part is that what happens around sex is probably much messier.

(Jared Jacang Maher) Writing about sex is the same as writing about instances of extreme violence. Understatement, understatement, understatement.

(Sarah Katherine Lewis) Kind of. I mean, this is what I do when I write about sex, but it may not be the direction you want to go in: I tend to concentrate on physical grotesquerie and small, revolting corporeal details. I think enough people write about sex like it's some kind of ethereal mental/emotional experience that a few of us have gotta remind the world that it's also a lot like going to the bathroom, too. Bodies are gross. They squirt and smell funny and have lumps and hairs in weird places. This is not to say that I don't have a huge amount of affection for bodies in all their permutations, and for all their appetites from earthy to profound—I do. I guess that's why I like to document the things that bodies do in painstaking detail. Sex is essentially slapstick, and the jokes just write themselves.

(Nick Mamatas) Just say cock.

(Lori Selke) I would like to read a lot more writing about sex that isn’t porn or erotica (not even “postmodern porn”), but just about sex. There’s so much to talk about that gets neglected in favor of the simple turn-on.

(Eric Spitznagel) Don’t skimp on the sexy adjectives. Here are a few juicy ones to get you started: throbbing, slippery, undulating, tattooed, swollen, sweaty, aching, muggy, puzzled, unnecessarily bulbous, prickly, itchy, needy, incongruous, moist-ish, arched, sweltering, sawed-off, turgid, and water-based. Also, keep in mind that most people read erotica for one and only one reason: to laugh. So make sure your stories are peppered with lots of punchlines. I like to write about sex as if it’s a Mexican sitcom. At some point, usually just after the orgasm, somebody should do a comic take to the audience (i.e. the “reader”) and say something adorably unexpected like, “No es bueno!” It’s funny and it’s hot.

So I have been in Canada with my family since Monday, and have seen two gorgeous plays, spent many many hours playing canasta, bought many many necklaces and rings and robes and staplers shaped like hens, and had many many lovely meals involving buttery red wine and smoked salmon atop white chocolate scones. A couple days ago I spent an hour writing by a fire before having a 90-minute massage and sitting around in a robe drinking spice tea, which I believe is very fitting behavior for peoples with movie deals (Godmother was optioned last week!). Yesterday was my sister's birthday and tomorrow is mine. We are in Niagara-on-the-Lake which is quaint as quaint can be. Upon returning from dinner last night there was even a deer standing stock still in the front yard of our b&b, pretending to be an extremely klassy lawn ornament.

Also, here is my sister and my mama and me saying "prune," which circekills reports is what the Olsen twins say at every photo op.

The end.

Jun 17, 2008

So I am in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, with my parents and sister, who flew in from NYC yesterday and who flew to NYC from Jordan on Friday.

Look at her sluttily cavorting among camels and ruins:

Yesterday she had the following conversation with my mom:

"Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea?"
"It's really cool."

I would just like to remind you that she is a very very very fancy corporate attorney who does things with hedge funds and M&A's and other mysterious, suspicious things.

Anyway, the town we are in is as quaint as quaint can be. All big houses with wraparound porches and idyllic gardens. Shutters and windowboxes and little baskets lined with cloth and ribbons. We are here for the week to see two plays and bike along rivers and to wineries and to restaurants with glittery windows overlooking streets full of shops that sell paintings of dogs.

In other news, look at Joi in Inked Magazine:

Jun 13, 2008

So at one point in the early 90s I lived in Seattle for a summer with Barb and worked at this amazing Persian restaurant where I became friends with these two Afghani boys who introduced me to one of my favorite songs ever ever ever. I became obsessed with that song, as did Barb and my friend Heather. We played it all the time and I remember vividly forcing the boys to blast it from their car while Barb I danced around the streets like complete dorks. But then I lost my copy of the song, and I never knew what it was, and I did not stay in touch with the boys, but then just this morning Heather showed me the video, which she had somehow tracked down. And now this is my favorite video ever and I wish I could do every single dance in it. Look!!

Jun 5, 2008

I can't seem to delete this piece of spam, as, deep down, I quite love it.

Subj: Meet Hot Little Princess

Big baddies always get the girls, its time for you to be bigger and badder too.


Jun 4, 2008

Two gorgeous things:

1. This Ghalib poem my friend Anthony sent me:

I'm neither the loosening of song nor the close-drawn tent of music;
I'm the sound, simply, of my own breaking.

You were meant to sit in the shade of your rippling hair;
I was made to look further, into a blacker tangle.

All my self-possession is self-delusion;
what violent effort, to maintain this nonchalance!

Now that you've come, let me touch you in greeting
as the forehead of the beggar touches the ground.

No wonder you came looking for me, you
who care for the grieving, and I the sound of grief.

2. This series of images. Which is exactly what I love.

ALSO: So earlier today Massie and I were talking about some old friends we haven't been in touch with or seen for years but are now in touch with thru Facebook, etc., and she mentioned a girl named Sarah we knew. Who lives in Jordan now. I get off the phone with Massie and two seconds later I get an email from my sister saying that she and her friend went to a bunco game last night in Amman and ran into Sarah there.

Jun 2, 2008

So I have been playing tons of racquetball this past several weeks with my friend Barb -- or, as we put it, "kicking ass" -- and today I present a photo of how astonishingly cool we look whilst doing it. Or how astonishingly cool Barb looked this morning, anyway.

Before last week I never used goggles when playing, but then Barb rooodly hit the ball right into my delicate EYEBALL and almost killed me. Now we are forced to look like science nerds or else die terrible eyeless deaths...

In other news, I today received two gorgeous gorgeous copies of Fucking Daphne, the just-published anthology put together by and about Ms Daphne Gottlieb and in which I took part. Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

When Daphne Gottlieb first found herself the character in someone else's story she was intrigued; over time, as she appeared in more and more stories, she started to wonder about the implications of what was real and what wasn't. Did it matter that there were published stories of her having sex in bathrooms, vacant parking lots, on the balcony at a party in an old bordello? Did it matter whether or not they were true?

This question sparked the idea for Fucking Daphne, a collection that blurs the lines between reality and fiction and begs the question “who is the real Daphne?” A pill-popping wild child? A soft place to fall with a broken heart? A dreadlocked vixen?

Contributors include Hanne Blank, Stephen Elliot, Sarah Katherine Lewis, and Ariel Gore, who describe, watch, and engage with a character that is not Daphne Gottlieb; Daphne is a projection, a fantasy, a zeitgeist. We are all a multitude of people in bed. We are all Daphne.

Harnessing the playfulness of the hoax, the seductiveness of literature, and the edginess of the avant-garde, Fucking Daphne is unique in a culture hungry for sex, information, and most of all, understanding.


My contribution, by the way, features me and Daphne gettin it on in a cab going over the Brooklyn Bridge.


Jun 1, 2008

So my sister just called from JORDAN, where she is staying with her lawyerly friend Laura and and Laura's husband and babies in a palatial house in Amman. I was supposed to go on this trip as well but then admirably and sacrificially asserted that I did NOT quit my job and move to Pennsylvania for a year in order to GALLIVANT AROUND but in order to accomplish some very serious goals, such as the completion of three books. And that perhaps I can gallivant in the FALL once some of these goals have been achieved, but for now I gotta buckle down. Anyway, my sister is going off to Egypt at the end of the week for a couple of days and tomorrow is heading off for a day trip to Jerusalem, and I told her that if she gets blown up she will RUIN MY LIFE and I will never talk to her again, so she promised not to. I am recording this promise here for posterity and future blackmail purposes.

In other extremely exciting news, this week I went to PETCO with Barb so that she could buy $500000000000 worth of food for her cats and whilst there I spied an array of squeaky squirrels and hedgehogs and rabbits and chipmunks... After a long time spent contemplating this impressive array I decided to fork over eight whole smackers for the CHIPMUNK in an effort to lure my annoying canine charge away from his very disturbing and decidedly unmasculine ball, which looks like this

and which he insists on having thrown to him at least 5000000 hours every day, to a much more appropriate object of desire for a mini tousle haired hunter, like this

This being "Chippie," as my mother insists on calling him... despite my efforts to point out how such a name undermines the quest for masculinity at the heart of my generosity. You will notice that "Chippie" looks a little worse for the wear. As my plan worked far better than I ever could have dreamed and in fact completely backfired, as Gus is now so obsessed with "Chippie" that he manhandles him all day long... sleeps with him, nibbles on him, carries with him outside and up and down the stairs, and even, well, occasionally humps him.

I mean, have you ever seen a more shocking and untoward sight?

I know.

In other news, I saw "The Strangers" on Friday and while I thought it was scary but kind of lame, I'm not gonna lie I've imagined masked men lurking in the dark on several occasions over the last few days... and NOT in a hot way.

Oh: and my friend Anthony sent me a bunch of poems the other night and I am now obsessed with this Sylvia Plath one, The Zoo Keeper, that I had never read before and think is completely astonishing.

I can stay awake all night, if need be ---
Cold as an eel, without eyelids.
Like a dead lake the dark envelops me,
Blueblack, a spectacular plum fruit.
No airbubbles start from my heart, I am lungless
And ugly, my belly a silk stocking
Where the heads and tails of my sisters decompose.
Look, they are melting like coins in the powerful juices ---

The spidery jaws, the spine bones bared for a moment
Like the white lines on a blueprint.
Should I stir, I think this pink and purple plastic
Guts bag would clack like a child's rattle,
Old grievances jostling each other, so many loose teeth.
But what do you know about that
My fat pork, my marrowy sweetheart, face-to-the-wall?
Some things of this world are indigestible.

You wooed me with the wolf-headed fruit bats
Hanging from their scorched hooks in the moist
Fug of the Small Mammal House.
The armadillo dozed in his sandbin
Obscene and bald as a pig, the white mice
Multiplied to infinity like angels on a pinhead
Out of sheer boredom. Tangled in sweat-wet sheets
I remember the bloodied chicks and the quartered rabbits.

You checked the diet charts and took me to play
With the boa constrictor in the Fellows' Garden.
I pretended I was the Tree of Knowledge.
I entered your bible, I boarded your ark
With the sacred baboon in his wig and wax ears
And the bear-furred, bird-eating spider
Clambering round its glass box like an eight-fingered hand.
I can't get it out of my mind

How our courtship lit the tindery cages ---
Your two-horned rhinoceros opened a mouth
Dirty as a bootsole and big as a hospital sink
For my cube of sugar: its bog breath
Gloved my arm to the elbow.
The snails blew kisses like black apples.
Nightly now I flog apes owls bears sheep
Over their iron stile. And still don't sleep.