27 June 2014

0 um...

i feel like the moral of butterfield 8 is the same as the moral of identity, which is: WHORES DON'T GET A SECOND CHANCE.

that said, ET = UH-MAZING, as usual. 

and, oh yeah, my mum's tip on avoiding sexual harassment on the train by simply getting off and moving to another car came in handy today when a man who smelled so bad i couldn't breathe sat next to me on the tube... are people so busy watching the world cup and wimbledon they've forgotten to bathe??? 

25 June 2014

0 help!

dear people, i'm trying to collect empirical data for the jackie book... if you know any american women aged 60+, forward this link along to them pretty please? xx

0 dream, dream, dream

last night i dreamed about steinem.

actually, i dreamed that i just dropped in to see her (she lived in my apartment, wtf?!) and she made me a cup of coffee. and i told her, you make the best coffee, and she laughed. (she does make the best coffee.)

it's a small thing and yet provocative.

jackie's showed up twice (was it twice or thrice? i only remember 2 but i think it was 3) in my dreams in the last 20 years. she's always distant, cold. most of what i remember about the dreams is either the anticipation of her arrival or the instant after her departure. her actual presence has never been what the dream has been about.

in contrast, i interviewed steinem a month ago and already she's shown up. in an entirely different way as well.

is this the difference in meeting people versus seeing them from afar? does it change the dreams you have about them? the relationship you have with them in your dream-life?

it's not only conceivable that steinem could make me coffee for me, steinem DID make me coffee. so the dream wasn't just possible but a recurrence of something that has happened in real life.

it's also not too surprising that the dream would revolve around her making of coffee as that's how i've narrativized the experience. when people ask, what was she like? i say, she made incredible coffee.

because it's a good detail.

and because it humanizes her and- to some extent- me.

saying that steinem makes incredible coffee is, for me, a way of showing i've not got the big head. when i say that steinem makes good coffee, i'm trying to deflate people's expectations- both of her grandness and my own. (though, i realize, it could just as easily be interpreted as my being entirely too casual about a meeting with an american icon. because how incredibly braggy did it seem in the first paragraph here where i parenthetically testified to her coffee-making skills? and how incredibly reductive that, in coping with this brush with celebrity, i have to confine it to the realm of the preparation of caffeinated beverages? true story: she made me coffee because she could tell i was nervous, because i was.)

never mind that i'd not thought about her once yesterday, there she was.

but is that a lie? am i not always now thinking about her because her comments on public life have become integral to the way i see celebrity?? is she not now scattered helter-skelter throughout all of my notes? whether i realize it or not, it seems i now see steinem all the time...

24 June 2014

23 June 2014

0 bahahahahaaaaa

as lindear captioned this: "do not reach for the crown in the bucket with a bloody hand."
which may be my new life motto.

0 ghost

when we were having drinks the other week, the evening of the afternoon of the emotional kaboom that was my upgrade, somehow the conversation turned to ghosts. i'm not even entirely sure how. but at one point a friend turned to me and asked, do you believe in ghosts? and i said, no. quite firmly, definitely, because i don't.

at the opening keynote of the celebrity conference i've been at for the last four days, they played this:

and it was great and it was wonderful and it really emphasized the fact that celebrities can made us FEEL. these were the only five minutes of the keynote where i wasn't aware of the uncomfortable wooden pew necessitating a re-situating of my spine against the back so my bra clasp wouldn't grind into my skin.

i don't know if it came during or in the after. the need to discuss this video- this appearance of greta gerwig with arcade fire directed by spike jonze at an awards show last year- with donovan. i only know that by friday morning that need was very, very great.

this is the thing about loss, the thing i'm trying to somehow get into the jackiebook. the fact that it is a rolling wave come to get you. on random days, in random things, for no reason at all, suddenly there it is, so near.

it's not a presence, but an absence. though i wonder if this is where ghosts come in. because it's astonishing how close they come: presence and absence. is it just mistaking as present that which is gone?

20 June 2014

0 um... ha

so i'm in a book. and apparently it's been released. kinda not how i imagined being in a book would feel. convenient though that the discovery of this book's release was made whilst i was with another person who's in it so we could celebrate with a cafeteria lunch at the celebrity conference. 

also they've changed the title since we all put this forthcoming business on our CVs. here i thought i was searching for authenticity when really it was the real... something i'm quite sure we're doomed to never find. 

18 June 2014

0 remember when

summer was an actual restful thing? RIGHT?!

i mean, it was. i'm not making this up. for weeks on end, especially before high school and that crazy concept of summer reading, there would be absolutely nothing to do.

except maybe laze about on the lawn sunning with a book or doing something with burvil.

what i really remember is the weeks i'd spend at joe and burvil's while we lived in atlanta. those three summers we were in atlanta, in particular, because the drama was so heightened by the fact that i was ten or eleven, that i'd gotten my period, that my parents were eight whole hours away, and that i was separated from my mother for THREE WHOLE WEEKS and we could only speak every other night because it was long-distance. the phone was rotary, fyi.

(please, let's marvel that so many details of the above no longer exist.)

it's amazing, just writing this, the nearness of feeling. as though there are these moments locked within us and if you'll just take the time to put down a hundred words about them, every single sensation of some connected, deeply banal scene will come flooding back.

the nubbiness of a reclining chair. the cool of the air conditioning. the chill on bare legs. the hot air that rushed in when, after thirty minutes of yard work, burvil would open the back door and come back in the house, her skin radiating the heat, smelling of grass and sweat and ivory and white rain. and curled up in my coolness, every day i would say the same thing. gran, you smell like outside. and she would smile and put her warm hand on my cold one and, as she walked into the kitchen and my eyes returned to the TV, i would slip into my mouth another of the vanilla wafers from the cache secreted away in the pocket of my grandfather's tattered reclining chair.

all that just because i sat down to write a post about how summer is so busy now that i've not had much chance to blog...

17 June 2014

0 well this is making me question my existence

and would we really call far and away a movie for hopeless romantics?
isn't it more about the violence and ultimate triumph of the american dream?

16 June 2014

0 FJ: totally random gossip nostalgia trip: tom cruise + nicole kidman edition

so it was a long week and i’d an ear infection and wound up spending the majority of saturday in a swoon state watching far and away. which reminded me why i heart tommy cruise and why tommy cruise and nicole kidman were my celebrity couple ideal. Continue reading 

11 June 2014

0 whew

so this week basically boils down to ear infection : conference : ear infection : conference : UPGRADE.

on friday, the 13th no less.

in between the conferences, i've been writing like a maniac and watching tom cruise movies. the two are not connected. oh and waiting in doctors offices. there's been a bunch 'o that.

i hate to give into stereotypes but, dear britain. effective your ear drops may be but damn your doctors are sloooooooooooooow.

as are your keynote speakers.

at one of the conferences, the last keynote was pretty much our vietnam (surely it goes without saying that i mean the academic equivalent rather than its being actually warlike?). from the moment the speaker opened his mouth, my friend and i understood nothing. then he spoke 15 minutes longer than planned, meaning the question time (which only encouraged the saying of more things we couldn't understand!!) ran into the wine reception.

merciful heavens. to stall the drinking of pre-paid wine for such obfuscation. for shame.

god, this makes me sound so complainy. i swear i'm not. i've just not written much that's not jackie and so this is sort of the post-conference pent-up word vomit coming out. it's not my true self, promise!

rather, it's my true self with the smiling and eagerness to meet siphoned off. because the schedule of talks/coffee/talks/coffee/talks/coffee/talktalk/wine is a bizarrely grueling one, no? all that wanting to talk to the people you know but knowing you need to network. all that smiling. all the I AM SO INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU ARE SAYING RIGHTNOW

face. for real, by 3 p.m. it was a fucking delight to just go into the bathroom stall and frown.

these are massive luxuries, i know. to be in a place where they give you coffee and let you talk about theatre and graphic novels and first ladies and sex lives and life-writing and marcel duchamp. but it's easy to see how academics could become so... um... academic. our conference was all about context and so the punchline here is an obvious one... context. it's key.

0 the imagined dialogue is beguiling

06 June 2014

04 June 2014

0 holy smokes

so it seems as though, out of the last month of Total Madness, things are brewing. which is exciting and awesome and also kind of makes me want to take to my bed and do nothing but apply calming face masks and watch the star wars trilogy. which has actually been an option for the last two nights and totally won't be after that. 

this is, in part, because i have had the most horrible revelation. 

scratch that. there are far more horrible things that could've been revealed. but, in my little carefully controlled world of books and newspapers and writing and archives and occasionally talking to 90 year old strangers, it's kind of a big deal. this revelation. 

it is this:

no. wait. i'ma tell a story. 

i was talking to debo this morning and she said, so is this it? is it like in pinocchio when he becomes a real boy? 

fyi, mothers: when your child's had a life-long insecurity about her nose and fears being mistaken for disingenuous, upon the potential happening of a huge, big deal in her life, do try not to liken her to a lying wooden boy with a schnoz. 

debo said this and suddenly it became so clear why i've felt so frayed in the last few days.

i have realized it is not yet over. 

that sounds silly. let me clarify. 

no, let me use a simile. 

it is like you run a marathon. and then, as you near the end, you realize what you're in is actually a triathlon. and it is like oh.my.god. you want me to swim?! 

bad metaphor, because maybe it's actually more like running a marathon and then being asked to run 10 more miles in water. maybe that's what it's like. i dunno. 

all's i know is no, i am not a real boy yet. but i'm getting closer... which exhausting and terrifying and very very good. 

02 June 2014

0 FJ: a vitally necessary, terribly belated analysis of what sad keanu might mean

how have we never talked about sad keanu??

3 as a little girl i always played first lady, never president

a regrettable, albeit understandable, failure of imagination.

sally ride went into space so i knew i could do that. but, as the president was never a woman, the best i could hope was to be his wife.

when i started reading about jackie's life it was partly because she wasn't stupid but had learned to sublimate her smarts. an essential, or so it seemed to me, life skill.

a teacher had once forbidden me from talking in class or raising my hand. it was, she said, more important that the boys should learn.

when i kept talking, she took me to the principal's office and made me call my grandmother and confess to her that i was being a naughty girl. (my gran- my savior- told me she loved me and that i could anticipate a huge hug after school.)

the girls were separated from the boys and taken to a neighboring classroom where we were shown slides of naked women, told we would begin bleeding at any moment and that it was our job to thwart the advances of boys from then on.

(the boys, they informed us later in whispers, watched an episode of teenaged mutant ninja turtles and ate snacks sent by someone's mother.)

when i was learning to drive, the instructor told all the girls in the class to always look under their cars to make sure a lurker wasn't hiding beneath and to carry the car key between the knuckles of the index and middle fingers of their right hands, so they could wield it like a knife blade in case of attack.

15 years later, walking in chicago at night, i'd be halfway home before i'd notice that, in my coat pocket, my house key had found its way between the knuckles of the index and middle fingers of my right hand and was waiting, like a blade.

i wasn't a feminist because i thought feminism meant burning bras and being angry. people would say, oh of course you're a feminist and i'd pooh-pooh it, trilling, oh no no, i wear dresses and lipstick and am a whimsical, jubilant girl. i buy my bras at h+m.

i wasn't an idiot, but i was ignorant.

truth is, i didn't know what feminism was.

didn't know it meant that we are all equal.

that i didn't know makes me angry.

as does the fact that so many still don't.

this is called "the click", i believe. the moment that, as a woman, you realize that being a woman means something.

it means that there are fewer representations of you in the government and in business. fewer people like you being interviewed on television or in the papers. fewer "experts" of your gender.

it is the moment you realize that the television network whose programming most accurately reflects the gender make-up of your country is the CW.

that when movies you can relate to are released, they will be called "chick flicks." that if you're a female writer writing a book with a female protagonist, the book you write will be "chick lit." that if you have a blog where you write about your life, you are "a lady blogger."

"the click" is the moment you realize you will never ever be a writer. you will always be a "woman writer." and the book you eventually publish will likely be covered in the color pink.

were i forced to point to a particular moment and say "that was the click right there" it would be when i got a pixie and my employer, when i asked him to be patient while i collected some information essential to my doing my job, commented that i'd become an assertive dyke in the 12 hours since i'd gotten my hair cut.

soon after, i was in the street crying on the telephone to my mother, who told me how she'd once been propositioned by a colleague, and it was like an alternate universe to which i'd been willfully blind came into sudden full and horrifying view.

the problem with "the click" is that once you see, you can't un-see. and once you've seen, so much looks unutterably gross.

because it isn't right.

it isn't right that, after a day spent in the jfk library, while i was on the phone with my mother, a random dude on the street whose compliments i failed to appreciate told me i shouldn't go out "looking like that" if i didn't want men to comment. (by which he meant wearing riding boots??)

or that, at a cafe, someone asked my friend nina whether she was married and whether or not she could have children.

it isn't right that someone i'd considered a mentor recently asked if i would help him "continue his line."

or that so many women i know have had uncomfortable episodes on public transit where they were touched or verbally harassed.

this is not right. it is not alright. nor is the silence these things provoke. present in the very fact that i wrote this to go on my "professional" website then wasn't brave enough to put it there.

i've never had a boss who didn't comment on my looks.

and yet there is a fear in writing that down, in writing it now. the sense that it is safer to stay silent than risk that they'll see, that i'll get in trouble, that i will be seen as being in the wrong for writing about a wrong.

(it's hard not to apologize. so incredibly difficult to refrain from calling people to account with an opening salvo of "i'm sorry but...")