Happy birthday 61st birthday to the most selfless, giving, loving lady I know. As a writer, you sometimes end up feeling this weird sense of shame of the love that you were raised with, if you were lucky to be raised with that love, as you’re always searching for trauma truffles for inspiration. The worse the childhood, the better the writing. Or at least, this is what the Lucky and Loved tell themselves to create torment that they can then turn to poetry that no one should ever see. But today, and all of the days, I’m grateful that she’s around, that she is one year older, that she cares, that she does not give up on trying to understand me though I do not understand myself, that she loves me more than I love myself, but mostly for the fact that I will clearly look I’m 38 TOPS well into my 90s. LOVE YOU MOM!
Have you ever noticed that it’s actually impossible to try and have an idea? You can sit there and try and squint and try but it won’t come until the moment you stop trying completely. Switch to literally anything else and suddenly an idea happens. I’ve been looking for you for hours, you say! Idiot, says the idea, smug as it crawls back up your fingers and arm and into your brain where it in fact has been living the whole time.
My American Gods bosses sent me this screenshot of my lil piece of the pie in the show’s opening credits. Maybe some day years from now my name on a screen will make me feel nothing but currently, it still gives me a hot zing of yay which is what I call all good feelings, just in general. COMING TO STARZ 4.30!
A few months ago on set, I clocked that both Milo and Mandy were both drinking a creepy yet fascinating bright green beverage from a bottle. When you see beautiful famous people doing an odd thing, it’s best to ask them what it is as it’s most likely contributing to their beauty. They informed me it was matcha tea. As I do with 98% of the information I take in on a daily basis, I promptly forgot about it. Cut to a few weeks ago, I spotted it a box of it in the grocery store, and decided to 1.) purchase it 2.) figure out what it is. Matcha tea comes from Japan, from young green tea leaves, and is super high in antioxidants, has crazy cancer fighting and prevention skills, promotes focus AND calm, and boosts energy AND metabolism. I’ve had a cup every day this week but I can’t tell if it’s working. Here’s a casual picture of me from this morning when I got out of bed.
IS IT WORKING?
NEVER MIND THEN BACK TO WINE AND TOTS
As previously noted I have an intense online relationship with Jeni’s ice cream, by which I mean she emails me about her new flavors and I STOP WHATEVER I’M DOING AND GO THERE TO EAT THEM. The newest, Supermoon:
Blue violet and vanilla marshmallow swirled together like easter friends. I don’t know if I want to eat it smear it on the walls of the bedrooms of my unborn children but either way I want it in my hands.
I’m going to teach you a game called New Place Game that I oftentimes play in my head. Its rules are simple.
1.) Be on a walk that you’ve done a hundred times, like to get coffee or to the gym. This could also be a drive.
2.) Pretend like you are from across the world and are just visiting this place for the first time. Look at everything as if it’s your first time seeing it. Take in the details, absorb the fact that people live in these houses and get their milk everyday at these stores. Pretty soon you will feel that thrill of being far from your bed and books where no one knows your name.
4.) Expect the thrill to last for a maximum of 30 seconds until you remember who and where you actually are, so appreciate each of these seconds individually.
5.) Return to your life with a new lens, having gone somewhere you’ve never been, having never actually left.
Every year I write a short play for Theater Breaking Through Barriers, an NYC based company that works mainly with disabled actors — on plays sometimes related to issues of disability, but sometimes not. Their work is both inclusive AND irrelevant. They are always the hardest plays to write but also the most rewarding. This year was no different — I attempted to write a short play about the ickiness of diverse casting which forced me to confront a lot of the gross but true things that shoot through my head as a white person. I can’t see the play as I am shackled to LA with thick ropes of Kale, but if you’re in NYC, YOU SHOULD! Running through March 26th. INFO HERE!
While I’m off work, I’ve been teaching writing to some girls in Juvie up in Santa Clarita of all places (where we wrote and filmed Switched at Birth) through Writegirl (nonprofit that pairs professional writers with, you know. Girls.) I am using the word ‘teaching’ lightly because 1.) teaching might actually be to antonym of my actual nature and 2.) first we must get them to even care, like, at all. I wouldn’t even call them apathetic. It’s just that there are so many grander things for them to care about than a poem that might or might not be in the shape of a hat. Just a few miles from malls and 900 starbucks and big box stores, and for some of them their old neighborhoods, the girls are kept in a weird time loop that sort of looks like school meets a summer camp meets the ROTC. They are kept on a tight schedule of classes and seem to care only about when they will get out and bobby pins and what shoes I’m wearing and what they could do with my bangs, given the chance. They’re all working towards high school class credits, but there’s also this paralysis because when they do get out, they’re re-entering the exact same world that got them into the place to begin with. Most seem to not have a moral support from parents, many of whom are also in jail, and so they’re left to their own devices. They could change, be better versions of themselves, resist temptation, but also they are seventeen year old CHILDREN and how strong was our resolve then, really? How strong is it even NOW? I want to help them connect words to their helplessness so that they can sort through their thoughts. I want to not say stupid things to them like YOUR WORDS WILL SET YOU FREE! But also I want them to know their words will set them free in their minds, which counts. But first I have to get them to even care, which, I now realize, is the first part of teaching, or even THE part. It is the whole part.
Being that I have a play that’s about Cake, watching the Great British Baking Show is actually NOT procrastination or distraction, it is in fact research. Thank God Netflix just added two seasons of it so I can continue this important work. I’m only one episode in, but I must go ahead and declare my favorite, Frances:
Frances designs children’s clothes for a living, and likes to make cake ‘fun.’ For the ‘sandwich cake’ challenge she made a cake that actually looks like a giant jam sandwich, complete with sugar wrapper that you peel off the sandwich before eating.
For the show stopper chocolate cake challenge, she made a SECRET SQUIRREL CAKE THAT HAS A SECRET CHOCOLATE SQUIRREL HIDING INSIDE OF IT.
FRANCES YOU SEE INTO MY HEART