Sundry thoughts, observations, and writings.


Ceci n’est pas un blog

Sharon Tate by Otto Stupakoff for Harper’s Bazaar, 1967

Sharon Tate by Otto Stupakoff for Harper’s Bazaar, 1967

family tradition

I can’t open a browser these days without seeing that Atlantic piece about millennials who drink less. I haven’t read it; I don’t really want to read it. You can here. But lord if I don’t depend on alcohol as the World’s Largest Crutch. Lord if I don’t feel an acidic white wine hit my throat at the end of a long day and feel like Jesus loosening the stone off his own tomb, striding out of death not like Veronica in Heathers but like this lady. I hear that in blogging, you’re allowed to use telescoping metaphors. In a way, this is an Easter story.

But unlike Jesus, whose brain seemed to process the world’s horrors with aplomb, mine encounters pretty much any stimuli and freaks. My mom’s in town so we can go to a cat convention in Asbury Park this weekend, and at dinner last night, I described to her how 95% of the time, I down a half bottle of picpoul and wind up relaxed and pajamaed by 10pm, and then 5% of the time, I keep going until 2, plowing through the bottle plus whatever else I find, and wind up crying on the floor, talking about how I want to die. Glamorous? Absolutely not. Charming? Absolutely not. Normal? Jury’s out, but I’m going to say no.

I vacillate between self-criticism and forgiveness. Every time I’ve been admitted to a hospital for mental health, my blood alcohol’s been more than 0. Then again, some of the best days of my life were in cities or on beaches, nursing a painkiller or a gose before setting off on foot to something marvelous. “I recognize that mentally ill people use it to self-medicate,” I said, and Mom replied, “Everyone uses it to self-medicate.” TRUE! Alcohol is just another yardstick I can use to map my life, like albums or favorite garments. The Rumours years, the summer I only wore the jeans with the star on the butt, my first winter in New York surviving on tequila and soda. To excise it feels no less extreme than abstaining from, say, cheese; but cheese doesn’t make me want to kill myself. Capitalism often does. Horrible people on trains often do. My own self-criticism and the accomplishments I can’t quite reach often do. But I can’t quit those, and I can quit booze, so here we are.

This means I’m creeping ever closer to either XstraightXedgeX or spinsterdom, both of which might suit me with a few adjustments. We’re talking no meat, no cigarettes, no drankin’, plenty of Metal Mondays spin classes and cats. Lots and lots of cats. At least for the foreseeable future, which I am terrified as ever to look into, but sober enough to stare down from an upright position.

Here’s a playlist I made recently, if you like the 70s, 80s, and their modern derivatives.

I was Yee Hawing before y’all were Yee Yee’ing.

I was Yee Hawing before y’all were Yee Yee’ing.

last night a dj saved my life

He wasn’t a DJ, per se. He was my therapist, per se. And as we discussed the limitations of capitalism and power, a certain theme emerged: so much of the work I want to create just doesn’t get made, because clicks and audience and editorial vision don’t align. Perhaps the things I want to cover aren’t the things people want to read, or, equally as likely, aren’t the things editors think people want to read. Or perhaps, because the landscape is constantly changing, there isn’t a venue that exists where I can discuss disco, cats, leftist politics, the geography of the American West, and Moon Pies at the same time. So: y’all’s loss, legacy magazines! Y’all’s gain, weird internet!

This is a space where I plan on dropping whatever the market rejects (and the market rejects a lot. Freelancing is like throwing a handful of darts across a football field and hoping one hits the board). It’s also a space where I might obnoxiously quote dead Russian poets, or update you on my fidelity to my vitamin delivery service. I have considered doing a weekly round-up of “things I’d like to write about, if someone took my pitch,” and then we can see if, like my travelogue of Martinique, the New York Times publishes the exact thing for which I received no reply a month later (still salty).

Another recurring theme is my thrall to established structures and processes. I pulled out the word “functional fixedness” and felt incredibly proud of once acing AP Psychology (the thrill of a 4! Inimitable, especially when it saves you a college credit!). I am functionally fixed—highly resistant to moving outside the existing systems that validate and commission creative work. So what if I wrested that “control” into my “own” “hands”, in the form of a demonetized website engineered entirely by someone who needs a YouTube tutorial to do anything on Squarespace? I don’t know, seems powerful.

I’m currently accepting sponsorships from iced green tea distributors, insulin manufacturers, and vintage clothiers. If you have something free to give me, I will almost certainly take it. I will photograph your product with my iPhone 4S in dim office lighting and tweet it to my following of writers, bots, and cute animal accounts.

How do you finish a blog post? Like this, I guess.