Aug 30, 2008

So I am now finally officially settled back into Pennsylvania life and writing writing writing my noir with the goal of handing a final draft to Eric and a few others by the end of September, and I am also trying out a play and working on a ghost story and playing around with a few more ideas, and for once I feel like I'm actually using the masses amounts of free time at my disposal in a way that is lovely and productiva... not just lovely. No more petting horses! Sigh. Today I have worked on the noir for hours, with short breaks only to watch one episode of Mad Men, to take a bath and read some of the awesome The Cutting Room, and to talk with mah friend Chelsea on the phone as her twin girls screamed and squawked in the background. SUCH PRODUCTIVITY! I DO go to Seattle next week with Barb, and shall meet up with many wondrous people there including Ms. Cherie Priest, but in the mean time I plan to be very very nerdly and write like a mofo.

Also, yesterday I had another accordion lesson and have now committed myself to practicing for 20 minutes a day so that I might actually one day be able to master this instrument. At this stage the fact that you have to read music and play it with your right hand, and ALSO read music and play it with your left hand, and ALSO count out beats and play said music at the right tempo, and ALSO be opening and closing the bellows the whole time... not to mention doing all the above without being able to SEE any of the notes you're playing... Well, it is some damn complicated. But I will persevere and my inner genius accordion player shall be unleashed.

OH AND: ok, so you need to be able to feel out the middle C on the bass side, the left side, at all times, and my accordion has EVERY C hollowed out so it's hard to find the middle C sometimes (whereas my teacher's accordion has only the middle C hollowed out). So I'm always struggling to find the right C and we're always saying we need to mark it somehow and then last night she said there are things called BASS BUTTON JEWELS that look like fake diamonds and I can stick one into my middle C so I can almost find it.. and well, my heart went all aflutter. I MEAN. I AM LEARNING TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT IN WHICH FAKE DIAMONDS CAN BE INSERTED! And soon my already gorgeous gorgeous instrument shall be even more gorgeous, and in order to anchor myself my left fingers will forever be searching out and latching onto a fake jewel, and to me this is how everything should be in this world, at all times.

Oh and Thursday I went to my first dark room photography class at Penn State, which I am sitting in on and which is taught by my awesome friend Rob who has helped me so much with photography info for the noir. So I sat with many arty chillen in a laboratory-lookin room and learned all about F stops and shutter speeds and depths of fields and all those other 50000 details that added to the whole learning-to-read-sheet-music thing might possibly make my brain explode in an array of bloody gorgeousness.

Anyway, for the class the final project is to put together a series of like 10 photos on a certain theme/subject/whatever. And after class I talked to Massie, who is about to move to THE GRAIL, this cool commune typa thing in Cornwall on the Hudson in NY, like 1.5 hrs outta NYC in the Hudson Valley, that is part of a network of "grails" around the world which had their start in like the 20s as sorta alternatives to convents for women who wanted to pursue a spiritual path but remain open to the mens and marriage.. and anyway this one grail is now the only one left in the US that women actually live on, those women being these three ladies who live in this main house, plus this awesome girl Marcie who is good friends with Massie who lives in this big old farmhouse which is hers for the year, and now hers and Massie's, in exchange for them working the organic garden and implementing a number of other projects meant to get the community more involved in Grail activities. SO. Massie moves there Sept 15 and I was planning maybe in November to go up and stay for a while, maybe as long as a month, and I told Massie I'd offer some writing services as well as teach a workshop or two and ANYWAY I realized my photo project should OBVIOUSLY be super cool and autumnal and black and white and documenting these womens and their lives at the Grail.

Which will obviously make it the best photo project ever.

Also, next Wednesday I start a new tribal bellydancing class with this woman Shannon, now that our old teacher Alexa has vamoosed. And yesterday I went back to my personal trainer after three weeks and I almost died.

The end.

Aug 26, 2008

I have come to the startling realization that normal people do not think that playing the accordion is cool.

It is very difficult sometimes to be so evolved.
So I managed to make it out of Florida alive, despite the murderous heat, the rabid turtles, the ducks who eyed me with evil intent, and that terrible old lady hurricane mucking about the whole time trying to get some damn attention and love. I said to her "You catch more flies with honey!" but she just kept on haranguing us with a rain that turned the air to swamp. Oh it was horrible. And the Orlando airport was horrible, filled with lost souls who'd spent god knows how much of their hard-earned incomes on ill-advised trips to Disney World only to be rained out completely. Like this huge ragtag family from Scotland we sat next to on the plane who I believe spent their week long vacation in their hotel room watching TV. SUCKAS! I did have an awesome time on the plane watching my new favorite show Mad Men, which totally makes me want to smoke cigarettes at all times and develop a taste for manly booze. Oh and I cleeeeaned up at poker with my sister and our amazing host Glenna, who amongst other things told us she spent the last hurricane shut up in her closet with Jack, then showed us a photo of herself sitting in her closet hugging a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Here is my sister and me determinedly facing down Florida in all its evilness.

We flew into New York Saturday (by the skin of our teeth!) and then Sunday I rented a car and Joi and I drove down to Pennsylvania, where I witnessed the final demise of my short-lived but extremely sweet homespun summer country hometown romance that I suppose I knew wouldn't really last but thought might proceed slightly more elegantly than it did... SIGH... and then amongst other things Joi and Barb and Heather and I all met for another glamorous BULIMICS reunion after which Joi, Barb and I proceeded to the GRANGE FAIR where Joi and Barb posed alluringly alongside Chicken and Waffles trucks, as one does,

and where yours truly was charmed by completely inspired word arrangements such as the following (it says PEANUTS LOLLIPOPS CASHEWS, as my camera phone roodly refused to note),

and where we admired extremely obscene vegetable matter,

and where Barb and yours truly also played some mighty fine BINGO even though all the prizes were horrible thus forcing me to admit that the only allure was the joy of locating called-out numbers on boards and placing red circles above them -- it's so fun, though! --

and where Joi found herself less than enthralled by her surrounds, being "city folk" as she is.

I myself might have to admit to being far more citified than I would like to think, despite my secret aspirations to be a country bumpkin and outright refusal before now to note the dark side to country bumpkinism out here in the center of Pennsylvania... For example last night we passed a tshirt stand where we saw a man, the proprietor, wearing a t-shirt that said across the back FIGHTING SOLVES EVERYTHING, and I immediately wanted one of course and we approached and asked if he sold that one (since everything actually for sale was tie-dyed) and he, who turned out to be a hyuuuuge skinhead type, wearing said t-shirt which across the FRONT seemed to profess some sort of alliance to some sort of something very mysterious and evil, said "OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. You got to KNOW SOMEONE to get one of these..." and then we realized it was very likely a white power kinda thing and suddenly our ironic citified hipsterdom tendencies came glaring forward and for a moment blinked out, its eyeballs sputtering, before collapsing upon the ground clutching its heart... And well, we left shortly after..... just as the last dregs of the hickly future I saw sprawled before me sputtered out and DIED.

I still plan to have many quaint country residences however.

And now that I am back and my guest is gone -- I dropped off Joi at the train station this morn -- I am verrry excited to work on 50000 projects with much renewed energy, including a new book idea about the ridiculous dating life of an UMMM HIGHLY ROMANTIC AND OVERLY IMAGINATIVE TYPE LIKE YOURS TRULY... as well as watch the whole first season of Mad Men and also go see the awesomely shlocky looking Mirrors this eve, right after my accordion lesson.

The end.

Aug 20, 2008

I am sitting in a Wendys in Lake Wales, Florida, with my father, partaking of free wireless while my sister and mother and uncle and 90-years-old-on-this-very-day grandmother go shopping, and thought I might take this opportunity to list some of the many many reasons why Florida is my least favorite state. I know it has its charms, like every other place, and in fact I think Sarasota for one is quite lovely, and I suspect I would like Miami alright, BUT THAT SAID....

Please consider the following:

1. It is perfectly acceptable here to wear colors like bright aqua mixed with bright pink and bright orange and to accessorize oneself with shells.

2. You can also go into most establishments and either purchase or observe things like hanging plant holders or jewelry boxes made entirely of said shells.

3. The air is like soup, AND NOT THE KIND YOU LIKE.

4. The objectionable word "sunshine" is deeply embedded in everyday parlance.

5. There are MASSIVE black beetles that are constanty scheming about how to kill you. Not to mention scorpions and snakes and drug dealers and serial killers. Oh and where my grandmother and uncle live you can run across mountain lions and wild boars with similarly murderous intentions, right in the street!

6. There are many many hurricanes with old lady names knocking everything about at all times.

7. Almost every wall is decorate with large plastic fish with pointy snouts and mohawk-like fins painted deeply unnatural colors. And it is not uncommon to see nets dangling from ceilings and scattered with plastic seahorses.

8. You will regularly pass signs that say things like WET N' WILD!, which are obviously very offensive on many levels.

9. People here feel it is acceptable to dye one's hair bright yellow, even tho a sensitive soul like myself could DIE when encoutered by such a hue. But no one cares about this, as life is very cheap here.

I would come up with a tenth reason but I need the rest of my emotional strength to endure the next two days.

I am however having a nice time with my family, and for lunch I had ahi tuna and oysters, and tomorrow we are dining in a chalet, and also my sister and I are staying with my grandmother's awesome friend Glenna who loves gambling and booze and in fact tonight shall serve us vino and teach us to play Texas hold em.

So yesterday Tink and Aoife and I had a lovely Japanese lunch involving flames leaping out of a tower of cut onions, then took Aoife to the fountains at Atlas Park for much picturesque frolicking. Note that Aoife is wearing the super stylish ice cream cone dress I got for her birthday, as well as matching socks.

Also: have you ever seen a more glamorous mother-daughter pair?


Anyway, so then yesterday eve I had a delightful dinner with Brenna and then a delightful drink with a former paramour Anthony at a place so swanky I thought the menu, at first, was garbage. Now I shall meet Massie for brunch and then my sister and I is off to Florida.

In other news, I just now this very second dropped off my final Godmother page proofs with my sister's doorman downstairs -- I had to make a few new edits for my lovely UK editor who says awesome things like "don't over-egg the pudding!" -- and I won't have to look at that book again until I have a galley in my greedy yet well manicured paws. THANK GAWD

The end.

Aug 19, 2008

I'm now at Tink's place in Glendale hanging out with her and my best friends Aoife and Shameless. Yesterday we went to the playground, where Aoife glamorously swung and exhibited much wist whilst doing so. It's as if she's starring in a French film at all times!

Also, here are Aoife and Shameless contemplating existence and its many horrors as well as delights on my makeshift bed. Please note the extremely fashionable handbag and open carry-on case in the backgound. Thankyou.

Aug 15, 2008

Two things, quickly:

1. The new Woody Allen Movie, Vicki Cristina Barcelona, is totally charming and great and I would like to move in with Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz and have my own dark room immediately.

2. So Eric's husband Shax is a PhD candidate at Bard in the history of decorative arts and he knows 5000000 fascinating things about, like, 18th century porcelain and all kinds of other topics and he is totally scholarly and romantic and the kind of guy who should always be wearing vests and straw hats and be carrying around battered copies of Proust. He goes off on trips where he tours English castles with other academics and learns about teapots. And he writes really really cool articles for magazines like Antiques, where he wrote about this guy Ivan Day in England who is this culinary historian who regularly makes elaborate meals the way they would have been made hundreds of years ago, back when rich people were all about fancy sugar confections in the shapes of swans in the centers of their tables. Anyway, this morning I read this awesome article Shax wrote and you should read it immediately.
So yesterday, amongst other things, I got to spend time with the sluttiest dog in the world, Shorty, who is the kind of dog who just slinks up and melts into you, gazing at you lasciviously all the while. Here is Shorty with Eric (wearing my sunglasses in a heartwrenching stab a glamour) yesterday, as we drove off to have an extremely decadent clam and lobster and MELTED BUTTER feast with Eric's awesome parents, who live in another lovely Connecticut country house nearby:

Can you see the invitation in his eyeballs?

Here is a photo of Shax and Duffy and Eric's mom Carol and Eric and Shorty. Note that the people here are relaxed and friendly, whilst the two dogs are both giving their best Garbo-at-the-prow-of-the-ship-in-Queen-Christina poses.

Not one ounce of shame!

Anyway, yesterday was extreeeeemly productive as in the morn I finished Eric's (very very very lovely and elegant) manuscript in my room and then, after lunch at a roadside little restaurant with outdoor tables and an American flag hanging from its side, he and I sat in a screened alcove in this woody little country house, with a little lamp lit beside us, and gave each other feedback on our books allllll afternoon while it pounded rain outside and Shax brought us iced coffees and Reeses peanut butter cups on a tray. Our lonngggg discussione was incredibly helpful and great for both of us and Eric would be the first person who's read the 200 pages I have of my noir, and now we have a date again in one month to exchange our books again, this time hopefully entire completed drafts. Our reward was said lobster feast as well as a viewing of Project Runway with Eric's parents, whom I love and who actually appear in my noir as the heroine's fiance's perfect and super-sophisticated city-dwelling parents, and today all we have to do is lounge about and eat waffles and steaks and play many many board games and drive into a nearby town to see the new Woody Allen movie. IT IS VERY HARD.

Oh and here we are being unbelievably elegant.

The end.
I have been verry busy and in New York the past week having fancy lunches and dinners involving large goblets of red wine and friends and editors and agents and ex coworkers and film peoples and last weekend I spent in the Berkshires with my friend David and his lovely wife Julie and his four wild boys who screamed and hollered and trampled about the woods in the nude picking berries. I mean you would think they were tiny woodland creatures rather than city-dwelling children:

The weekend was very idyllic. Ponds were swam/swum? in,

cuddling was done upon open fields,

and, when atmospheric rain kept all involved indoors, yours truly was persecuted for evil sport.

This is what happens in the wild. Today I am off to Connecticut to spend the weekend with Eric and his husband Shax. Eric and I have exchanged manuscripts and will discuss my noir and his Berlin book, and we will also do many many fun things involving lobster and clams and porches replete with rocking chairs and hanging plants. Monday I come back to New York and spend two days with Tink and my best friend Aoife, and then Wednesday my sister and I fly to Florida to meet my parents and celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. Then we come back to NYC and Joi will be driving back to Pennsylvania with me for the GRANGE FAIR, which I have never been to but I know involves MANY KINDS OF LIVESTOCK.

I also just this morning turned in brand spanking new revisions for Godmother, which has, I am free to say, been bought by Headline in the UK and so will be published there as well as here next spring. Headline has also bought an unwritten next book about a girl who is HALF MERMAID. I am not sure whether I have also said that Godmother has been optioned for film by Random House Films/Focus Features. All very awesome glamorous peoples have done the buying and optioning and it is all QUITE WONDROUS.

The end.