Cue head exploding

Have you ever had so much go on within a short span of time that you feel like your head is just going to pop like a party balloon? That’s how I feel right now. Don’t worry, I’m self-medicating with some Chinese food. I’m on top of this.

Yesterday and this morning involved a lot of back and forth over jacket flap copy for AUT, which is exciting but also nerve-wracking. Has anyone else noticed that it’s really hard to describe your own book? As the person who spent six years writing it, I feel like everything is important, and I don’t know how to boil it down to the essentials without frying all my circuits. Thank God for agents and editors, right? I’m so tired.

That might have a little to do with being out so late last night, though. One of the reasons I’m super lucky to be living in New York is that I have so many good friends here, and they’re all cool and interesting and into a hundred different things. I’ve managed over the course of a few months to pick up several guy friends who are amateur stand-up comedians, but until last night I’d never seen any of them up on stage. Me, Cambria and Nikki headed over to Gotham after work (short pit stop at Dallas BBQ for margaritas and chicken fingers, OBVS, as it’s right there) and were able to see our friends David and Brian (both incredibly funny) perform. There were a lot of funny people, and it was nice to see some lady comics, because when Bri and I went to Gutbucket a few weeks ago there was only one and she was…fine.

Speaking of Gutbucket, one of my favorite comics from that show performed at Gotham last night. His name is Luke Cunningham and I think he’s hilarious, that’s all.

Afterwards we went to Trailer Park, which is just down the street. It’s a kitschy little bar made up to resemble (what else?) a trailer park. I personally think it’s a little too expensive to live up to its name ($5 PBR? That’s highway robbery, that is) but the atmosphere is pretty great and the tater tots are to die for. We hung around with David, Brian, and a bunch of other comedians after the show, including one of the ladies, who I’m pretty sure I gave some material to, although quite honestly it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before on Sex and the City, so whatevs. MD also joined us after her date, bringing the party as always.

I got home around midnight, but then of course stayed up until one to finish Wintergirls, which is so wonderful and traumatizing. Some people don’t like sad, emotionally eviscerating books, but those are my favorite kinds, and Wintergirls is the perfect example. In short, I loved it, Laurie Halse Anderson is a rock star.

2008 wrap-up

2008 was, in many ways, the best year of my life so far. I guess it’s pretty apparent as to why. It didn’t start off so great, or at least it started off a little “meh” as far as my life was concerned. I’d just gotten a rejection on the full of AUT on Christmas Eve, and I was back in New York after spending the holidays with my family in Chicago, which always sort of depresses me, 1. because I love my family and miss them when we’re apart and B. because I only like living in New York, like, 30% of the time. So. I had a job, I had an apartment, I had my best friend right there with me in the city, but everything was new, cold, and a little bit “what now?”

Then Joanna emailed me and I told her about AUT and she asked for the full and then offered me representation. Boom! I remember walking to Cambria’s apartment with her from the train and saying, “If Joanna offers me representation, this could change my life.” And it did! Three much needed revisions of AUT later and we’d sold it in a two-book deal, in a pre-empt, to Francoise Bui at Delacorte! It was a very exciting moment for me, and when I think about how unmoored and listless I felt last year at this time, I’m so grateful for (and amazed by) what happened this year.

2008 held all kinds of wonderful surprises. I made way more awesome friends in New York, including most of my coworkers who are angels sent from the Lord above, I introduced one of my California best friends to one of my New York best friends and they started seriously dating, two of my good California friends got engaged (not to each other, to their respective boyfriends), Kim and Jenny came to visit (Jenny, the girl half of the aforementioned couple, came three times this year!), Carmen and Tim (one of the aforementioned engaged couples) came this year, my mother came several times, my sister was here for three weeks for a film camp and I got to see her a bunch, my aunt Kika and cousin Emma came, my aunt Irene and cousin Michelle came, and I’m sure I’m missing visitors and other fun things, but my brain is not capable of remembering how great this year was in one fell swoop. I have to do it in chunks.

I read 72 books. That’s 8 below my goal, but maybe next year.

Professionally (aside from the book deal), I finished MB (well, the first draft anyway) and joined the Tenners, which is such a great community I can’t even begin to tell you (holla!). In my day job, I got a little promotion, which was grand.
I’m happy, I’m healthy, I’m proud of myself, I’m still excited about writing and reading, I’m still addicted to the Internet and Gossip Girl (and GG on the Internet). I think I only had the two fake boyfriends (Rob Pattinson and Ed Westwick) and one fake husband (That James McAvoy) this year, which means I’m starting to settle down!

You know how I celebrated the New Year? I mean, before going to Jenny’s NYE party? I SENT THE FINISHED AUT MANUSCRIPT TO MY EDITOR. Sure, it was New Year’s Eve and she wasn’t in the office, but it said December 31 on my contract, so I sent the manuscript in on December 31. I hope it’s finished. I won’t be upset to do more revisions, but I always like to make the best effort possible so I hope that at least the manuscript accomplishes what I wanted it to accomplish (it’s the new sections that make me a little bit nervous; other than that I think the MS is fine). We’ll see later in January. Until then, the rest of my MB revisions so I can send that manuscript to my editor. And THEN I can start working on new stuff! New stuff! I can’t believe it! I have a feeling it’ll involve proposals, but still!

I hope everybody’s having a great New Year’s Day morning (my brother’s had better, but I’m fine, if probably more tired than I feel). I think maybe later I’ll head back to Jenny’s to help clean up and then up to Cambria’s dad’s house to watch the Rose Bowl? We’ll see if I can tear myself away from my bed.

Charmin Bathrooms NYC: the full report

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That’s right ladies and germs, last night I made my first (of many, I hope, although it won’t be around much longer so I’d better take advantage while I have the opportunity) foray to the Charmin Bathrooms this year. If possible, it was actually better than last year. Yes! I know, how is that possible you ask. Well, it’s simple. The decorations were better, there was a Duracell station on the third level where I got to play Nintendo Wii for the first time, and there was a disco ball in my bathroom. Also, they took this picture and gave us a copy for free, and a website and code to download it onto our computers–again for free! The only thing that sucks about this picture is that there’s a spotlight above the sleigh and it makes Jenny, Cambria and I look like a trio of washed-out ghosts or something, and Eric is conspicuously in the shadows, which is just weird. Also, it’s hard to see the giant Charmin bear in the back of the sleigh behind our fatheads, but he’s there, trust me.

Cha-cha-cha, as the song goes

There are a lot of things I don’t like about living in New York, and if you asked me I could list them off to you by memory. Like how sometimes it’s the early morning and you’re on the train headed to work and you’ve finally gotten a seat and then suddenly a voice comes over the loud speaker and says that the local train you’re on, the one you ride EVERY MORNING, for some reason (it’s always “train traffic,” the vaguest explanation ever) is going to start going express from 72nd to Chambers. Because your office isn’t anywhere near an express stop, you have to get off, and wait on the other end of the platform for yet another local train to take you to work. This might not seem like a big deal in the context of, like, a global financial crisis or anything, but it is very, very annoying and, really, the last thing you need. The MTA is whackadoo today, people. I guess they’re just practicing their incompetence for the holidays.

BUT, there are some things I love about New York. Central Park. Dallas BBQ. Cupcakes. Convenient public transportation (MOST of the time). And, once a year, at that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, THE CHARMIN BATHROOMS.

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For those of you who don’t know, last year Charmin (the toilet paper people) opened a giant public restroom in Times Square. This place is amazing. It’s two stories and there’s, like, 20 private bathrooms. When I say “private” I mean that it’s as if you’re using the powder room in your parents’ house–they’re real rooms with doors that have knobs, not stalls. The lighting is fantastic, it’s perfectly spotless inside, you have your own sink, and six different kinds of toilet paper to choose from (they like you to vote on your favorite type after you’re finished with your business, and then you get coupons!).

There is a merchandise counter (I picked up a nice comfy Charmin t-shirt last year…which reminds me, I need to find that thing), sledding bears you can have your picture taken with (OH WE DID), charming and friendly personnel, pre-stamped postcards you can send to your friends and family (most of my peeps threw them out because they thought they were junk mail, but it’s the thought that counts, and the postcard also has a coupon), and a dance video they play on a loop which is catchy, but awesomely so. They have people outside dressed like toilets saying things like, “You know you gotta go!” but not in an annoyingly heckling manner like some of the other sales people yelling at you in Times Square.

I have some pictures of us at the Charmin Bathrooms last year, but I just checked and, yup, I look awful in them. Hopefully this year I’ll be more photogenic. Until then…

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Moo-hattan*

*Probably the lamest blog post title ever. My deepest apologies.

It seems that winter has arrived in dear old NYC, because the temperature is in the low thirties (feels like mid-twenties, says the barely helpful weather website I use) and I’ve brought out my ugly black winter coat which, despite being ugly, is pretty warm and has lots of pockets for hiding things like gloves, ear muffs, receipts, movie tickets and even an old cough drop or two.

I can already kind of feel my body and mind going into hibernation. After an active summer in which I lost weight and got a lot done, I’m starting to slow down, eat more carbs, and opt to watch episodes of The West Wing instead of finish revisions of MB or write anything new. My apartment hasn’t reached the sauna-like levels we experienced last February yet (I’m sure that’s coming, though), but it is nice and warm, and the coziness helps with the laziness.

This cannot continue. I’m hoping to shake myself out of this malaise after Thanksgiving and get some serious stuff accomplished by Christmas. As always, inability to work corresponds with inability to move in my bedroom due to laundry and shoes everywhere and not putting things in their place. Organization always helps me get back on track, so because there are no football games to watch this weekend (at least, not any of my teams) and my only current obligation is a viewing of Twilight (!!!11!!1) on Friday night, I can do laundry, go to Trader Joe’s, read, and finish my MB revisions so that I can start my AUT revisions. Lots to do, lots to do!

I thought this might amuse some people. I got a package from my aunt last night full of all sorts of goodies–batteries for my cell phone, which was a very welcome gift because it’s gotten to the point where my phone is near death within hours of being charged (so far the new battery I put in works great), and even better, copies of my cousin Emma’s senior photos, her brother’s school photo from this year, and an extra special bonus picture of me that I’m guessing my aunt stumbled across in her house recently. Here’s the picture:

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Now, I have no idea what’s going on in this picture, and I’ve actually given it some thought. My guess is that I’m around three or four here, and I can’t judge by the facial expression whether I’m crying (possible, I was very sensitive as a young child) or just squinting into the sun and talking to whoever was taking the picture. My shirt says “Manhattan” on it (which is probably why my aunt sent it to me in the first place, other than that it’s sort of funny), but it has what at first I thought was a dog but now I’m pretty sure is a cow on it. Why would a shirt that says “Manhattan” on it have a cow on it? There are no cows in Manhattan, I live here, I know. I plan on calling my aunt on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll get the full story then. I’d love to give this thing the LOLCat treatment, but I can’t think of a funny caption. Any suggestions?

Jobiversary

Today is my one-year jobiversary, or, if you prefer not to use ridiculous portmanteaus for every single thing in your life, my one-year anniversary of being at my job. This is very exciting because it occurs to me, outside of the job I had in college, which I had for four years but doesn’t really count because it consisted of sitting at a residence hall reception desk for three hours at a time, that I’ve never been at a job for a year before. This isn’t because of fickleness, but rather my first job, as an editorial assistant at a textbook publisher, ended at eleven months because I was going to graduate school, and since then, before this job, I’ve only had internships, which have an obvious expiration date. So good for me, I’m finally an adult, or some reasonable facsimile thereof.

Last week (November 2, actually) also marked my one-year anniversary of living in New York. This is a much greater accomplishment than being at a job for a year. Living in New York is hard, yo.

Happy Halloween or…something, whatever

I already talked about how I don’t like Halloween, and I don’t, but there’s no reason why other people shouldn’t like Halloween, so Happy Halloween everybody out there in blog land!

I celebrated Halloween yesterday, kinda, by going with some of my awesome coworkers to Roosevelt Island, where my friend Erin lives in this super cool apartment building that has its own rumpus room or whatever. For those of you not familiar with New York geography, Roosevelt Island is this skinny little island in the East River, between Manhattan and Queens along the Upper East Side and Midtown East. There are only two ways to get there–subway (the F has a station on the island) or tram. Yes, TRAM. Like the ones in Disneyland. That’s how we got to the island, although I’m not quite sure why we did that rather than take the subway, but whatever. It was fun, and the view was amazing, but also terrifying. I’m not acrophobic, but being suspended above the earth makes me nervous, which is the reason I don’t like riding in elevators very much, and I usually spend most of my energy in that sort of situation feverishly imagining plunging to my death. Nevertheless, it was really cool to get a different look at Manhattan. Oftentimes, when you live here or stay here for a while, you start having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, and what should really amaze you just doesn’t anymore. It becomes too familiar, too everyday, for you to truly appreciate it for what it is. So standing on Roosevelt Island, with the Queensboro Bridge looming to my left and all of Manhattan stretched out and sparkling in front of me, was very striking, because it was different, but no less beautiful. Now I understand why Erin calls Roosevelt Island “my island”, because it really does seem like a tiny, private paradise in the midst of all the hubbub of the city.

Anyway, enough schmoopy stuff. For the pre-Halloween festivities we brought three brands of pumpkin ale (Post Road, Smutty Nose, and Shipyard, for conoisseurs), a bunch of pumpkins, and ordered pizza. The security guard in the building was this older woman who was really afraid we were going to throw a frat party or something, that she was going to come in at 11:00 and find somebody crawling up the curtains. We were like, “Yeah, we have to work tomorrow, so…”

We ate the pizza and chatted while The Rocky Horror Picture Show played in the background, then we got down to the business of carving pumpkins. Now, I did not carve my own pumpkin, because I am lazy and didn’t want to carry it all the way back to Morningside Heights, so instead I just “consulted” on Erin’s pumpkin. Really, I just helped everybody scoop out the insides of their pumpkins, which is my favorite part of the whole process. Alex’s pumpkin was an amazing likeness of Jack Skellington, from Tim Burton’s claymation masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas (the one aspect of Halloween I can TOTALLY GET BEHIND–I might actually go pick it up at Best Buy on my way home). Mary’s was a cat, complete with ears. Sunil’s and Erin’s were traditional jack-o-lanterns, and Nicole and Vicky’s were cute, small pumpkins; Nicole’s looked like a mischievous little boy, and Vicky’s looked like a light socket, in a really awesome way.

This morning, Erin came in with a batch of still-warm, incredibly delicious baked pumpkin seeds (okay, another part of Halloween I can totally get behind), Marisa brought in candy corn (fine, a third thing), we listened to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, and I realized how incredibly lucky I am to have coworkers I love to spend time with, at work and outside of work. They really are the best.

Oh my God, you guys!

I have noticed something about myself: I seem to get the most done when I have a lot going on. Like, for instance, this weekend. I told J (when I sent her my revisions and the MB prologue!) that I would be finishing MB this week in California, because I figured, what with my sister finishing up film camp and having to entertain her that I wouldn’t have time to do it. WRONG. This weekend was chock full of activity, and yet here I am, about five pages from the end of the novel. When I left off last night, I was two pages into the epilogue. I will most likely finish in the Washington-Dulles airport during my TWO AND A HALF HOUR LAYOVER tomorrow.

Anyway, my sister had never been to a Broadway show (having never been to New York before this summer), so we went to the TKTS booth in Times Square yesterday. I timed it perfectly, actually. We got there at a quarter to two, got some Starbucks, and we were very close to the front of the line so when they opened up the booth at three (…fifteen, annoyingly), we got right in and bought tickets to Legally Blonde. I LOVE the movie, and I’d heard pretty good things about the show, but I could never really get anyone to go with me. My sister was game, and didn’t really have a preference since her favorite musical, Little Shop of Horrors, isn’t playing on Broadway.

I have to say, I was so pleasantly surprised. It was really cute! Very much in the spirit of the show, and that song, “Oh My God, You Guys!” is so, SO catchy it is now permanently burned in my brain. If possible, the romance between Elle and Emmett is cuter, because they have this whole thing where (probably to keep him on stage more) they give him a little bit of back story (he raised himself up from poverty and paid his way through Harvard law and thinks that Elle’s problems are kind of silly in comparison and tries to tell her that, hey, if you want people to take you seriously you have to be serious and make sacrifices) and more motive. So they spend a lot of time together and become really good friends. Not that the movie doesn’t do an excellent job with that relationship, too, they just do it differently, but I really liked it. The girl who played Elle was the girl who won that MTV show that I didn’t even know existed, the one where they do a search for the new Elle? I’m happy to say that she was really, really good! And the girl who played Brooke Wyndam looked like Amy Poehler, at least from where I was sitting. Anyway. If you’re coming to New York anytime soon, I highly recommend it. Just try not to sit directly in front of the chattiest, most annoying pre-teens in existence, one of whom has your same name, which they will say over and over again until words lose all meaning. TRUST.

Also, on the book front, I’m reading Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait!, which I must confess I just love. It’s weird because one of the main characters in AUT is named Audrey (look at me, casually dropping facts about the book; I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me later) and she is just a way different girl in way different circumstances than Audrey, Wait!‘s Audrey Cuttler and at first it was weird for me to read this word, “Audrey”, that I’d been writing and reading for three years in various incarnations of AUT and have it refer to someone completely different. And even though I love my own Audrey, I have to say that Robin Benway’s Audrey rocks, too (literally, she’s a big music fan). And, despite the fact that it’s sort of a hot mess right now, what with the paparazzi and fans and the evil popuwhore who’s trying to steal her mens and ruin her life, I’d much rather have Audrey Cuttler’s life than my Audrey’s life, insofar as my book is much darker and my Audrey’s existence is more dangerous and I’m incredibly risk averse. Although, I’m also attention-averse, so who really knows? It’s a toss up. Anyway. Not that everybody doesn’t already know that Audrey, Wait! is an incredibly cool book, but I’m just here to say for the record that it is.

4S of July!

Whoa, where the hell have I been? The answer: right where you left me, in temperate (really! I have been far more comfortable walking the streets of this city recently than I was a few weeks ago) New York City. I was playing hostess to my super-best-friends Kim and Jenny, numerous photos of whom you can see on Flickr. We had tons o’ fun! To make it easily digestible, let me break it down for you:

  • Tuesday: The girls got into town. I met up with some former classmates from the University of Chicago at a place called Grassroots on St. Mark’s, where we caught up (our last get-together was in January–February? Whatever, a long time ago) and drank Brooklyn Lager (thumbs down, in case you care, but my taste in beer is pretty low-brow…I actually find Pabst Blue Ribbon palatable, and not ironically). I left around nine and went to Bri’s place in Williamsburg; the girls got in around 10:15, and since we were all starving and ready to drink we cruised around Lorimer for a while until we found a weird little joint called the Alligator Lounge where they comp you a personal-sized pizza when you order a drink! What a wonderful, not to mention delicious, way to lure booze hounds into your bar. After a drink and a pizza I went home because I had to work in the morning. The girls stayed with Bri in Williamsburg.
  • Wednesday: Kim and Jenny met me for lunch. We picked up food at the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center, then went to the park to eat. I dragged them back to my office to fetch my subway map, where a fateful meeting occurred in the break room (more on that in a hot minute!). After work, Kim and Jenny met me and Bri and Katie and Eric, a coworker of mine, at Dempsey’s for trivia. We won…for something? We don’t know, but we ended up with the soundtrack to Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, which I put up on Muxtape for funs. Prepare to have your head blown open. Anyway, after trivia we went to National Underground, a fun cheap old man-type bar that has a nice jazz band on Wednesdays, where we contended with a couple of characters Bri met at Dempsey’s and invited out with us: Trevor, a really big douchebag of the “I’m a genius, I make lots of money, let me impress you with my arrogance and self-centeredness” variety, and his friend Mike, who tried to convince me that democracy is the same as mob rule, which it isn’t. Anyway, Mike was sweet enough but they were both pretty annoying, and Eric, as the only other guy in the group, was very, VERY irritated. He and my friend Jenny hit it off very well, to say the least. The girls went back to Brooklyn and I went home.
  • Thursday: I had a half-day of work, after which I headed down to Union Square for lunch with Katie, Bri, Jenny, and Kim at the Heartland Brewery. Eric and my boss met us afterwards, and we went to Petco to look at the kittens, Bri’s favorite activity, before hitting up a bar on University for happy hour and telling embarrassing stories about each other to my coworkers. The girls went to Brooklyn and I went home; we changed and ate separately, then met at Fat Black, in the Village. Oh, the characters we met there. Two older gentlemen, old enough to be our father’s most definitely, approached us and bought us drinks and talked to us for what seemed like hours, even going so far as to invite us to go sailing with them on the 4th. We had plans with Eric, plus none of us can sail, so we declined, but they were nice (and foreign!) and entertaining. I went home, the girls went back to Brooklyn, and we made plans for the morning
  • Friday (4th of July!): The girls took a car to my place on the Upper West Side and got settled. They went to the liquor store and grocery to get some snack food and, naturally, booze. Eric was supposed to join us in the city for the holiday, but then he texted me and asked if we wanted to go out to his friend Matt’s house in New Jersey, promising food and booze and fireworks (real ones, not, like, Roman candles in someone’s backyard, which Cambria was sure to make sure of before agreeing to go). So to New Jersey we went! It was really a foregone conclusion as soon as I got the TM, because it was so obvious that sparks were flying between Jenny and Eric that even though I told him I had to check with the girls before agreeing, I was all, “Damn, now we have to go to Jersey.” It was so fun, though! The trip out was a nightmare, and the trip home in a cab was expensive, but the food was great, Eric’s friends were so gracious and a genuine blast, and the fireworks were so close! Best line of the night: Eric picked us up from the PATH station in Newark, I get into the front seat and go, “Are you wearing madras shorts?” He was. (Oh, and not to overshare, but the 4th went very well for our lovebirds.)
  • Saturday: Saturday we woke up and went to Times Square to the TKTS booth to get half-priced theater tickets. It was so ridiculous. That place is super organized until you get to the actual place where you can buy the tickets–then it’s chaos. Somebody actually cut Kim in line, some seventeen-year-old blond touristy girl, and Kim was all, “I believe I was first.” She ignored Kim, so this obviously local woman behind Kim started going off on the girl. The girl’s grandmother stepped in and was all, “This is my granddaughter! I’m buying these tickets, this is my granddaughter!” It made little to no sense, and all of them (even though I really appreciated the local woman’s willingness to go to bat for Kim, although technically she was being cut, too, so…) were crazy. It didn’t matter, Jenny got to the front of her line and got us four tickets to Young Frankenstein. Wait, did I say four? I meant five. Yes, they gave us an extra ticket, which we didn’t pay for. Yes, it’s sort of unethical to keep it, but were we seriously going to get back in line and wait for four hours again just to give it back? No. We didn’t scalp it, though. We invited my roommate, who was putting up with having us all in our tiny two-bedroom apartment. Before the show we went to Dallas BBQ which, if you like to drink and you’ve never been, hie ye to the nearest one (there are five Manhattan locations and one in Brooklyn) as soon as you next come here. The drinks are enormous and frozen and delicious, and the food’s not half bad, although Nikki, who’s from Texas, claims it has nothing on real bbq–she’s probs right. Anyway, the show was so fun! Sure, Megan Mulally basically played Karen Walker, but she has an excellent voice and a brilliant stage presence and, as Bri put it, “That’s what the people want.” After the show we went to Carmine’s for a delicious, HUGE after-theater dinner. Then we went home and laid around like cobras.
  • Sunday: Sunday, Jenny and Eric had a date (squee!) so Kim and Bri and I went to Pinch and S’Mac, a really great pizza/gourmet mac and cheese place near the American Museum of Natural History, for lunch and then wandered down the Upper West Side buying things like typewriter-key-pendants and Russian wedding rings and chair earrings. Then we went down to Rockefeller Center; we’d planned to go to the Top of the Rock, but it was expensive and we’re lazy. Instead we perused the NBC Store where I found that they’d ripped off my t-shirt idea, then went to Dean & Deluca for confections and J.Crew, where I bought two skirts on sale for a grand total of less than $60! And to think, I’d been whining about going. Then we headed uptown back to my ‘hood to Jake’s Dilemma, where we met Jenny and Eric and drank like kings on very little cash (Jake’s has a really nice happy hour deal), and then up to my apartment where we drank some more. After Eric left, we played a TV trivia game (I couldn’t find my Phase 10 cards, sadly) and then went to bed.
  • Monday: I had to go back to work, but the girls met me and Eric for lunch. We had sushi, which I’d been craving for a while, at East, a chain with a restaurant near my work that’s never crowded at lunch. I ate there with Katie, Brigitte and the MN crew when they were in town for the City Breathing concert. After work, Eric and I met Cambria down on the LES; we had planned to go to Happy Ending, but they’re closed on Monday nights, as is EVERY SINGLE FUN BAR ON THE LES. So we ended up going to drag queen bingo night at Bowery Poetry Club, where Cambria won a tickety-tack wall clock and Kim and Jenny met us. I was one card away from winning the whole damn pot of money! Then we got a slice of pizza and went to the only open bar on the LES, apparently, Welcome to the Johnson’s, which is this really tacky (in a good way) dive bar that looks like a living room from the ’60s. $2 PBR, people! And a working jukebox. The cute couple said a sad good-bye, but they’ll see each other again soon so it’s okay, and we cabbed it up to my apartment (note to people who party on the LES but live on the UWS–have your cab driver take the FDR to 96th and the transverse across the park–it’s cheaper than having them take the West Side Highway, I have now learned this from experience). Then we crashed. It was a long weekend.
  • Tuesday: I woke up and said goodbye to the girls, then went to work. I think they went to the Met, then to LaGuardia for a nightmare flight home. I miss them so much already. Thanksgiving in SD!

And that’s what I’ve been doing that has prevented me from blogging, writing, reading, eating properly, drinking moderately, cleaning my apartment and doing laundry. Now it’s back to business as usual–I’m reading The Likeness, the follow-up to that Tana French novel, In the Woods, that I adored so much, trying to get back into the writing rhythm, sleeping (not enough, because I’m still bushed every single night), working, and cooking healthy meals for myself. It might be more productive and better for me, but it’s WAY less fun. (Except reading and writing–I like that.)

No new news on the book front as yet. I hope to hear something soon!

Bits and pieces

For some reason (I think it’s sleep deprivation due to the uncomfortable sauna-like levels of heat in my apartment) I’m super tired, and I don’t have enough energy to put together a coherent post, so I’m falling back on the crutch of all bloggers–the list!

  • Finished In the Woods by Tana French on Sunday and I literally had to lay down and take a nap afterwards because I couldn’t focus on anything else–I couldn’t read another book, I definitely couldn’t write, and I couldn’t even really read or goof off on the internets. It was SO GOOD, you guys. I kind of wish I’d saved Rites of Spring (Break) for after In the Woods because I really needed some kind of balm to soothe my flayed heart. I was very deeply affected by it, and as my dear, brilliant professor William Veeder always said (quoting Henry James), “In the arts, feeling is always meaning.” I wasn’t, unlike some people (a.k.a. facebook reviewers and my coworker Mary), disappointed with the ending, because I really, truly believe that Tana French is telling the truth when she says that she’s not done with Rob Ryan. I think I may have had such a strong reaction because the book is sort of similar to AUT, in that it’s a mystery involving the death of a young girl with a male narrator who is traumatized and fucked up by things in his past who solves the case with a female partner. Rob Ryan reminds me a lot of my protagonist, the character I spent six years crafting and living with, the one who still won’t fade away like an old soldier, who insists on having another book which I’m actually sort of pumped to write even though I know I won’t get to it seriously for a while…anyway. Read In the Woods–it’s beautiful, and I’m not even mad at it like I was at Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, which means a lot. I’m super excited for The Likeness, which comes out July 17.
  • Discovered the perfect way to get over post-amazing-book depression: Anne Fadiman. (Sorry, this is not to say that Anne Fadiman writes non-amazing books, but I always find that the familiar essay lifts my spirit in the way other genres sometimes can’t.)
  • My busy weekend turned out to be pretty low-key after all. On Friday I had drinks at Cooper 35, this very very cheap Asian pub near Cooper Union, below Astor Place, that we go to sometimes, with Katie and Nikki and their coworker Caroline, then I went home to “do laundry”, a.k.a. read and write. On Saturday I actually did my laundry (er…most of it), then I went to Nikki’s apartment in Brooklyn for lasagna and berry cobbler and games. It was delicious (the food) and fun (the games) and nicely relaxing. The on Sunday I lazed around, finishing In the Woods and writing, and then met up with Carmen, my BFF from college, and her fiance Tim and his sister who lives in D.C. for dinner at La Lanterna in the Village and then drinks at Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar I’ve been known to frequent, where Katie and Cambria joined us. Also, there was lots of lightning and thunder but no rain (which was good, because we were outside), and for a long time we thought it was late-night Pride-related fireworks, but actually now I think not. Yesterday I saw my friend Mike from my Review days (we met at Grand Central for a lunch and catch-up session), then back with Carmen and Tim last night for drinks at The View, the rotating bar at the top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and then dinner at Patsy’s in Union Square. Tonight it’s drinks with University of Chicago people (there are not as many of us in New York as there are people I went to undergrad with in California, curiously) on St. Marks and then over to Cambria’s to wait for the imminent arrival of the San Diego chapter of the 4S–Kim and Jenny! You have no idea how excited I am about this. All four of us haven’t been together in one place since…San Diego, St. Patrick’s Day 2006? Over a year, in any case. It’s a watershed event! So, anyway, my life is full of goings-on, but not quite at the apocalyptic level I had been anticipating. What, me melodramatic?
  • No word yet on developments from the book front. You’ll know when I do/am allowed to say anything.

Um…I think that’s it?  Oh, and I got an air conditioning unit for the living room! So maybe the apartment won’t be sweltering when Kim and Jenny come to stay with me (they’re staying with Bri for the first couple of days). Here’s hoping our super puts it in the window tomorrow. Lata!