30 June 2011

3 june: a revue


"this really is the age where you just need to bend over and see what happens. either you’ll get pregnant or you’ll get aids or it’ll be really fucking good."

"it will give you a chance to simplify your emotions. or at the very least, your dreams."

"no more death by leftovers. hurrah."

"it is hard to be a girl today."

"good gracious, you are owning 30."

"have you emerged from the BAAAAAHHHHHH yet?"

"its things like that truth that allow me to say with such certainty to random boys from my past that you are my platonic soul mate."

"i just added your father as my facebook friend. it just needed to be done."

"it took us the whole day and 48 emails to do it, but we are victorious."
"that is the best synopsis of girl-planning EVER."

"i am still eating my emotions."

"my love language is 'out loud.'"

"your holster didn't work!"

"they almost fell into the category of gifts that a person would get from an aunt or uncle who totally does not understand young people."

"dr. quinn did not prepare me for this."

"people who pee their pants need to read, too, oline."

"when i first saw your package this morning, i had to quickly put it away because it was so big i didn't want my boss to see."

"i was all, 'i can't wait for evan to see caro's package.'"

"and i wonder: what is a whoopie pie?"

"i'm very romancey today."

"mariah carey just came on my ipod. i felt you needed to know."

"expect long, intimate farewells if you're ever in zurich."

"did you get ice cream?"
"no, the sky threw up."

"i feel your father's declaration that it is beautiful and vonnegut-like will propel him to coerce your mum to go along for the ride..."

"the entire world should be envious of oline's package."

"i am going to go lock myself in a bubble."

"she’s the one in the turban situation."

"i am owning myself!!!"

"stridency is not a virtue."

"they played SUPER loud for a tiny room containing six people."

"even jesus is throwing up his hands, like 'seriously, these two aren’t going to make it in the long haul.'"

"kurt vonnegut! that is a fancy author who wrote a book i haven’t read."

"one of those things that SEEM ideal, but are much more fun in our imagination than in real life."

"one more... i like the pretty colors of your package."
"my package is pretty, eh?"
"after all these years of wondering, seeing it made me swoon."

"but do you own a sleeping bag?"
"no. but now we know the limits of my ownership. myself? YES. sleeping bags? not so much."

"funny thing about jim caviezel..."

"you and your oral prayers."

"you'll take over the world that way, my pretty."

"does this book not seem… just a smidge… like american psycho for people with vaginas?"

"i am now disappointed by the humor of my sub-conscience."

"you rock them knees, girl."

"he's also 6' 6". i'm sure i look like his charge from the big brother/big sister program from a distance."

"and a yellow top that is very linda."

"she had brief spiral into alcohol and substance abuse, but I think she's moved on from that."

"we would expect nothing less of a woman who has sworn off of non-skinny denim."

"like, were you VERBALLY scorned???"

"maybe it is destiny. or maybe it is again something meant for lovers."

"i guess we all can be anything for an hour."

"now i think it is ice cream-thirty."

"dear ortho-tricycline, why you so mean?"

0 ?


29 June 2011

0 here's the thing you need to know



"my father had this girlfriend" was rejected twenty-two times.

that's a lot. that's a small orchestra of people that wanted absolutely nothing to do with her. only three of them responded to say so and, 750 words ago, even contrary magazine turned her down.

getting published is an exercise in ritual humiliation for which one must have a tough skin and a hell of a cheering section.

the philosopher told me this was a good story. last spring, when i sent him the 2009 version, he said he wanted more. in december, he brought it up again. he said i should write more and so i did.

in january, kj and lindear and i were snuggled up three to a bed in the hilton garden inn downtown chicago magnificent mile, drunk off countless rainbo whiskey sours, when i read "my father had this girlfriend" to them. they said it was good. they suggested i call her gemma faye.

i still remember sensei's face, in the naked lady bar four days later. he was across the table in the window seat where we were meant to always sit and when i asked if i was just spinning my wheels and being overdramatic,  he put his hand to his brow and said "my father had this girlfriend" was something anyone who'd ever loved more than one person could understand. he said, we all have a gemma faye.

we're randomly in washington d.c. at a cuban bar drinking sangria when a friend- who i'd never met but to whom libby had forwarded a link to my blog months before- mentions "my father had this girlfriend." i'd almost forgotten it, but i return to chicago, staring down a june 1st deadline, cut 750 words and submit it to contrary again because it's the only thing i have that's near ready.

a month later, k.clen- who has egged me on with breakfasts and the mantra of "FORWARD MOTION"- lets herself in my back door and finds me tucked over the computer reading the acceptance email, shellshocked by the prospect of the conversation i'm going to have to have with my parents.

my parents say yes. i honestly did not think they would.

"my father had this girlfriend" got published. which is great and all, but it feels thoroughly inadequate. because there should be end credits for published pieces. it's astonishing how many people can be involved in the production of a mere 497 words. subtract any one of these people (plus the twenty others i've not mentioned here) and there's just no way.

writing is portrayed as an isolated activity and it just isn't. it cannot be.

2 reflect with me

on how helena bonham-carter should totally star 
in a lifetime movie entitled pete doherty: life, drugs & rock 'n roll.
just saying.



28 June 2011

27 June 2011

5 behold! the first time ever in the history of ever i have been paid for my words

2 my father had this sex girlfriend


in 2008, i wrote a story about my father's ex-girlfriend. in late 2010, at the repeated urging of the man i was dating then, i rewrote it and it became "my father had this girlfriend."

in january, my father's old girlfriend took a turn about the naked lady bar, where she was whipped into fighting shape and, subsequently, she was submitted.

everywhere.

soon, the whole wide world of indie lit magazines knew my father had this girlfriend. and much like my father, they wanted nothing to do with her.

come late may, i cut a small novel's worth of words from my father's girlfriend, trimmed her down to an anorexic 497 and submitted her again. one last time.

this was the hail mary pass. the very last hurrah.

because i was pretty sure "my father had this girlfriend" was something i could not publish. i was pretty sure i believed it a violation of my parents' privacy.

i was thinking about all of this last tuesday morning. about how i'd really dodged a bullet, because if "my father had this girlfriend" were accepted that would've been a hard conversation to have. a tough decision to make.

i was thinking this on the morning of the tuesday night that i received notice that "my father had this girlfriend" had, in fact, been accepted for publication.

my response to the two other emails of this nature that have come across the transom has been an explosion of unadulterated joy. that was not the case with "my father had this girlfriend."

for years i've made liberal use of my family as characters. they know this and i know they have mixed emotions about it. two christmases ago, i gave my parents a massive collection of all the stories i've written about our family, but i left out one. the one i left out was "my father had this girlfriend."

the news that "my father had this girlfriend" had been accepted stirred in me an emotional response best described as a first cousin to the feeling when it dawns that you are being dumped. a fiery sensation in the cheeks followed by an immediate, tremendous need to puke.

the hard conversation i had hoped to avoid had to be had.

i call my dad and say, we need to talk. a phrase from which, in the whole of human history, nothing good has ever come.

i tell him i've written a story. i am using my best seroius grown-up voice and clearly articulating every syllable- because he has this fancy new touch screen phone on which he can't hear anything- when i tell him the story i have written is about his ex-girlfriend and it has been accepted for publication.

we talk for an additional 45 minutes about this story and myriad other things and we're just about to hang up when he says, i'm so proud of you, but i just don't know about the title. i mean, "my father had this sex girlfriend"?!?!

and i scream, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and explain.

he heaves a sigh of relief and says, OH. OH. yes, yes, publish whatever you want. that's SO much better. i mean, imagine my chagrin at having to tell your mother our daughter was writing sex stories about her dad.

26 June 2011

2 :)



“Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play… I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.”

- Oscar Wilde



24 June 2011

5 great expectations


i think the key to being happy is giving up all expectations of how your life is going to look. or maybe it's the reverse- maybe it's giving up the expectation that there's a certain way your life must look if you're to be truly happy.

either way, expectations are the problem.

i'm not rambling here. it's applicable:

i've always said i could never write a biography about a living person and i could never write about a man.

maybe i was wrong.

4 today, in things that maybe didn't really need to happen but nonetheless have



submissions welcome.

23 June 2011

4 la soirée

we're not very good at events around here. we like the idea of them, yes, but ultimately they just go down awkward. (unless there is cake. if there's cake they go good.)

last night, katie i and i went to cheeky's summer soirée. by which i mean we were at the w long enough to have one drink, hug my editors, snap some pictures, and ascertain that there was no cake and that what food was available came only in chicly small portions on plates that were astonishingly scarce and always terribly far away.

realizing that, we did what any cheeky chicks would do. we bailed and hightailed it to the thai restaurant down the street where we ate like queens and i had The HOTTEST Curry Of My Life. then, like any out-on-the-town glamor girls, we raced home so as to be in bed by 9 p.m.


3 great

finding jackie is now also luring people googling this:


5 that is not how it happened


when my mother reads my writing, she always makes a point of saying, weeeeeeelllllllllll, THAT's not how it happened. not that it's not how she remembers it, but that it's not how it happened.

we're on the phone discussing something i have written and she has already twice said THAT's not how it happened and so i change the subject. i ask if she still has the address to the place in paris with the french fries. i will need this next month.

she doesn't have the address but, as we both remember it, when you're facing notre dame, you go left and cross over to the left side of the street and halfway down the that block- 3/4s of the way down the west side of the cathedral- there's a restaurant with a cart out front. the French Fries Of Our Lives are inside there.

we fall into a trance-like state recounting this, mesmerized by the memory of those fries. (they were really good fries.)

my mum sighs and says, oh cupcake, do you remember it? i remember like it was yesterday. how we were walking by and we saw those people with their plates of fries and we said, 'we NEED those'! 

it is more than a little gratifying to say, weeeeeeelllllllllll, actually, that's not how it happened. it is downright nice to remind her that we were sitting in a random restaurant where she and my aunt made fun of me for ordering french fries. fries that were so good that they ultimately had to order their own.

22 June 2011

0 thank you, george clooney


for sparking the most profound analysis ever of a break-up.

12 alone out of the city



let's talk about traveling alone.

because i think traveling alone has gotten a bit of a bad rap. there's a whole industry of cruises and travel programs specifically developed for people traveling alone. a baffling concept given that if you are traveling in a group of people who are traveling alone, none of you are, in fact, traveling alone. which, i guess, is the whole point but, really... what's so bad about traveling alone?

traveling alone is kind of awesome.

because here's the thing about traveling alone: if i want to do the newport cliff walk in ill-advised leopard print flats... done. if i want to park really, really far away on the edge of an island and then inexplicably go to the furthest possible point on that island from where i've parked and then walk the 7 miles back to the car rather than figure out the trolley system... done. and if i want to take three showers in a day, eat a whoopie pie for dinner and fall asleep at 7:30... done!

my friends, that kind of freedom is glorious. quite possibly extremely selfish and self-centered and the foundation for future travel headaches if i ever am not traveling alone, yes, but still glorious all the same.

so now that i've rah-rahed for traveling alone, let's acknowledge the obvious downsides and then parse them for silver linings.

one: traveling alone can be a wee bit lonely. but i maintain that it's only lonely if you let it be, so the obvious solution there is this... don't let it be. if you're sitting alone in your hotel room, alone in bed, watching bad tv alone, then you will likely feel alone. but how can one possibly be worried about being alone when one is facing life and death on a cliff walk in ill-advised leopard-print flats? i tell you, one cannot.

two: omg... the romantical couples. SO. MANY. ROMANTICAL. COUPLES. how do i know this? in newport, they ALL OF THEM asked me to take their picture in front of whatever large house/fountain/tree/cliff they were standing in front of. my advice? embrace the romantical couples. you either are, have been or will one day again be one of them so you're building massive romantical couple karma and your photographic portfolio by helping them immortalize their romantical couple moments now.

three: while traveling alone can result in loads of landscape shots (ie. obviously), one ultimately winds up with no vacation pictures that aren't of the camera-in-the-outstretched-arm variety. which is never flattering and is yet another reason to befriend the romantical couples, because 1 out 3 times, a member of the romantical couple will offer to take your photograph. and you need vacation pictures, because vacation pictures are important.

case in point: had a member of a romantical couple not offered to take a picture of me in front of the chinese tea house in newport this past weekend, i might never have known that in the outfit i wore to interview the stepbrother, my bra was plainly visible.

0 cheekier

yes. 
it's what you've all been waiting for. 
cheeky women in history. 
huzzah! 
so, if you like cheeky women and/or history
scoot on over HERE.
we begin with 
the absolute most obvious choice
from (hopefully) a non-obvious angle.
please do like it and comment and tell all your friends because hey- it's jackie.


21 June 2011

2 i realize this is likely in support of gay pride

which is a lovely sentiment. 
but gosh, what an inexcusably ugly bouquet.

0 illuminating realization #2


in 1996, LIFE magazine published a full family tree of living kennedys and, after much research, i concluded patrick kennedy was the one i would marry.

this was way, way back. when all the other 3rd generation kids were in their early 40s. patrick was barely 30.

in contrast to them, he seemed impossibly glamorous. he'd had a drug problem in college. he'd first run for office at the age of 21. add to this that he boasted the only head of red hair in the family and he was precisely the type of man 15-year-old oline would've wanted given that a relationship with jfk, jr. seemed too ambitious and matthew modine was already married.

a lot has happened for me and patrick in the last 15 years. i've gotten my braces off and dated actual boys. he became a congressman and mowed down a traffic cone. i've evolved into The HOT RedHead. he is middle-aged. and while, in my heart of hearts, i knew we would never marry, i was surprised to read that he was engaged.

and this past weekend, when jackie's stepbrother told me caroline couldn't make it to his party next month because she was going to patrick's wedding, i was surprised by how sad it made me. the realization that i will never marry a kennedy. which means there must've been a part of me that really thought i would.

19 June 2011

4 newport = OH. MY. GOD. !!!!!!!!!

0 :)



“’The king died and then the queen died” is a story.” But, ‘“The king died, and then the queen died of grief’ is a plot.”
-E.M. Forster

17 June 2011

3 it is my lucky day


chicago and i've had a rough patch, what with half the people i know moving away last summer and the subsequent 10 months of winter and drear. but today the city deigned to gift us with weather so wonderful and rare that, more often than not, i have to go elsewhere to find it. and now all is well with the world.

this fact is only reenforced when i nab the last non-bruised banana from the fruit bowl in the newstand outside my office. the shorter of the two pakistani owners (both of whom long ago dubbed me "healthy girl" because i only ever visit them to procure fruit) exclaims, healthy girl gets the last banana! as though this were a race and i were the horse for whom they'd been rooting all day.

the shorter of the two pakistani owners holds the last banana aloft like a treasured relic as he goes to place it gently in the bag i have stated repeated over the years that i do not need and yet always get.

as it slides into the bag, both men sigh contemplatively, the last banana. the taller of the two repeats this just as the shorter man exclaims in a voice that seems entirely too loud for the small space we're in, it's your lucky day!

yes, i say, yes it is.

4 nearish to this date in oline history a million and one years ago


partner and i (and 30 rolls of film and 10 disposable cameras) went to europe.
we were college graduates.
we called each other partner.
we took 8,000 pictures together.
people thought we were lesbians.
looking back, i can kind of see why.

london
callais
paris
lucerne
rome
florence
venice
verona
heidelberg
munich
somewhere on the rhine
amsterdam
london again

16 June 2011

4 yusha


i'm sitting in a concrete garden between two skyscrapers when i listen to the message from the stepbrother—my hand held to my heart in shock as a voice that, thanks to two decades of jackie o documentaries, i would have recognized anywhere, comes out of my very own phone.

it is a 3 ½ minute display of old world graciousness that was, due to a bad connection, punctuated by loud bursts that i would have interpreted as gunfire had i not known he was calling from a castle in rhode island.

this was last august. before denmark and freelancing and the whole 9/20/13 plan.

we talked three more times and then i dumped him. i didn't call, didn't write, didn't do anything. because i didn't know what to do with him. i didn't know where he fit in the story i thought i was trying to tell.

that hasn't changed. i've still no idea. but i've given myself a year. i'm throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

in that spirit, i'm meeting the stepbrother in newport this weekend.

there won't even be an attempt to play it cool here so just know: everything about that sentence scares the shit out of me. that is why i have put this off for so very very long.

calling the step-brother on the phone is an ordeal so awful that i dally for whole weeks at a time before ringing him back.

our phone calls, thus far, have been epically bad. like, horrendously, hilarifyingly bad. in the made-for-tv movie treatment of Jackie: The True Story Of The (un)Making of A Book That Never Was, the scenes comprised of these phone calls are going to earn jennifer love hewitt her biggest laughs.

i speak too softly and too fast. the step-brother appears to be calling me on a walkie-talkie from the middle of an airfield that has come under enemy fire. we speak to one another as victorians not yet familiar with the cutting-edge technology of the telephone.

there's obviously enormous room for improvement here so i'm holding out hope that it'll be me and jackie's stepbrother kicking it at the castle and that we're going to be, like, totally steller communicators when we meet face-to-face. minimal hope, mind you. but hope nonetheless.

6 truth #2

15 June 2011

1 truth


6 The HOT RedHead


k.lo dropped off the disc of The Transformation pics for a thing i'm supposed to be writing for cheeky but totally am not. (theme for the last two months: Things I Am Not Writing!)

it sat on the edge of my desk all afternoon. the title, which was plainly visible, was: The HOT RedHead.

at 4:45, overlooking an empty liter of milk, a liter of water, a coffee mug (i heart beverages), various to-do lists and the picture of young oline that was used in a baby shower eight weeks ago and which i've yet to put away,  the old man said, caroline, caroline, what is this, caroline?

without even thinking, i responded: porn.

14 June 2011

5 la la la

1 you should

read dougo's pitchfork-esque reviews of the 50 states.
because it is awesome
and tennessee is "the scandalous bangle."

6 my parents have cancelled their landline


my parents have cancelled their landline.

the upshot is that i get to pick who's going to answer the phone. as a control freak, i love that.

the downside is that i get to pick who i'm calling. which is problematic because i do not like hurt feelings. i do not want to choose.

my parents have cancelled their land line and, suddenly, i am nostalgic about the most ridiculous things. i mourn for the fact that my parents can no longer get on the phone at the same time.

with the total loss of my russian language skills, this practice was the enduring legacy of the one summer semester i spent at cornell. a holdover of an earlier age in which long-distance was prohibitively expensive and we had absolutely no minutes to spare.

in recent years, we no longer spoke under such constraints, but that did not put an end to the party line. when i called home, my parents hopped on the line together. my father would be sitting in his library with my mother one room over and, invariably, much of the conversation would be devoted to an in-depth discussion of what they should do about dinner while i waited- sometimes patiently, most times not- on the other end.

for years i have detested this habit. now that it is impossible, i grieve its end.

my parents have cancelled their landline. they now have separate phones. this seems one step removed from separate beds and two steps away from divorce.

it's just us three. my father, my mum and me. three is a tricky number. a number easily lent to conspiracies and favorites and shifting allegiance.

accordingly, we are all three of us fearfully afraid of being left out, of there being fun had without us. we must always each have our say. we must be all three or on our own. never ever two against one.

as i struck out on my own and my relationships with each parent evolved, this family-wide insecurity of left-outed-ness was vividly evident in our telephonic encounters. namely, if my father and i were speaking on the phone, my mum would inevitably jump in.

she wouldn't acknowledge her presence, wouldn't say a word. were it not for my finely honed listening skills, which- after a decade of her doing this- were able to detect the tiny click that ran down the line, i wouldn't have even known she was there. you had to listen really hard to catch it. the subtle shift in volume indicative that either the KGB'd tuned in or my mother was on the phone.

my parents have cancelled their landline. they have separate phones. i have to pick who i'm going to call. i have to pick one or the other. it is two against one. i am bereft.

13 June 2011

0 monday


1 "cooking"



(1) i don't cook.*
(2) i don't get 8 hours of sleep.
(3) i need to save money.

in examining the many aspects within this situation that are not ideal, i arrived at the notion that i maybe needed to nix the first one and, just for the very immediate right now, be a girl who cooks, if only in the throwing-things-in-a-pan sense. as an extreme money-saving, healthifying measure for the next month and also to slim down a pantry that's freaking filled with bags of beans.

in being a girl who "cooks" (and yes, scare quotes are vital), i've discovered this:

1 bag of lentils.
1 can fava beans.
1/2 a bag of frozen corn.
1/2 a bag of frozen edamame.
an entire bottle of organic salsa.
a shit-ton (approx 1 tbsp) of garlic.
a shit-ton (approx 3 tbsp) of cajun seasoning.
a shit-ton (approx 5-8 tbsp) of curry powder.

=AWESOME.**


*except for men, which is a whole other issue we will not be going into at this time.

** admittedly, no one will ever want to kiss you, but damn, it is good.

3 young oline, fined


{trans.: Mommy is being mean. Now every time I burp I have to give her $5.00. That makes me sick. I hope she knows it came out of what was going to be her Christmas present. That really makes me mad. I was in a good mood until this happened. She better enjoy that money.}

12 June 2011

3 :)

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
-- Marilyn Monroe



09 June 2011

2 hot damn


yesterday- when, if you're in chicago you'll remember, it was literally 8 bazillion degrees out and the only headline the red eye could muster was a plaintive "hot damn"- i braved my first bikram class.

i've wanted to do bikram for upwards of eight years now. but it's been something to which my first response is an oh, i really want to do that, followed by a but it's too scary. because, y'know, 105° room... that be's kind of frightful.

but having survived flying that teeny deathtrap of a plane on the windiest day in recorded chicago history, i realize but it's too scary is no longer a valid excuse. so i bought the unlimited, reduced-rate one month and signed up for my first bikram class.

fyi, in the three hours of sheer panic preceding your first bikram class, it's best to drink a lot of water and to avoid reading bikram class reviews posted by people online. just saying.

as for the bikram itself... I SURVIVED. and, in a pursuit where one's ability to remain in the room the entire 90 minutes of class time is considered the only criterion needed to render one's first visit an overwhelming success, i was overwhelmingly successful.

all that to say something that's been said a million times by people more articulate than me, but still bears repeating: that if there's something you want to do and it's scary, you should do it nonetheless. bikram was scary. and hot. and gross. and at one point my legs were running with so much sweat that i wondered if they were weeping. but still, it was awesome. and i'm addicted.