bekah brunstetter
Bekah Brunstetter I care deeply. About a lot of things. Like really, really deep. Ow
playwright in brooklyn, NY

games for girls

December 16th, 2015 by Bekah Brunstetter

As I have noted here previously, it might be the case that I belong to a book club that is specifically for young adult fiction from the 60s/70s/80s and I don’t know, maybe here we are at our meeting last night:

There are a lot of things I like about this club and it’s not just the girls or the cheese. Each meeting, we seem to end up making up a dance or telling stories about our childhoods, or, last night, after a fervent discussion about the latent feminism in Nightbirds on Nantucket, we took one of the sailor songs from the book and set it to music with Erica’s mandolin. When we do these activities, we always end up giggling with a strange euphoria. They are the kinds of things that girls used to do to amuse themselves or each other before we had, you know, apps or electricity. It’s nice to return to this sort of candle-lit creativity and then of course  IMMEDIATELY PUT IT ON INSTAGRAM.

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Perhaps this is why

October 27th, 2015 by Bekah Brunstetter

Today, on how to take the Holocaust and apply it to your current life which is nothing even remotely at all like the Holocaust like how dare you even make the attempt to juxtapose, and yet still: I’ve been reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning because Holocaust books are FUN! and also for work, as the show is very much about why we believe and put faith in certain things. When Frankl (a psychologist, and founder of logotherapy) was in a concentration camp, he observed human beings stripped down to their very souls, and saw the possibility for man to find meaning and purpose through struggle and suffering. Which leads me to, you know, myself. I can finally put my finger on why life in LA can be sort of — unsatisfying, in all of its satisfactions. Frankl says:

‘I consider it a dangerous misconception of mental hygiene to assume that what man needs in the first place is equilibrium or, as it is called in biology, ‘homeostasis,’ i.e., a tensionless state. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge or tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.’

ie, a balanced, easy life, you know, with a juice bar in walking distance, with air conditioning, with netflix and spotify, with pre-made salads and drinks outside, with cute shoe stores and ice cream cones and the occasional blip of earthquake or current event, is PERHAPS DETRIMENTAL  TO OUR SANITY. I don’t quite know what to do with this thought. Do I go stand in oncoming traffic?  Or do I just try and set the bar within myself higher, somehow? Is it about just constantly trying to do more? And is this theory proposing that people who are struggling are actually living more meaningful lives? But thinking back, I think I’ve never felt more active and alive then when devastated or heartbroken or afraid, and trying to overcome those feelings.  So what now? Do I arbitrarily manufacture struggle? Does that kind of struggle even count?

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September 23rd, 2015 by Bekah Brunstetter

I’ve been reading some Old Norse poems from the Elder Edda,  YOU KNOW, LIKE YOU DO. My favorite so far are from Sayings of the High One, which is basically an advice column penned by Odin the God of War and also star of American Gods him very self. He’s gruff, practical, amicable,  and definitely thinks you should eat before you hang out with friends so that you’re not starving.

Some personal favorites:

A stupid man stays awake all night pondering his problems; he’s worn out when morning comes and whatever was, still is.

Moderately wise a man should be — don’t wish for too much wisdom; a man’s heart is seldom happy if he is truly wise.

A man does well to eat a hearty meal before he visits friends, or he sits around glumly acting starved and finds words for very few.

Get up early if you are after another man’s life or money; a sleeping wolf will seldom make a kill nor a warrior win lying down.
Drink ale by the fireside, skate on the ice, buy lean steeds and bloodstained swords, fatten horses in the stable, a dog in your home. Never trust what a maiden tells you nor count any woman constant; their hearts are turned on a potter’s wheel.



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an Oracle

September 9th, 2015 by Bekah Brunstetter

I want to read everything there is to read by and about Neil Gaiman, as he the executor and proprietor of the world I’m wrapping my brain around as if it were my job because currently, it is.  This man is a brilliant purveyor of character meets history meets whimsy meets nightmare. There are infinity articles, interviews, books, like so much that I want to stop time, find a hammock that will hold me for three years as I read it all, but so far my favorite is a book that’s been made out of a commencement speech he gave a few years back, in which he tells the grads: when things are bad, make good art. The more I read of his, the more it feels fitting that my brain meets him now, as he is kind of my oracle, telling me things that I so badly need to hear.  He acknowledges that as a writer, you are a person in the world, and so things are going to go badly. He says:  ”I think you’re absolutely allowed several minutes, possibly even half a day to feel very, very sorry for yourself indeed. (THANKS NEIL YES. I DO SOMETIMES, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO, OCCASIONALLY.) And then just start making art.” (OKAY FINE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO YELL.)

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House of Stairs.

August 17th, 2015 by Bekah Brunstetter

Over fourth of July, some lady friends and I had the GENIUS IDEA to start a book club strictly for weird books we remember reading when we were kids. That’s right. A BOOK CLUB FOR OBSCURE OLD YA LITERATURE  with wine and some of that popcorn that actually evaporates your insides. First up: House of Stairs, a book I did not read when I was growing up, but is one of the strangest things I have ever read. Basically five teenage orphans find themselves suddenly placed and trapped inside of a cavernous space filled with stairs. Their only way to get food is to enact a strange, methodical dance in front of a food machine. Naturally, throughout their quest for meat pellets, romance and jealousies and pretty standard teen angst  prevail, but mostly, THEY HAVE TO DO A STRANGE METHODICAL DANCE TO GET FOOD. If you’re wondering how quickly I flew to the internet to see about movie rights it was IN FACT QUITE FAST, but sadly, a movie is of course already being made, so I’ll just work on my copy of a copy of a copy,  HOUSE OF WATERSLIDES:  a dramedy about a group of high school misfits locked in an abandoned waterpark who must do synchronized swimming for personal pan pizzas. COMING SOON.

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January 7th, 2015 by Bekah Brunstetter

Say, are you a woman? Do you have a career? Do you sometimes feel really confident about said career, but then also sometimes feel sad and needy and insecure about your work but then suddenly feel good about it again, but then feel like a terrible person when you’re trying to be a good person, and then sometimes you feel like a good person,  but then oh wait, you suck? READ THIS BOOK AND RIDE THAT WAVE, GIRL. This woman is hilarious, humble, perceptive, and honest in a truly comforting way. She’s like Lena, but like, you know, a fully formed human being, and thus more relevant to us grown-ish ups.

Things I learned from this  book:

- a touch of Ambivalence goes a long way. NOT apathy; ambivalence. (“Learn to let go of wanting it.” / “Your career will never marry you.”)

- success really never happens over night.

- Being occasionally self involved is an unfortunate part of Being Alive, and being an artist, but it does not make you a bad person. Curosity, empathy,  action.

- Our phones are trying to kill us. The Dalai Lama called it. “I think technology has really increased human ability. But technology cannot produce compassion.”

- I want to have little boys, and when I do, it’s totally normal and fine if I have the impulse to marry them, or eat them.

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ink, still

December 17th, 2014 by Bekah Brunstetter

Today, on things of little consequence: I’ve been rolling with the wee moleskin calendar for years and years. This year, I thought to myself, next year, I will be a person who uses their phone as a calendar, like many humans do, so I never have to say, I don’t know if I can do this or that, I have to look at my calendar, which I don’t have right now. I would instead always have all of my commitments right in front of me, in my pocket, in my phone, snuggled up with contacts and pictures of sandwiches and showtunes and mysterious Notes that just read ‘flat liners?’ and ’31055678990′ and ‘Peter’s friends.’ I really wanted to be that person, organized, digital, paperless. But then I tried to put something in my robot phone calendar, didn’t like it, and so then I caved. I’m going old school calendar again in 2015, paper and ink, because I still want to write things down, I want to take pen to paper and  smudge it with my hand, because I want to spill wine on it,write ‘DENTIST!!!!!!’ Then cross it out and then write DENTIST!!!!!! again.

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already better done

October 5th, 2014 by Bekah Brunstetter

I am thoroughly enjoying Lena Dunham’s book, for it’s honesty and hilarity and relevance. But I can’t help shake this sense that she’s me, but better. Writing about what I should, but fiercer. The similarities between some of our thoughts and life experiences are straight up freaky. I used to have a recurring dream that I forgot I had a puppy, then found it in a shoebox underneath my bed, dying, but still alive; Lena dreams that she forgot she had massive amounts of cages of beautiful birds, which she also finds nearly dead. I went through a massive Polly Stenham ( a very young and very beautiful and very tragic British Playwright) jealousy phase, and thought for ten minutes about writing a play called Polly envy; Lena was also jealous of Polly, but actually met and befriended Polly, and got drunk at her house in London and puked all over her. I kept a sad food diary once for like five minutes, she did it for like a year and turned it into a chapter of her awesome book.  Similar anxieties, but somehow more poetic. She’s in my life, but four years back, and better and more. And she remembers EVERYTHING, every detail, every pony tail, every smell, in a way that I wish that I could. Fortunately, I think This Old Queen’s just too old to let any envy of her success, success off of feelings I’ve felt, of of thoughts that I’ve thought,  fester. Instead, I can just appreciate her for who she is: a more observant, less afraid Me. She writes intently that all women should write; that their stories are worth telling. And so, Lena, who is not listening or reading at all: continue to get after it, Girl. For the rest of us.

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September 28th, 2014 by Bekah Brunstetter

I just ordered these two books and I’m going to eagerly await them and visualize them at my door when I get home from work like Christmas presents. I will then rabidly tear into them like toys  and eat / sleep / drink them,  wrap myself for a few days in smart lady feelings and thoughts. GET HERE NOW, BOOKS.

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March 11th, 2014 by Bekah Brunstetter

A few years back, at the peak of my (newly retriggered / WHERE ARE YOU, MALAYSIAN PLANE???) flying anxiety, I wrote a self help book entirely while on planes, to soothe myself. Book people I showed the product too said it didn’t contain enough factual information and maybe should be a memoir so I put it aside and forgot about it, but was reminded of it because of  recent tragedy (BUT REALLY, WHERE ARE YOU.) The book will probably never get published, but I love it, I really love it. I love what I was able to work through while writing it. And so, I’m just going to email it to whoever wants to read it, and also put parts of it here. See below for my profound and moderately informed chapter on How Planes Fly.


Okay, dummy. I know that understanding the physics of flying won’t wipe you of worry entirely, but it can definitely help you a bit. And now I, Bekah Brunstetter, whose college GPA was lowered .5 points by science alone, who cannot point to her spleen, who cannot name stars, will explain to you – in layman’s terms – the Physics of flying. Let’s get f**king nerdy, you guys!

Let’s start with Bernoulli’s principle, and also take a moment to celebrate that that was absolutely the nerdiest sentence I’ve ever written in my life. Celebrate. Onward! Daniel Bernoulli was a Dutch-Swiss math genius (1700-1782.) Dude was so smart, his father (who pretty much invented calculus) at one point kicked him out of the house for essentially beating him in a science fair. Bernoulli’s principle is pretty much what keeps planes in the air. It’s not luck, it’s not prayers, it’s not irony, it’s physics.

This principle states that when fluid (air) moves around moving object, low pressure is creating above the object, and high pressure is created below the object. This high pressure keeps the object in the air.

So that, I’m positive, makes perfect sense. Welp, not entirely. Almost. Let me back up, because I’m really smart and have much knowledge to share, and a lot of overcompensating to do for the fact that I kind of don’t know how to do anything but write and bake bread.

It may not seem like it, but air is a fluid just as much as water is. Scientists apply the same principles to both substances, and oftentimes, theories of aerodynamics are tested under water. Basically, a bird swims through the air. A fish flies through the water. They’re interchangeable. They’re essentially the same thing. ….except for gravity. But: Bernoulli’s principle is what keeps planes in the air. What fights gravity. The force of the low pressure above the wings, and the high pressure below the wings, cushion the plane and keep it in the sky.

So, when we’re flying, we’re not just floating in mid-air like it might feel, ready to plummet at any moment.  The air is keeping us there, and there will never suddenly be no air. We are resting on something. Something is above and beneath us. The atmosphere. Identify it: make it something friendly, tangible and real. Fluff! Koolaid! Mattresses! Call it what you will. It really helps to visualize that you’re on that substance, especially during turbulence. Some douchebag is just jumping on the mattress to show that the red wine won’t spill on his wife’s silk pajama’s. That’s all that’s happening. BERNOUILI! I did my homework. Am I a Scientist Yet?

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