The Famous Writer

February 4th, 2016

famous writer

Late in 2012, I became Facebook friends with a famous writer. I considered him one of the most talented writers around, a truly unique and brilliant voice. His novels are dark and disturbing but also hilarious.

He not only accepted my friend request, but he sent me a message to say he liked my blog. It was like being blessed by the Pope, only better.

We started to write messages back and forth and exchanged email addresses, We shared a depressed but cynically amused world view and had many of the same literary heroes. We even shared a love/hate relationship with weightlifting.

We decided to talk on the phone. I loved his deep voice and I loved his ideas. Here he was, a living god, and he seemed to really enjoy talking to me.

Our conversations weren’t sexual or even suggestive, but it was like a love affair based on a mutual sensibility. That’s how I saw it.

We talked about suicide and his experience helping a deeply depressed friend. I told him that I was struggling, and his insights were comforting and useful.

He told me about a crazy girlfriend who had shattered his belief in his own judgement. She had bailed on him without warning and married some other guy. I agreed with his diagnosis of her and we spent many hours going over the awfulness of dealing with Borderline Personality Disorders.

We talked about the reasons I haven’t tried to tackle a serious writing project. He encouraged me to take the plunge despite my fear of failure and all the usual bullshit that people who can’t write a novel like to use as excuses for their lack of effort or talent.

Then, he offered to be my writing mentor.

It was like a beautiful dream where everything you ever wanted plots right into your lap! I was beside myself with excitement. And even hope. Now I would write something long, something that needed to be expressed in words, in order to both ensure my sanity and justify my worthless existence.

I started to write the story of Max.

I started with the end and worked backwards. I recounted every detail, trying to capture everything. the terror and shock and grief and remorse and most of all the love.

I sent him the six pages and he was supportive, although not exactly bowled over. He reminded me that you can’t just report things, even in a memoir. You have to create a whole world.

And then he disappeared.

He didn’t respond to my phone messages or emails. There was only silence.

I began to worry that he thought I was a stalker, that’s how many messages I left. I became paranoid, wondering if someone had turned him against me. I regretted writing the six pages of complete shit. How dare I have such an inflated opinion of myself to try to write something that mattered!

Then he reappeared. He was sorry about the long silence but things had been rough. However, now he had exciting news. He was deliriously in love with a much younger women but everything was perfect. She was incredibly talented and beautiful and was about to move in with him. They had only just become lovers but they were picking out name for their children. He would support her while she wrote her masterpiece. I think he even gave her a diamond ring.

I was stunned by his story, especially after the long silence. I tried to be happy for him even though I was pretty sure the romance would end badly for him. After another long silence, he called me to let me know that she’d disappeared. She left the ring but took the high-end clothes he bought for her.

We laughed about the clothes. I felt terrible for him. Two crazy girlfriends in a row, and I mean crazy.

Then he disappeared again. And I decided to forget about him. Maybe he was like my own crazy girlfriend, the one whose red flags I refused to notice.

I didn’t try to finish the Max story. I guess it’s a story to carry in my heart until I see him again.

First Wordist Manifesto of 2016: Voracious

January 23rd, 2016

the marriage feast

In the last few days, my sensitivity to words has been causing problems at home. It’s like a chronic low-grade illness that sometimes becomes acute.

I was starting to read an essay on millennials when the word ‘peruse’ caused me to make a snap judgement: Anyone who would use the word ‘peruse’, in the first paragraph no less, was not worth my time.

I brought this up to my husband, who saw no reason to react to ‘peruse.’

It’s hard for me to accept that some people just don’t care about words that much. Probably most people. It’s such a real, visceral response for me when a word is used poorly or is just intrinsically awful, like peruse.

Some words just make me cringe, even though they are apparently harmless to others. But peruse, come on! There’s just no reason to use it unless you’re deliberately trying to sound stupid. It’s like using ‘loquacious’ when you could just say ‘talkative.’ Or using ‘sans’ for ‘without.’

I wanted to think of a term for this category of annoying words that connote an effort to sound smart. I have only come up with ‘bourgeois’ but I’m hoping for something better.

Meanwhile, someone on the radio yesterday said this about some guy who died:

He was a voracious joke-teller.

My brain went AAAAAAAAAAAAH.

You can’t be a voracious joke-teller, I complained. Maybe the guy was an inveterate joke-teller. Voracious implies an appetite or hunger. It’s bad enough that people always use the cliche ‘voracious reader’ but at least it is used correctly.

I could not get agreement from my husband so I turned to my nephew, a wordist of the highest order. He suggested ‘avid’ for the joke-teller.

Genius, right? Meanwhile, my husband and I retreated into our separate worlds of not caring and caring obsessively about voracious joke telling.

I turned to the Oxford Dictionary online to soothe my nerves.

Definition of voracious in English:
adjective
Wanting or devouring great quantities of food
he had a voracious appetite

Voracious implies something you can take in or ingest, then.  So you can’t be a voracious singer, duh.

But then, there is a second definition:  Having a very eager approach to an activity.  The example given is his voracious reading of literature. Elsewhere I found the example he was a voracious collector.

I’m going to stick to my guns about voracious joke-telling. It is an improper use of a word that was employed just to sound smart but ended up making me furious, but not as furious as those who are sick of my fucking wordist nitpicking.

If you have perused this whole rant, kindly opine on my condition whilst I consider upping my meds.

Cheers.

*extra points if that ‘Cheers’ put you over the top

Fuck!

January 18th, 2016

jesus wept again

What an awful week.

I have been struggling with the shock of losing David Bowie and its attendant triggers, and then the more prosaic helpless rage of dealing with my malfunctioning website that some fucker has been trying to hack.

I can’t add anything to the many beautiful words already written about David Bowie and his impact on music and culture. Lots of us feel the loss so personally that it has permeated everything…I am playing his music in my head every day. I am thinking about what it means to face death when you don’t welcome it. A new and heartbreaking perspective for me.

I can’t handle it. I can’t dwell in this sadness without going under so I am turning to hate.

Want to join me?

If you too are having an awful week for whatever reason, I invite you to redirect yourself to the cleansing joy of righteous disdain if not downright hatred.

I could not have discovered this awful girl at a better time!

Her name is Jessica Gebhart and she is featured in a video series called Denim Dudes.

Stop what you’re doing and watch this 35 second video. It is heaven. It will take your breath away.

Thank you Jessica, you are a fucking gift from god and I hate the ground you walk on! Never leave me.

What Is The Word For Donald Trump?

December 23rd, 2015

donald-trump

The schlonging finally got me.

It’s just too much. The schlonging and the taunt about Hillary Clinton going to the bathroom. The Wall Street Journal calls it ‘potty talk.’

Potty Talk, from a Presidential candidate???

How can we take this, every day, more and more, and still feel like decent human beings? Or even semi-decent?

Every politician and news person who doesn’t object to this shit is complicit somehow.

They need to stand up as one and say, “SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU MORON!”

The immigrant hating, woman fearing, lying, egotistical stupidity is part of it but not all.

It’s like there’s a hidden factor that elevates Donald Trump from a standard cunt to an actual monster.

What is it, and is it the ‘secret’ to his appeal?

I don’t think his appeal is a mystery actually, it’s just the number of Americans who respond to infantile stupidity that comes as a surprise to the rest of us. We’d like to think that racist, hate-filled, drooling cretins are a small minority, but no. Trump is like a mirror of their own ignorance and repulsiveness, and they are mesmerized by the reflection.

The schlonging sent me looking for Yiddish words to throw back at him but nothing seems adequate to describe how deeply objectionable this cunt is.

‘Traif’ is the best I could come up with, but now I’ve discovered ‘vyzoso,’ a Yiddish word that means both idiot and penis!

If you know a better word, in any language, please, let’s hear it.

First World Problems

December 13th, 2015

converse nope

Let me start by telling you how mad I am that I can’t have a pair of limited edition Converse sneakers with little lions on them.

I wish I’d never seen these fucking shoes but unfortunately for me, I subscribe to a couple of fashion sites for cutting edge men’s street-wear. If you recall, I am a gay man in a woman’s body.

A few months ago, one of these sites showed me an overpriced Japanese jacket meant to look like a souvenir jacket from Korea or Vietnam, the kind with embroidered tigers and maps on them. When the jacket sold out, I was mad that I’d passed it up.

So the Converse shoes reminded me of the jacket and even better, they were affordable. But they were sold out everywhere by the time I clicked on the email. The more unattainable they are, the more they promise the key to perfect happiness.

But just a few days earlier, I was horrified to learn that the Rihanna Puma Creepers I already have in black were released in pink. How could this happen without me being notified?? I found out from a girl in the mall who was showing me some cheap make-up, and she must have been amazed that a 62 year old woman wanted those fucking shoes as much as she did, if not more. We bonded in our sense of thwarted desire.

After a tense search of the entire internet, I found a pair on eBay. Problem solved.

But not really. Not at all.

This obsession and longing for material goods is the foundation of our economy but it serves a deeper purpose, for me, anyway.

It’s the ultimate First World Problem, in that it masks other First World Problems that I simply can’t handle.

Those problems are grief and loss. They are persistent like a toothache. I can’t bear the reality of them, and when I can’t distract myself with more superficial problems, I have to take myself to bed. When I take myself to bed, I know I would give anything to not wake up, but just blotting out a few hours usually gets me through the worst of it.

Last year, I became Facebook friends with a guru from Tibet. I liked his wisdom and his sense of humor. So I asked him how to cope with grief. When I told him that I’d lost a son, he replied that mortality was high in Tibet; families are used to losing children.

I felt he was chastising me but perhaps he was merely being factual.

Why was I making a big deal over my loss? Families in Tibet lose a child but still have to worry about typhoons and lack of plumbing and hunger and disease. They expect life to be hard and it is.

The guru directed me to a philosophy than might help to redirect me but like everything else I have tried, it was a hurdle beyond my capacity. Mindfulness, Dialectic Behavior Therapy, Tonglen, support groups, grief studies, Radical Acceptance, nothing matches the force of this unspeakable grief and loss.

I have spent most of my life saving baby teeth, book reports, handmade crafts, mother’s day cards, school photos, birthday party photos, baseball cards, rock collections, and I have lovingly organized them or displayed them.

I have boxes of Christmas ornaments, many hand made by my sons, but no sons to hang them on a tree or to open presents with.

Christmas will pass, so the sense of deprivation will be less acute but it will take a lot of limited edition sneakers to pull me away from the fucking abyss.

In Chennai, India, there is historic flooding, the worst in 100 years. Three million people are without basic services and 269 people have died in this epic disaster. I can’t imagine how desperate these people must feel because I only know First World Problems.

Feeling ambivalent about living is a First World Problem, and I guess I’ll have to wrestle with it in my White Privileged manner, wearing my pink Pumas if they ever show up.

Thankful Or Not

November 30th, 2015

tom turkey small

I have been struggling with inertia, feelings of hopelessness, and general apathy. Thanksgiving made me aware of my resistance to the whole idea of being thankful.

Why do we have to be thankful on demand? Why can’t we just wallow in bitterness and despair?

My Thanksgiving turned out to be a happy one, by the grace of friends who cook and play guitar. I even made a festive centerpiece. But three days later, I’m still coming across lists of Things To Be Thankful For. I just found one with a full 100 things that some idiot or group of idiots managed to compile.

Number 1 is :

Your health- because it’s one thing that you should never take for granted.

Really? I thought health was the thing you turn to when you can’t think of any other reason to be grateful, a last resort and kind of a bitter pill. “At least you’ve got your health.”

Number 4 is “scented candles”. Hahahaha! Jesus. In my world, that would come right after paved roads.

“Friends” come in at Number 15. Oh well.

Number 32 is “Free Shipping.” LOL!  Actually, free shipping is a good one, I’m going to make it number 10 in my personal hierarchy of gratitude.

Number 65 is:

A cup of really good coffee.

Clearly these philistines know nothing about coffee.

Number 85 = Hummus. Whereas “Art” is Number 91.

I have to admit this list gave me some good laughs, so I need to put “stupid lists” in my top ten. Let me change my mind about the Thankfulness thing and offer a list of my own. I hope it’s clear that I’m making all this up as I write, okay?

1. Love
2. Art
3. Music
4. Coffee
5. Chocolate
6. Dogs
7. ???
8. ???
9. Stupid lists
10. Free shipping.

Anyone want to share their own top ten? Or to fill in my seven and eight?

 

 

How Much Less Could You Not Care?

October 23rd, 2015

back_to_the_future-poster

It just occurred to me that too many people online are mentioning Back To The Future. Maybe they’re making a sequel or prequel.

I actually love the term origin story, which I just learned this week. I love it because it’s stupid and pretentious and somehow millennial.  It’s the new way to say prequel as if that term wasn’t hard enough to get used to.

Anyway, Back To The Future was a great film at the time and my kid adored it. We saw it several times.

Now it is 2015 and I could not give a shit about Back To The Future on any level. I don’t care what the original cast is doing or what the remake or prequel or origin story is about. I’ve been done with it for years and years.

Likewise Star Wars. Could not care less. Literally. But too bad for me, because I am doomed to hear about it forever and ever. If I could not have to see the words Carrie Fisher even, I would consider it a small gift from the universe.

I’m through hearing about rape culture or anything remotely related to it. I get it, but I still don’t care. I’m through hearing about how Jennifer Lawrence didn’t get enough money. “Women in Hollywood,” I’m through hearing about your problems. I just don’t care.

Are you finding that your culture is obsessed with stuff you could not care less about? Even if it has gone viral (or especially if it has gone viral?)

Let me know what it is. Please share!

But just one more thing before I forget: How much do you not care about what happened on the Jimmy Fallon show last night? Why do we have to hear about it? Wouldn’t we have watched it when it was on, if we gave a shit about it? I don’t watch it expressly for the purpose of not knowing what was on it!

Christ!

Okay, now you.

The Gucci Dead Animal Shoe, $15,000

October 14th, 2015

gucci shoe 15,000A sharp-eyed reader sent me to this shoe, which looks like it’s trying to run away.

Run, Gucci goat-hair slipper, run as fast as you can!

You know what, the poor thing is dead. Too late.

[These} slippers are one of the most talked-about designs from Alessandro Michele’s debut runway collection. They’re finished with the label’s signature gold horsebit, nestled in the floor-sweeping honey-colored strands that also line the shoe.

The floor-sweeping honey-colored strands of a dead goat is what I see here but let’s try another view.

gucci shoes ew

Now, with feet inside, you can see how these little critters will keep you company all day long, with floaty dresses as well as casual jeans, according to the editor’s styling tips. If they start to get smelly, just blame the goats. If your friends and associates don’t gasp in envy at your edgy taxidermy-driven style, you can show them your receipt for $15,000 and say. “Now what, bitch?”

Sadly, that figure is Hong Kong dollars, so in fact the price is a bargain at only around $1,900 USD.

In France or Russia, these shoes might have sparked a revolution. Here in the US, we just roll our eyes and go off to bed with murder in our hearts.

Is Your Pubic Hair Silky?

October 12th, 2015

fur oil

Three young women noticed a vacuum in the marketplace for pubic hair grooming products, and voila! They formed a company to right that wrong, called Fur.

Because money.

Wait, I’m so sorry, I meant to say, because why shouldn’t we take care of our pubic hair like we take care of the hair on our heads? That is their thinking, apparently.

If only they had asked me that question, I would’ve answered, “Because our public hair is not scorched by styling tools, dye, sun and wind!” And because public has it’s own texture: that’s why they call it pubic hair.

Anyway, who needs common sense where grooming products are concerned, right? If you can be made to feel insecure or inadequate about any area of your body, you will consider buying a product. Let’s say your heels aren’t baby-smooth. You’ll buy one of those egg-shaped things to scrape away at your heels until they’re ready to diaper.

So, the creators of Fur realized that women are moving away from waxing, although according to Fashionista, that doesn’t mean “going totally 70’s.”

I mean, god no. The 70’s were like the fucking National Geographic, with all that public hair! Ugh, the horror of looking natural. Forget that. We’re talking more about “some hair” in the “nether regions.” Not a whole jungle, okay?

And that hair needs to be silky. It needs to be softened with a special oil that costs $39.

Fur Oil’s unique blend of lightweight oils softens pubic hair and clears pores for fewer ingrowns and healthier skin. The 100% natural formula is gently antiseptic, antimicrobial, and reduces inflammation.  Fur Oil can be used as frequently as desired to enhance pubic hair and skin, and is also suitable for use on the face and body.

Directions: Apply Fur Oil liberally to clean pubic hair and skin.  For best results use as part of a daily regimen.

Are you in? For another $32, you can buy Fur’s other product, Stubble Cream,

a lightweight, natural emulsion [that] smoothes prickly regrowth, clears pores for fewer ingrowns and protects pubic skin.

Obviously, I find this annoying and even depressing. It’s also misogyny pretending to be empowering or something. If you have pubic hair, it’s nice for your partner if you bathe regularly. Then, you’re good to go.

Not only is my pubic hair silky enough, my belly button is fine without any belly button products and so are my knees without knee products. I already have enough body issues and shit to keep myself in line, cosmetically.

Finally there is Fur’s packaging and font. The creators wanted something elegant and “timeless, like Chanel” but with the “shock factor of the words pubic hair.” To me, it looks clinical but kind of scary, with the truncated letter f lending it a German quality that makes me uneasy.

Why not just call it Führer, or even Führer For The Pussy?

Take it away before I get madder.

Alex James: What a Fucking Cunt!™

October 5th, 2015

kurt note jacket

Alex James is some cunt who has a menswear line called ‘Pleasures‘ whose first collection features t-shirts and jackets printed with Kurt Cobain‘s suicide note.

Listen you cunt Alex James: Kurt Cobain has a daughter who is a human person, as was Kurt himself. Can’t you find another way to get attention?

I don’t mind that the lookbook for this cheap crap is filmed in a graveyard. Memento mori, I get it.

Show off your dark sensibility, revel in your hipster miserableism, just leave real human suffering out of your attempts at commerce.

What a little fucker.

As a bonus, he is ‘creative brand manager’ for another street-wear company called ‘Publish’ whose manifesto is a classic piece of gibberish that includes the line “Casual with an heir of sophistication.”

LEARN TO SPELL, MOTHERFUCKER!

publish manifesto spelling

To sum up, Alex James is a fucking cunt and he’s ruined my evening.

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