Like most kids who grow up in the suburbs, when I was a kid, I fetishized the mall, like just so deeply and badly needed to get a ride there so I could get my cartilage pierced at Claires or eat a cookie the size of my face or just walk through racks of low-rise pants that didn’t fit me. It’s not my favorite thing about myself, but I am somehow calmed by rows and shelves of Things, organized neatly by color and size. Since I fixated on Malls so much when I was young, I am really disturbed by the fact that they are now dying, so much so that there is now a term for the abandoned or nearly abandoned spaces, ‘dead mall.’ There’s even a term for the abandoned large hub of the mall, the JCPenney’s or Dillards or Sears: that gaping pit emptiness is called a ‘ghostbox.’ There needs to be a word for what I’m feeling — this sense that I am inside of slowly changing world — a world that is moving so fast I barely notice the changes — but every now and then, when I pause, I glimpse the change and it makes my skin buzz and my stomach sink. What is this feeling? Futuresense? Changefeel? DEADMALL?
Morrison and I in fact live just down the road from Thaitown, Los Angeles, which features a Thai Plaza filled with restaurants and bakeries and everything you might want to suspend your disbelief and convince yourself that you are not in your life, but actually still on your honeymoon. In said plaza, newlyweds can order deep fried whole fishes and those weird little pancakes with marshmallow and corn and Chang declare to no one, ‘this is almost as good as when we were in Thailand but slightly not as good because right now we are not in Thailand but actually just in a strip mall’ and also ‘PS WE WENT TO THAILAND.’
When I was in my 20s, I split my time between posing with accordions I couldn’t play, and writing plays that mattered to Me and mostly just Me. At that point in my writer life, all that mattered to me was that I was writing honestly. I never stopped to ask myself, does this play matter to anyone but myself? I think there’s something kind of beneficial about these sort of blinders that come with being a writer in your 20s in Brooklyn when there’s a lot of vintage couches to sit on. If you’re only worried about your own truth, and you get after that truth — chances are, you won’t end up writing something that is super didactic or clearly stretching beyond the limitations of your own intellect or life experience. But now I’m in my mid-30s and I split my time between fantasizing about real estate, googling Piriformis stretches and taking in the world, mostly in the form of click bait articles. And when it comes to playwriting, I can’t even start to wonder about a play without asking myself, does it matter? Is the play even asking a question that needs to be asked, in terms of what’s happening in the world? Of course there’s a part of me that’s glad that I am perhaps slightly less self involved than I once was — but there’s another part of me that longs for that purity of creative process, when all that mattered to me was, Does it keep you up at night? Do you wake up thinking about it? Then write it, and write it now.
It’s that time of year in which my brain that exists outside of my body in a sea of zeros and ones by which I mean Facebook reminds me that this time, three years ago, Julien and I were gallivanting around Costa Rica without a care in the world except for Julien’s allergies.
Every time these memories pop up, either in my actual head because of actual human memory feelings, or on Facebook, I am overjoyed that we got to go do what we did. I will relive its moments forever, and I will never forget it, as FACEBOOK WILL NOT EVEN ALLOW ME TO.
When you and your Valentine are officially all life partnered and shacked up, it is appropriate to start giving them ‘presents’ that are for ‘them’ but that are actually for the both of you, but also maybe for yourself. For example: this year, I made Morrison this book of pictures from our honeymoon so that he could remember it forever, and by ‘he’ I mean ‘myself.’ SAME DIFFERENCE, RIGHT? His family has made big beautiful picture books from each of their family trips, so I thought I’d do the same, as I still like to hold pictures in my hand and not just swipe at them with my fingers. ENJOY, HUSBAND (AND MYSELF!)
I now know why I have such an affinity for young Kate on This is Us, for her obsession with food and her insecurities. In The Pool episode when she gets a note from a mean group of girls declaring they don’t want to hang with her anymore, that was based on something that happened to me, but fifth grade, and cafeteria, and maybe I still have the note and remember exactly who wrote it but I’M NOT HERE TO NAME NAMES REBECCA SINK WAS HER NAME. As it turns out, I am in fact just a grown up version of lil’ Kate:
WE ARE ONE.
There are seriously not enough Thursdays in the world to Throwback to when it comes to our honeymoon, especially our time in Thailand. I just want to crawl back inside of its moments, float inside of them, gaze off into nothing.
One of my favorite things about Thailand was Gae, our guide for the bike tour / cave hike. We’d been in Thailand for about four days at that point, and all the Thai people we encountered spoke little to no English. Enter Gae, married to an American, nearly fluent in English, with a LIMITLESS AND INFECTIOUS ENERGY, SOMEHOW NEVER SWEATY, and lastly, with a deep love of selfies:
I was able to ask her all the questions that had been accumulating in my mind about everything from Thailand’s monks to the Burmese people to how Shrimp happen. In turn, she kept taking pictures of us like we were famous people. HEY LOVE BIRDS! GO OVER THERE! SIT THERE, IN LOVE! She’d say, and point her phone at us. LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!
Once satisfied: OKAY, WE GOT IT!
There’s a thing going around instagram, Best 9, in which people post a grid of their best nine pictures from 2016, summing up a year in their lives. Whenever everyone is doing something it kind of makes me not want to do it, as I am no sheep, by which I mean BAAAAAAAA I’LL JUST DO IT HERE INSTEAD but with 24 pictures because I LIVE MY OWN LIFE (IN GRIDS.) And so with no further ado, it has been a magnificent year! I:
Ate that chicken pot pie in a blizzard, wrote for American Gods, had a beautiful production of my Heaven play at South Coast Rep, found the perfect overalls and wore them approximately 170 times, washed them about 3 times, took a surfing lesson with Elizabeth, had a Dewey’s pink lemonade cake to call my own at my Easter pot luck thanks to my Mom, ran a 5K with a little girl Monet who ate gummy savers the whole way thanks to Blaine, celebrated 2 years with Mo at Red Lobster, patroned Ru Paul’s drag con, got after that no speaking above a whisper resort life in Joshua Tree, spent some time writing at Space on Ryder farm in upstate New York, went to Carrie’s Beyonce themed beybe shower (then later welcomed and met her dear little Sebastian who I am now calling Bash / 2017 let’s see if we can get that going), and then also:
Had the most perfect of bridal showers complete with hats and tiny sandwiches, spun for 3 hours in YAS-a-thon for cancer research, made Ina Garten’s flag cake, welcomed little nephew Mojo, worked on The Cake at the Alliance, Echo and Ojai, did Vegas so hard bachelorette style, tried on a bunch of white dresses / picked one had a bunch dress fittings / obsessed over its details and its accessories namely did I ever mentioned that Ferris Bueller cropped leather coat? / GOT MARRIED / cast my vote for a woman president for the first time, attended Blaine and Jason’s non baby shower baby shower, read Vivian Howard’s incredible cookbook, and started writing for This is Us. And so, a great many things.
Last week I started to have dreams that I was left out of something creative, being mocked for output or performance. Personal favorite: I dreamt I had to play a drunk dog onstage and the reviews were terrible (this dream brought to you by the first night in Hong Kong, surrounded by every stimulus possible.) I think the dreams stem from a feeling that I haven’t accomplished enough creatively this year, like I haven’t dug enough into my own heart / brain. I’ve been working, yes, but I feel, in general, sort of uninspired, like the questioning part of my brain has been numbed. It’s most likely because the majority of all extra time and emotional brainspace I had went to wedding planning. And so, I will forgive myself, hope that 2017 brings characters / moments / stories / questions, big new ideas, but ALSO, more cakes / adult onesies / trips / love, FOR BALANCE.
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WE GOT OUR WEDDING PICTURES! They are lovely. As hard as it is to look at 900 pictures of yourself and marvel at how even in a stunning gown you can manage to look like an evil badger baby, I STILL love them. The moments are perfectly captured. We were so stupid happy that day and the pictures will forever show it. There are so many that I do not even know what to do with them. I think I will just stretch the process out, keep the feeling new and real, and just drop them like tiny love bombs whenever I feel like it. Starting with these! I present to you, the moment after Morrison and I first saw each other, hugged and cried, and then I promptly made him look at my butt, my exact words being, LOOK AT MY BUTT!