I would just like to formally apologize to every actor who came to callbacks for The Cake last night for how much I was frantically writing during every read. If I were you, I would of course assume that I was making a long list of everything that was annoying about my body and voice and just me as a human, in general. But actually, when a playwright sits in on auditions for their play, suddenly all of the emotional holes in the scenes become clear, and the playwright must frantically write these holes downs along with any ideas re: how to fix them before they escape. Unfortunately sometimes this must happen while an actor is beautifully emoting. Basically La La Land is a documentary, and sometimes, I AM THE VILLAIN IN THE ROOM I’M SORRY.
One of my favorite things about going to another country for the first time is seeing what the houses are like. I like to watch people coming in and out of them, sitting outside of them, listening to the radio, shucking corn, living their lives, and I especially like to look away really fast when I make eye contact with one of these people, like I wasn’t just turning the poor person into a poem. Obviously in every country there are big cities with fancy parts, and basically all of those people live in condos with lobbies and farmers sinks and walk in closets and flat screen TVs. But when you step outside of the big cities, you can really get a sense of what’s unique about the country and its homes. Here’s a piece of the outskirts of Cusco, from the window of a bus:
What was most striking to me about Peruvian houses was the fact that a lot of them are constantly in progress, being built upon. You see them and think, oh, no one is living in that house, it’s a construction site, there are bricks and tarps. A lot of the roofs have these metal rods sticking out of them which I finally realized (by which I mean, Julien explained) that it’s prep for a second story of the house. I think in America we’re obsessed with presentation, with things being Done and looking a certain way. But in Peru, and certainly other parts of the world that I have yet to see, a house is a thing that is built over the years while you live inside of it.
People who love plays to tend to also love food and when people gather to eat food. If when people gather to eat food there is also a play, EVEN BETTER. This lovely genius girl in Brooklyn, Jessica Giannone, hosts a reading series at a bar in which she pairs plays with PIES THAT SHE BAKES. Tonight they’re reading my play, Le Fou, about a bunch of women writing love letters in the first ever department store in Paris. I could not possibly be more delighted. WHAT IS IN THE PIE? IS IT FULL OF FLOWERS AND FRANCE? IF I’M THERE IN SPIRIT IS IT POSSIBLE TO ALSO EAT PIE? CAN SPIRITS EAT?
My absolute favorite woman on TV is actually played by a man and after a few minutes of watching, you don’t even notice anymore.
In Baskets, (Zach Galifianakis’ FX show about the home life of a failed clown) Louie Anderson plays Christine Baskets, a mom whose happy place is Costco, who struggles with both weight and how to raise her kids somewhere between love love and tough love, who tries water aerobics, for her health.
Season two in particular, every moment she’s on screen is so rich and heartbreaking and real that you literally don’t even think about Louie underneath. There is Christine, and only Christine, with a humor so specific it’s like you’re on line with her at Costco while she compliments your hair cut and muses about her childhood and coupons and then asks you about the contents of your shopping cart. There is only Christine and her draped blazers and her hats, and her tugging on her hair around it.
I dreamt that my friend showed me her new phone. It was an old school flip phone, small and white like an angel’s marshmallow snack. She showed me how it worked and I watched like I was learning about an artifact. How do you get your emails? I asked. She looked back at me, and smiled wickedly. I don’t.
Okay fine, let’s just go ahead and change the name of this blog to ALL BABIES ALL THE TIME. At this point in my life, is there anything more important? NERP. Today, on ALL BABIES ALL THE TIME, I got lil nephew Sebastian an LA shirt for his baby shower, and now he’s filling it out like a BOSS.
No really, I will literally do ANYTHING he tells me to do.
I am embarking on a three day Juice Cleanse because why not, because clearing out the pipes before my body battles the attitude in Peru. I can’t decide what’s most upsetting about this juice cleanse: that I’m now a person who thinks to do this, that I’m a person who applies the word ‘embark’ to ‘juice cleanse,’ how much I paid for it, or the fact that I’m only going to drink juice and juice only for three god-given days. I’m guessing it’s a combination of all three upsetting things combined into one brownish elixir of health and self satisfaction. MAYBE I’LL DRINK THAT, TOO.
Sometimes I forget that Morrison can dance his face off like a love interest in an movie a la good ol’ Bing Crosby days. He studied ballroom dance in high school, and so when the right song is on, he morphs from gentle giant who prefers to not draw attention to himself, to SLICK AND ALLURING DANCING SWAN MAN. The footwork alone is insane and he busts it out at dance parties like a secret trick. People tend to watch. And when this happens, sometimes I just watch him, too, with a big stupid smile on my face, as it’s sort of a thing from a dream, having a man who not only CAN dance, but WANTS to. I can usually get away with a bit of objective staring, until he pulls me up to dance with him, at which point I promptly step on his feet, at which point he spins me around, and which point I fall on my face laughing like a kid on one of those spinny things, at which point he catches me.
1.) Research place.
2.) Purchase tickets.
3.) RESEARCH EVERY POSSIBLE THING THAT COULD GO WRONG IN SAID PLACE, OR JUST IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN GENERAL, AND THOROUGHLY CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT EACH OF THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU AS IF YOUR LIFE IS ACTUALLY A MOVIE WRITTEN BY AN GRADUATE SCREENWRITING STUDENT WHO BELIEVES THAT SOMETHING TERRIBLE MUST HAPPEN ON EVERY PAGE BUT WHO ALSO HAS A KEEN SENSE OF IRONY AND SO THE CHARACTER GOES INTO THE SITUATION BELIEVING THAT EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE BUT THEN BAM THEY ARE PUNISHED FOR THEIR IGNORANCE VIA LOST PASSPORTS AND FLOODS!
4. Hey, take a breath. Remember you are lucky to go at all, and that this is what life is for. Experiencing another culture broadens your understanding of humans and
5. REMIND YOURSELF NOT TO RE-APPROPRIATE OTHER PEOPLES’ CULTURES FOR YOUR OWN GROWTH
6. Buy an absurd amount of gum as if gum does not exist in other countries.
7. GO ON YOUR TRIP, PSYCHO.
I woke up REALLY needing to find a picture of the book I learned words from as a kid, and HERE IT BE:
I think this was all of elementary school, opening this owl and shoving its contents into my head. I was always good at memorizing, not so much internalizing. And so when my vocabulary sort of froze at the age, of, what, 24? Is that when the brain stops growing? I ended up with a moderate but far from impressive collection of words. I know no fancy synonyms for moderate or impressive. For a writer, my arsenal is limited. When I read I do so with Dictionary. But every now and then, I meet a word that I like, and it sticks in my head like gum I can’t see. And so I try and trot it out, and it’s usually awkward like trying to make a friend as a grown up, HOW IS YOUR LIFE TODAY, PERSON? But if I persevere (a word that I know ONLY because I have a cousin named Perseverance) I can normalize it and stop saying it surrounded by question marks, like I’m on stage at a spelling bee. And so today, I declare to you, I will use my new words with alacrity, which is just a sharp and beautiful little word that I always say in my normal life, by which I mean, with willingness and cheerfulness.