Out on the tiles

Dear You,

 

I have to tell you something because it’s killing me. Which they tell you in school (and for the rest of your life when you are tuned to that frequency of receiving advice from the great writers of our planet) is the only reason for writing anything:

I’m on the kitchen floor, a wilted cliche in an apron. A Bourbon on my right and a roasting chicken on my left. I can’t stand up because I just can’t bear it. Not the act of it, but being that high off the ground. Do you know what I mean?

Here’s a story if you don’t:

I moved a pillow off my mother’s bed and found her arm hanging there. She was underneath it and I knew that without having to look and instead I yelled at it and then hordes of people were suddenly there, trying to do things to her and to me and I swatted them away and told them to do the sensible thing for chrissakes and call 911. Sensible: call 911 for a dead woman.

Anyway.

Once that piece of business was out of the way, it was safe to let go, so I went to the floor. My very well-meaning boyfriend put his elbows under my armpits and tried to lift me, a dumbwaiter to a deadweight. He grasped me and held me and I pummeled his arms and begged him to let me go. Let me go to the floor.

Many details have vaporized these last 8 years, a panic-inducing phenomenon that I spend a large chunk of my time fighting. Remind me to tell you about how I spent 2 very adrenaline-fueled days ordering the coroner’s report for this section of the memoir, only to receive it and realize what I held in my hands was something I had no right to inflict upon myself as a human being and daughter. What I wouldn’t do to have one of those conditions like Marilu Henner has, who can remember every day of her life; can recall it on command. (It’s true, it was on Oprah.)

But one of these details that occurs to me now as I sit here is that my actual words were: Let me fall. Let me fall, I begged him.

There’s a big difference. I’m on this floor right now because I cannot write. I cannot write and I cannot not write, so I’m going to sit here until my chicken is done and cry about it. And when I’m done crying, I’m going to face some very difficult truths about why I’m not writing.

I wish the answer were as simple as: it’s very difficult material. Life has been difficult, for as long as I can remember. It’s time to enjoy myself, after all. I have brilliant, generous friends, unconditional love from a good husband, a job writing things (nevermind what), and coworkers who crack me up.
 After all, why would I want to revisit that stuff instead of having a good time, for a change?

But that’s not it, sadly. I could manage it if it were. In fact, what it is is this: I have to tell this story in the best way anyone has ever seen, or there will be no redemption for dying. In lieu of heaven, I believe in art. In lieu of an afterlife, there is the legacy I will leave behind in a body of work. So if I don’t get it right, I will die and disappear forever. And so will she.

So I’m not writing. Because, fuck. The stakes.

 

That’s something else they drill into you in school: the stakes must be high. In every story, what are the stakes? Not high enough. Make them higher.

 

These stakes are high enough, fuckers. I wish I could get your voices out of my head. Maybe then I could get up off this floor.

 

Chicken’s done.

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A Funny Then Angry Then Funny Again, Hopefully Poignant and Stirring Essay About Being a Woman in America Right Now

In 1997 I was enrolled as a theater student in a small college’s somewhat prestigious program. The buildings were from the ’40s and so all had wonderful booming acoustics and peeling linoleum, and a slightly geriatric smell that lent our studies a proper academic gravity. It is this smell I recall now when I think back on this moment, a moment that has burned me up for close to 15 years. My anger—at the creep, at myself for not confronting him, at Teeth for allowing it to happen—double, double toils and troubles inside of me, bubbling over two more times in my life. I’ll get to them in a moment.

In the morning’s movement class, we learned stage combat from an accomplished pro, a guy with a square jaw and comically perfect teeth (Teeth) who worked weekends at Knott’s Berry Farm doing the stunt show, and still shows up every now and then in the fight scene of a movie I’m watching. But movement is about so much more than visual tricks—it’s about inhabiting a character, bringing it to life through skillful manipulation of your posture, your walk, your center of gravity. Richard III, of course, is crippled and perpetually in pain, his arm pulled in and a spine curved into a protective hump, giving him a cowardice and cruelty that will impart itself also in his voice. The class exercises looked like great fun to an outsider, but they were constructed to train us to view body and voice as one instrument—push one button and the noise is different.

We were in the smaller of two theaters, a homey structure across the street from the main campus. The exercise that day was “Sculpture,” where half the small class was cast as sculptors and the other half as silent, malleable clay. My partner was a fellow who’d joined the theater program just that semester, a mousy, slightly older guy whom we all thought of as creepy for the way he squinted from behind his glasses and had the rigid movements and speech of a scientist. We placed bets on why he was roving around a theater department full of 19-year-olds: pedophile trying to do better, idiot, bucket-lister with a terminal illness. He bragged about completing the Stella Adler Academy of Acting in L.A., which is like bragging that you went to Starbucks U. And given his skills, we mused that old Stella must be auditioning students solely on ability to pay.

That’s the other thing: this guy had money—compared with us young struggling actors, anyway. He was rumored to have been paid pretty handsomely to do some kind of consulting for TV shows like “ER.” He promised us all he’d arrange a trip to a real set, crow about how he knew Ron Howard, and would wear the ball cap from a movie he was supposedly involved with (“Bruce Willis is starring”). Even though he was creepy, he was assigned to be my sculptor for this exercise, and I was a Serious Actress. Wiping my mind clean, I let this man put his hands on me, trusting in the spirit of theater to bring nobility and decency to the world.

Seven of us were being formed by another seven sculptor classmates, under the watchful eye of Teeth, who crossed his arms and strolled between our pairs. At first, everything was fine: the creep gently pushed on my shoulders, indicating I should go down on my knees. I kept my face blank and my eyes closed, as ordered. Then he pushed on my back, pulling my arms out to support me so I was on all fours. I was concerned about where this was heading, but still trusting in the exercise, when he bent my elbows so I was now crouched on the stage floor with my ass high up in the air, my right cheek resting on the floor. The stance was active, not passive, meaning I was still supporting myself with my forearms. As everyone finished positioning their partners, Teeth said, “Sculptures, when you open your eyes, I want you to make a face that matches the position of your body.”

I was bamboozled! I’d been had! There was only one face I could make in this pose, and that asshole knew it. Both those assholes knew it. The only reasonable face to match this pose—this active, ass-in-air-face-on-ground pose—was to look like I was in the throes of sexual ecstasy, a humiliating cherry on an insulting cake. I didn’t see the theatrical merit in this position at all. In what play would you be seeing the actress’s rump thrust into the air like this, Uncle Bleeding Vanya? Does Lady MacBeth seduce her husband into committing murder most foul by jutting her arse to the rafters and commanding him wordlessly to have a go?

That’s not even the most outrageous part. This is: right before I was to open my eyes and freeze in my chosen face, with half the class watching (including my then-boyfriend), the creep—not the teacher, the creep!—made a big blowsy point of lecturing me, “Now remember, you’re acting, so you have to commit to this.”

I wanted to leap up and rip his throat out. You? Mr. Stella Fucking Adler, are going to lecture me about acting, you creepy slime, you name-dropper with halitosis and flat, embarrassing line deliveries? I was Nina in “The Seagull” on this very stage! I cried real tears during my final monologue!

The fact is, I would have done anything for theater. It was my Destiny. I wanted to be an actress since I was five. I clung to the dream through a tough childhood. I was showing a talent for it too, which committed me even further to the humble study of it—as humble as any 21-year-old actress can be. I obeyed every order from directors, executed each command with as much dedication and integrity as was possible. I wanted more than anything in the world to go from here to Yale, USD, Louisville, Juilliard. But it wasn’t even that the creep questioned my devotion to acting that enraged me most; it was the taunting way he acknowledged that he had put me in a sexually degrading position, and that I couldn’t do anything about it.

——

A few days ago, piggish radio clown Rush Limbaugh went down in infamy (again) by calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke  a “slut” for testifying before Congress against the Fortenberry, Rubio and Blunt legislation “that would allow even more employers and institutions to refuse contraception coverage, and then respond that the nonprofit clinics should step up to take care of the resulting medical crisis; particularly when so many legislators are attempting to defund those very same clinics.” That’s not all—he demanded she release sex tapes, compared covering women’s contraception to sharia law, and went on to slander her and her fellow female students over 53 times in three days. So here I am, quaking with this old familiar rage again. In November, the New Yorker published a piece about Planned Parenthood’s early plight, about how women associated with it were arrested, humiliated, beaten. About how a woman even daring to talk about contraception was outcast and scandalized. In 1916, people. That we are still having this conversation 100 years later, when 99% of American women are using contraception, is troubling enough, but the tacit complicity of America in the subjugation of women—the derailment by conservatives, both female and male, of any policy that establishes our sovereignty over our own bodies, including coining the term “feminazi” to describe any woman concerned with women’s rights and health matters—is appalling. Never mind that boner-inducing Viagra is defended by these same blokes as a “legitimate medical condition,” whereas the Pill, which can prevent ovarian cysts and treat PMDD, acne, and a slew of other debilitating symptoms of hormone imbalances, is derided as a sex aide. As the bumper sticker goes: If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.

                              Sluts, 1916.

Exactly ten years after the Sculpture incident, I was studying writing at grad school in North Carolina. It was a low-residency program, meaning you could live anywhere and just needed to show up for one week twice a year. We were all—professors and students—in the hotel bar after a day of seminars, workshops, and readings. We were sharing the bar, it seemed, with a clutch of Midwestern salesmen on some corporate mission to bring stupidity and tackiness to whatever room they inhabited. An important note about my state: my mother had just been murdered about two years before, by her boyfriend. I was the one who found her body. As I sat in the hotel bar on this night, I was waiting to go to trial, which would involve leaving my home and job, boyfriend and dog for a month to go back to California. Each week I was told to pack and give notice at work, only to have it postponed at the last second. This happened off and on for about a year. I was having recurring nightmares about being trapped in that darkened bedroom alone with her blood, her spirit angry and unsettled in there with me. This was my state when a chubby middle-aged man in Dockers grabbed my ass.

He did it in front of his friends, like a show. My people didn’t see it—they were on the other side of the bar. What ensued has been better and more comprehensively discussed in an essay called “We Hit People,” published here by Prime Number Magazine. After the fight was over and he’d been sort of reluctantly ushered out of the bar, I crawled off to cry in the lap of a female novelist I was terribly intimidated by, but who would be fully aware of how terrible the world is for women. I let go. I  ranted through my tears that it wasn’t fair that men felt they could put their hands on us, bend us to their will, and kill us if we didn’t submit. I cried that I was taught to be proud of America and its freedom, but that the system is designed to make you feel ashamed if you don’t fall in line, that even my well-intentioned male friends patently accept the paradigm and sneer at me for not being satisfied with my “equality.” These are the same men who have said things like “affirmative action is reverse racism” and “I protect Rush’s right to free speech, no matter what he says.”

The ideology behind both sentiments may be pure (I prefer “precious,” like my college boyfriend’s stoned political posturings), but the sentiments themselves, bereft of context, are as irresponsible as they are useless. Free speech isn’t what’s at stake here—it’s society’s support of, through compensation and consumption, violent and hateful messages about women. About anyone: Jews, African Americans, Muslims, immigrants. As Sir Thomas More suggests in “A Man For All Seasons,” when we remove every barricade from our right to do and say as we please, who can stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

If that troubles you still, you could look to Howard Zinn’s trope that you can’t be neutral on a moving train. As for me, I walk with my keys positioned so I can jab them in the eyes of an attacker. 1 in 3 of us will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. That train’s not just moving; it’s hurtling down a mountain.

——-

The creep on the stage that morning had the right to do as he pleased with me—and he exercised it in a bit of a vicious, unkind way. He did not do it for the theater, or even to test my resolve or ability as an actress; his unnecessary, hectoring lecture made that clear. His intention was to prove he had power over me in that moment, that no matter what my feelings were, I had to obey, even though the only plausible face I could make to go with such a pose was a perverted mask, something beneath any actor, even one from Stella Adler.

My mind raced through the alternatives in the seconds before opening my eyes: I could feign a grotesque death, having dropped from my hanging rope with a broken neck; I could be listening with mild concern for an oncoming train. But his pious little lecture—Now remember—let me know that he fully expected me to endure an uncomfortable moment. Just take it. So when the moment came to freeze in position with our faces, I crossed my eyes and stuck out my tongue, my mouth open in a cartoonish grin. My classmates giggled and shook their heads. Teeth looked disappointed. Then, to really drive it home, I loudly moaned “Errrrrrr!” like I was severely retarded. He’d made a mockery of the exercise, of my commitment, and so I mocked him right back. “Errrrrr!” I continued, trying to work up some drool.

The creep wrung his hands and slunk back. I can see his distress now, possibly aggrandized by the selectivity of memory. But in my head, that’s how it goes: I refused to be bullied into being a good little girl. You can tell me to shush, to accept things as they are, to not fight back, to love unfettered free speech and to just endure what is being said about me and about women, no matter its effect on society or on the policies that affect women’s lives.

But I will simply reply: Errrrrr.

"Don't SCREW with me, Burt!"

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Evernote This

While hanging out with other smart women with smart women problems (anxiety, rage, misshapen molars from grinding), my friend Sarah concluded that we’re miserable because we used to milk cows and plant food gardens and build houses. “We wouldn’t have time to freak out,” she pointed out. “We’d be dropping into bed exhausted at sundown.”

And we three enjoyed a few seconds of imagining a prairie front blowing the hair from our unadorned faces as we walked out to the well, no phone’s insistent blurping with text messages; no anxieties about whether to Tweet, Facebook, blog, or fart the idea we just had; and no agonizing whenever someone showed up on Tumblr doing the thing we swore we were just about to do.

Of course, frontier life had its disadvantages, such as miniscule life spans, chronic dry skin, and—oh, yes—being forced into a sow-like state of constant breeding and suckling for as many times as your husband could put it to you. (Which some people would be very happy to see return!) But our collective longing for simpler times is part of why pickling, DIY, knitting, and all that is making a huge comeback. Men, too. We’ve all had it with this stupid Information Age. What do we do with all this information, anyway?

I copied a few Moleskine journals’ worth the ideas into Evernote thinking it would create action, but I ended up just forgetting I even had the stupid program. (Still, I highly recommend Evernote as a great place to see all your ideas and inspiration and sketches and to-do items in one clean place.) I love Pinterest, but can see how it would get terribly out of hand if I decided to have whole boards dedicated just to the color yellow or interesting oil slicks or other random reasons to avoid doing anything of substance.

Is anyone actually using Evernote and Pinterest to enrich and facilitate their creative endeavors? If so, fuck you. (Just kidding, please let me eat your still-beating heart.) I’d like to know how people are getting things done, or if they are just better and better and putting things between them and getting things done.

I can’t imagine that particular ability would help you win Frontier House.

For you, from my favorite essay in Mr. Vonnegut’s Man Without a Country:

Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that.

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Your dreams will come true sort of in this way

This is exactly what my writing career has felt like:

At first, I dreamed it—and I dreamed it so strong and big I thought there’s no way it can’t happen.

Then I invested in it: time, money, energy. Grad school was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, and if anyone wanting to write—SERIOUSLY write (can do nothing else and will die otherwise and strives to write the best that the world has ever seen and known)—is entertaining the thought, I highly recommend low-residency programs like the one I went to.

Then I waited for the giant burst of self-actualizing success to come: I’d dash off a brilliant memoir the likes of which had never been written before! Something like Mary Karr’s poetic treatment of her fucked-up childhood meets Amy Hempel’s sparse, startling sentences meets Miranda July’s fearless multiform art! I’d land an agent in a heartbeat and be the first graduate picked up by a major publishing house!

But instead came doubt. And doubt tied my hands. And the memoir moved from the page into my head, where it farted and belched with a noisy stink that I ignored, but which curled my lip into a perpetual sneer.

And I downplayed my strengths. I worked for nothing. I worked very hard for a little more than nothing (although this was, in itself, a kind of training. A writer must learn to cut wood—heaps and heaps of precise timber, hundreds at a clip, with no room for imperfection or thinking. It’s how one becomes an expert whittler—which is what many of the finest writers are.)

I never lost my momentum, though, and one day I rolled into the right situation, where my value was seen and my talent fully appreciated. And then again…and that gave me even more momentum, and then more…

And then my prices went up.

The End.

(Writers will notice this clip is also a metaphor for the process of writing. Elusive, elusive, elusive, then bang! Things happen and make children scream.)

Discussion Questions:

  • What is the driving ethos behind almost every Coen Brothers film?
  • Even “Raising Arizona”?
  • …really? Okay, I can see that. Yeah, you know what, I definitely see it.
  • Should children be allowed to roam the streets freely after school?
  • Define the shopowner’s decision to raise the price of the hula hoop in terms of capitalism: Should health care and education be privatized, according to your findings? Discuss on Facebook until people start blocking you.

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A Dragon Looks Ahead

Fnert, I need to get my life straight. I was a better adult as a kid than I am as an adult.

Okay, so I still have the lousy work ethic I had as a kid. Must ask someone who wasn’t raised by wolves: is a work ethic born or bred? If bred, then I was cheated out of one and must nail one together somehow.

If born, then I’m off the hook. Procrastinators of the world, unite tomorrow! Sometime in the afternoon or whenever.

I have a good life, but I can’t feel it. I’m too busy with anxietymonster. Quick, do nothing!

I second-guess every decision, and then third, fourth, and fifth-guess it. To blog/tweet/update Facebook status/write essay, short story, novel or not to blog/tweet/update Facebook status/write essay, short story, novel? That is the question. And we all know what happened to Hamlet. Hell, he took the whole family down with him.

I don’t care that, at 35, my finest eggs have likely been laid; I refuse to have a baby until I’m no longer Hamlet. Also, do I want to bring a child into a world where “Toddlers and Tiaras” is perfectly legal but a nipple slip is apocalyptic?

This entry wasn’t supposed to be about my reproductive fence-sitting, but it is about fence-sitting in general. I do nothing because I worry too much, and I worry too much because the worst thing I can do is invite criticism from the likes of me. It’s a nasty business, self-loathing.

Because I cannot seem to write in a diary anymore (I’ll claim the decreasing ability to write longhand as a form of evolution, like a shrinking pinky toe and having no wisdom teeth), I’m here going to state my resolutions for this year, the Year of the Dragon. My year! May my passion, damnably high standards, and fertile mind drive me to riches and not ruin.

1. Pick my battles. I have only so much time and energy. Most of the time, when I start to blow up about something and chase it down the rabbit hole, it’s because I want to avoid the Thing That Shall Not Be Named*.

*: Writing my book

2. Get my old ass back. Not what you think. I used to be a terrific ass. Someone once even called me “braying.” Ten years of theater and improv taught me not to second-guess myself – to throw out jokes even if they don’t work, do voices, make faces, say outrageous things. Even if no one else got me, I used to crack myself up. What a wonderful gift. I’m becoming Captain Bum-Out

3. Get my old ass back. Now it’s what you think. I’ll get in amazing shape and take a bunch of vanity pictures, because it’s all downhill from here.

4. Sing in the car every time. EVERY TIME. Sing in the shower. Sing while cleaning, while cooking. Sing, sing, sing.

5. Stop obsessing over how shitty my memory is getting. Everyone’s memory is shitty. I need to commend myself on my extensive knowledge of ’80s pop culture and relatively firm grip on grammar rules and just relax about not being able to call up my favorite lines of poetry in conversation. Those people are assholes, anyway.

6. Stop hating women who are getting accolades for doing what you think you could be doing better.  It’s not their fault you’re a lazy person with serious mental problems. Also, good for them/us. Start seeing women as sisters, not ghastly phantoms here to torment you for your shortcomings. (Some women honestly do suck huge donkey dicks of mediocrity, but enough about Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler.)

7. Hug more. Not every problem needs to be solved. Arms do what brains cannot.

8. Finish the goddamned memoir. My great-grandma Zelma Swift would have said “You don’t make a pie with your head, dummy.”

9. When it comes to writing and submitting work: Grab snake. Toss.

10. Rely less on meanness to be funny. Tina Fey said in a 2004 interview with Bust magazine that in your teens and 20s you can be mean, but keep it up, and you’ll be a cunt by 40. There’s a wonderful challenge in being funny without being mean. I mean, I’ll still say mean shit of course. Of COURSE. It’s funny to say mean things, especially about real assholes. But I need to put a few more tools in the shed. Photoshop helps.

Alright, Intermess. You’re my witness. Also, look for my t-shirt, soon to come: It’s not oversharing if you never undershare.

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Filed under lists, self-help, Uncategorized, writing commandments, Zen and shit

Inspiration – (Doubt + Internet Noise) = 2012

Oh my God. I just wrote the most magnificent blog post of all time. And WordPress deleted it right as I published it.

It was about not second guessing myself all the time and resolving to give in to my inspiration.

 

Hi ho.

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Deborah Joyce Williams McReynolds 1954-2004: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I didn’t know it, either, so don’t feel bad. I just read that October—in addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness Month—is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What, Domestic Violence can’t get its own month? Give Domestic Violence Awareness January, so the NFL wears purple for the Superbowl.

That will get some interesting conversations flowing in male-dominated living rooms around the country.

Besides, I don’t adore sharing my birth month with domestic violence. Nor would my mother, who would consider October a most joyous month. A magical and life-changing month: I was her first baby.

Besides again, it was July when she was killed by her live-in boyfriend.

July 10, 2004.

Everyone likes statistics. Here are some:

1 in 8 women have a chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime, while 1 in 4 women (and 1 in 13 men) will experience domestic violence in their life.

According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, an average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence every day. (And these are just the cases that have been reported. )

And here are some more, from lawcrossing.com:

  • Every 9 seconds, a woman in the United States is battered
  • Domestic violence is the single major cause of injury to women – more than muggings and car accidents combined
  • Domestic violence is the cause of 30% of permanent physical disabilities in women
  • A full 50% of murdered women in the U.S. are due to a spouse or boyfriend’s violence
  • 60% of American marriages are tainted by domestic violence

. . . .

Here are more statistics. These ones are mine.

Number of times my mother hit, threw things at, or threatened with bodily harm various men in my presence: A dozen or more

Number of times I was ever afraid for my mother’s life: 0

Odds I would have given that my mother would win a physical fight with any male or female: 20 to 1.

Number of times I saw my mother and her boyfriend (let’s call him Junior) together over their 3+ years of living together: about 25

Number of times I saw him hit her or touch her threateningly: 0

Number of times my mother—it would come out at the trial—had told a neighbor, coworker, night watchman, etc. that she was in danger: at least 6

Number of times she told me that she was afraid of Junior: 1

Number of times the upstairs neighbor heard my mother scream the night she was killed: 1

Number of times he heard her cry “It hurts” as he walked past her bedroom window: 2

Number of times Junior had stabbed her with a steak knife in the neck: Several, according to the only page of the Coroner’s Report I can hold steady.

Number of days she lay dead beneath a blanket in her room until I found her: 3

. . . .

Number of times I told people “He was very nice whenever I saw them together. He was a sweet enough guy.”: 20 or more, not including 12 jurors, judge, stenographer, 2 bailiffs, and several friends and family members.

Number of times he’d had a restraining order put out against him by his ex-wife for threatening her with a gun in the presence of their two young children: 1

Probability that my mother knew about this, even though no one else did: Unknown

Year the National Domestic Violence Registry (run by a non-profit) was set up: 2007

Cost to access it: $25

Chances that a woman in an abusive relationship would risk purchasing that access with her credit card: I’m going to go with 1 in 300.

. . . .

Number of times I have volunteered at a women’s shelter since 2004: 0

Number of reasons I have for that: 1

. . . .

Number of women you probably know right now who are in a violent relationship and you have no idea, even though you’re smart, suspicious of everyone, and have even asked outright: I wish I could tell you.

.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Know your neighbors, your friends. Watch how a fighter begins to slump as the year drags on. Watch how her shoulders begin to sag and her voice soften. Watch how she stares at her cuticles when you ask her if she is in any danger. And don’t listen when she says “It’s just for a little while longer. Besides, he’s being sweet right now. I’m just going to keep the peace until I get some money.”

That was the last thing I heard my mother say. A week later, she was dead. And I’m so goddamned sorry.

How many of you will know—or already know—what I mean?

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The Swing Shift: Erotica E-Novels I Might Write To Pay the Rent

WARNING: (IM)MATURE CONTENT

I stumbled upon this local publisher of erotica e-books—did you know these people are making 50% on the download fee of their stuff? I mean, there’s total market saturation here—the list of ridiculous made-up names is quite long (how long was it?)—but I mean, crack the formula, use your imagination, write halfway decent characters, and you could rise to the top of their bestseller list in no time! There’s gold in these horny hills!

The best reading of all might be the summaries of these books, though. The names alone are genius. I mean it, their roster reads like a memorial at a mass funeral of strippers. Here are some of my pitches. Vote on your fave!

Pork Factory

by Lark Labiano

Ginny Aspen is new to Brooklyn and needs a job. She starts waitressing at a tiny Williamsburg supper club with a dark secret…by night it becomes a free-for-all sex orgy between the neighborhood’s hot young chefs. Ginny unwittingly stumbles in on one late-night man feast, which really gives new meaning to the word “butchery.” After she is discovered peeping by Athens Ramsteed, the hot hairy-chested charcuterier, the guys give her a sexy lesson in nose-to-tail eating.

$6.99

Friends With Unemployment Benefits

by Brynna Saint James

When Cajun stud Remy LaChance turns up at the Texas Unemployment Office just before closing, his file is handed over to sexy Skye Chesterfield, a temp with a thing for bad boys. But Remy has a dark secret—he’s a vampire. When their interview runs late into the night, Remy finds he can’t restrain his bloodlust…nor can he prove he’s made at least five job searches since filing for benefits. Will the office temp-tress help him find an everlasting love, or at least 80% of his previous quarter’s wages?

$6.99

UF Oh!

by J.G. Papagayo

Nymphomaniac Samantha Knox is pleasuring herself on a long, boring drive through the New Mexico desert late at night, when she comes upon a spaceship crashed in an arroyo. She soon discovers its crew is a slew of sexy aliens. The extra-hot-terrestrials tell Sam they power their ship’s engines on lady orgasms—will she be able to help them on their scintillating star trek? And will she find that green is the new black?

$6.99

The T&A Party

by Sandee Dunes

A Democratic campaign adviser enlists DC private dick Jericho Johnson to dig up dirt on the opposition. Slinking around Capitol Hill’s underground sex club scene, the detective gets more than he bargained for when he stumbles upon an “Eyes Wide Shut”-type masked orgy of congresspeople. The cocky caucus captures Jericho and must convince him that raising taxes and allowing Mexicans access to healthcare would lead to total economic collapse. Their secret weapon? The infamous oral abilities of the Speaker of the House. Will Jericho help take back the country…on his back?

$6.99

 

 

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TrueStory Cards: A New Line of Greeting Cards I Spent Today Inventing Instead of Finding a Job

Today is my 35th birthday and I’m unemployed, but I have eleventy thousand ideas that no one is paying me to have. What a fucking waste. Somebody out there is really screwing the pooch. I mean it, I’m a goldmine, dummies.

So I’m obsessed with the life-sized dioramas at the Natural History Museum in NYC. When I move there, I will spend every weekend taking photos and making honest cards out of them. Last time I was there, I got the moose and the wild pig, because they’re my favorites. Also, this thing:

Does anybody know what I am?

So here are a few examples — whaddaya think, should I run with it? Or am I just deluded from a long morning of crying and Vietnamese iced coffee?


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