Awkward Two-Year-Later Check-in

I have not been here since February 2019 and I don’t have a good reason for that. But I have some theories:

For the past decade or so, I’ve had a blog somewhere on the internet. I go through “seasons” of writing in these blogs, and the end of these seasons have been determined by any number of things. As far as I can tell, though, I usually stop writing because 1) I start to hate what I write or 2) I run out of time to truly “run my blog like a business” (lol), or 3) I assume no one cares about a weird interaction I had at a gas station one time, so I close up shop and quietly recluse myself until further notice. Seeing all of the options listed out like this, I now realize that they’re all actually sort of the same option. But no matter the reason, the reality is that my blogging season of late-2017 to early-2019 has ended. Goodnight, sweet princess. 

There have been loose themes to most of these blogging ventures, and when I lose the already-split thread, I lose the blog. For example, I had one blog that was for “humor writing.” (It was also my only attempt at Tumblr, which is truly the wrong platform for me because I don’t “do” pictures or images, and I HATE GROUP WORK so the sharing and interacting element was a tiny nightmare.) I spit out a few humor pieces that were sort-of-kind-of funny, and I even solicited funny friends to contribute every once in a while. While that was fun, it was also juuuust enough work for it to sometimes feel not-fun. Perhaps more importantly, I didn’t want to be funny all the time. This issue repeated itself over and over in all the other blogs, because I got tired of making myself always talk about the same thing (adulthood! finding the meaning in the seemingly insignificant! LA is weird!) in the same way for an audience that was, uh, small. 

That much time/energy/thought/etc. has a way of feeling “not worth it,” which is not a very romantic admission about writing, but it’s the truth. Because here’s the thing: I care a lot about what I write and what I post. When I write, I slice off a small piece of my heart and leave it on the page. I’ve always been this way. I guess this is what happens when you’ve kept a diary for 25 years. Now, this isn’t a brag or even an endorsement for telling the whole truth every time you create something. I should also mention that I’ve written plenty of things that are 10000% imagined and made-up. But the core of most of my writing is usually a hyper-specific emotion that I experienced once, and the feelings that came after, and then I compress it all into a teeny-tiny, about-to-burst kernel and hide it inside of the fiction (and also inside of myself!). And then when it’s time to write, I sit and think about that one time when I was 18 and I told a guy I had a crush on that I was “really getting into Broken Social Scene” but I was so nervous to talk to him that I fucked up the band name and I said “Social Broken Scene.” And now 13 years later, I still think about that and I can feel my face flush and my lower back start to sweat. But instead of writing the story as it happened, I will convert it into 5000 words of fiction that tiptoe up to the edge of Embarrassment and just peer over. And even though I’ve chosen not to tell the actual story, climbing up to the ledge just to peer over takes a lot of energy, too. No matter how you slice it, writing can be exhausting. 

In terms of my personal blog protocol, though, my point is this: I don’t want to present anything that is untrue. I’ve tried on a couple of different writing voices over the years, and none of them fit, and I would always rather show up as myself (which is…such an embarrassing thing to say! Don’t worry, I’ll think about it for the rest of my life). But I don’t want to share too much, either. This is a public-facing platform, I have a job that does not require me to have a social media presence, and I have older family members on the internet. HARD PASS on exposing too much of myself! I also don’t get paid to do this. Did you know that? I’m sure you did. (Though I secretly hope that at least one of you is like…but I thought that’s why you moved to LA. To blog…professionally!) There are few rewards here–or anywhere, really–for slicing up your whole heart for the internet to passively consume. There are absolutely circumstances where it’s worth it to do so, and I work really hard to identify those opportunities. But I can honestly say that a blog (at this time in my life anyway) is probably not the best place to lay it all out there every single time I post. 

Which is how I stop posting. 

I realize now, 10 years and thousands of words later, that I back off from the blog when it starts to feel like I’m not saying enough real things. Or like I’m one big wind gust away from being knocked into the canyon and just spilling my guts. (Also, if you have any suggestions on how to further this cliff/canyon metaphor, let me know, I’m not “outdoorsy,” per se.) The stopping is protective, as most stoppings usually are. 

But I’d like to find something a little more in-between. 

It’s been a difficult, surreal, confusing year for many of us, myself included. I don’t know what to say about it, because there is no neat and easy way to say you miss the world. As is my blog nature, I’m choosing not to be pithy because that feels weird, but I absolutely am not going to spill aforementioned guts anywhere, because that feels weird, too. I wrote A LOT between March of last year and now (brag!) but only a few people have read any of it, including the fine editors and contest readers at myriad publications and festivals who straight-up rejected me. Which is fine! The point, though, is that I have written. It’s just the blog that needs figured out.

I recently re-read* The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. This passage hit me: 

Gregor spent his nights and days with hardly any sleep. Sometimes he thought that the next time the door opened he would take over the family arrangements just as he had earlier. In his imagination appeared again, after a long time, his employer and supervisor and the apprentices, the excessively gormless custodian, two or three friends from other businesses, a chambermaid from a hotel in the provinces, a loving fleeting memory, a female cashier from a hat shop, whom he had seriously, but too slowly courted—they all appeared mixed in with strangers or people he had already forgotten…(Kafka, 57)

I think about people a lot, too. So I’ve decided to come back and talk every once in a while. (It’s also worth noting that I cut that Kafka quote before Gregor expresses that he actually doesn’t miss any of those people, but Gregor is going through it, so he’s entitled to feeling any bug feeling he wants. Also, this one has a bummer ending, so tread lightly, my fellow bug people!) 

Anyway, I’m sort of back, sort of not. Working on something in the middle, at least. Stay tuned.

*I also re-read Bunnicula in 2020. It holds up!

Some days you’re the bride, some days you’re the lady getting laughed at in a bathroom stall 

Getting married is strange. No, not the part where you make a promise to another person, or the part where you pay 90 dollars to sign your name on an official court document. That part was easy, actually–if you have the means, the willful intention, and the right person, I highly recommend it! And the institution itself has some inherent strangeness, sure, but I’m not here to open that can of worms. I’m not even here to tell you to get married at all! But I am here to tell you it’s a little weird. Because even though you’re The Bride (as I was, in this case, and in your case that designation might be different), at some point it’s simply not your big day anymore–not even your big moment–and you have to return to a world of coffee baristas being short with you and  bartenders ignoring you and grocery store cashiers still laughing at you when you insist that you really are old enough to buy alcohol. Even though you’re holding onto this thrilling secret, one that you’re convinced everyone knows, they actually don’t. That’s not their fault. There’s no reason they should know that a complete stranger just got married . But still. Maybe I should just, like, tell them? Give a little hint?Because once you get kind words and well wishes from one stranger (“Any special occasion?” “Yes we… just got married!“) the possibility of kind words and well wishes from ALL strangers is too delicious and tempting not to poke at. I am a monster and this is my truth.

Woman on a mission

To get ahead of the unsolicited advice, no, I am not describing “the post-wedding blues,” which various blog posts on the internet tell me is a thing. I’m not blue at all. In fact, when people ask how I feel now, or what it’s like to be married,  I say, “the exact same, only better.” I mean that. And I am frankly relieved to have pulled off getting married in the first place. If you talked to me in the weeks leading up to the wedding, then you know that my biggest stressor was that we were “doing something wrong.” I was never able to articulate what that meant, but I just felt sure that I had incorrectly booked our space, or incorrectly filled out our marriage license, or incorrectly understood the California marriage laws, of which there are very few and they’re pretty loosey-goosey anyway. I had the same feeling when I studied abroad in Italy. I was absolutely sure that I would report to the assigned meet-up spot in the Rome airport and someone would have to break it to me that I wasn’t actually supposed to be there, sorry. But maybe that’s what it boils down to with our getting hitched: it was all so easy. Too easy. This is the state that brought us all 9 of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s marriages, certainly the system is in place to promote fast and efficient service. What was strange then, and what continues to be strange now, is the seamlessness of it all. The very dramatic way that it has disrupted nothing. We are still who we were before we got married.

Still in shock that these were my flowers

I think that’s a good thing. I think that means Tony and I were doing something right in the first place, and that we put in the work to know each other and ourselves and to maintain those respective identities. But still, flight attendant, excuse me, it seems my husband and I have been assigned separate seats that are not next to one another, is there any way to….there’s not? None at all? Of course I understand, of course, sorry, never mind, sorry.


Here’s something strange: After we had our wedding ceremony, our small party walked from the courthouse to a nearby restaurant for our lunch reception. Keep in mind, I was wearing a wedding dress and holding a bouquet, Tony in his suit and boutonniere. We had very clearly just gotten married. While walking, a woman sitting on a bench stopped us. She waved an envelope in the air and said, “Can you mail this for me? The mailbox is just over there.” She was not old. We asked, “How far is it?” She pointed across the street. “It’s just across the street and then down aways.” We told her we would not be mailing her envelope and then politely excused ourselves. She grumbled after us. Isn’t that strange? Given everything I know she knows about wedding decorum, and I know she knows because she is from the United States of America where we cram wedding culture down your collective throats, I am struggling to understand why this was her plan A. And I fully cop to not knowing her full story, for not being privy to myriad legitimate reasons why she might have needed assistance. But how strange! One of my first post-marriage interactions with a stranger was not one of congratulations, but one that reminded me that this day is just one small part of a whole life. That even though I had been married for 15 minutes, I was still expected to participate in the world. Do I thank her? Do I resent her? I don’t know, but I hope someone mailed her letter.

Here’s something else that’s strange: Over the weekend I was at a bar, a spot we go to pretty regularly, so there shouldn’t have been any surprises in terms of facilities, staff, clientele, et al. We had the good fortune of sitting with a table full of people who we kind-of knew, so we were able to tastefully reveal our recent nuptials and then bask in congratulatory remarks and well wishes. At one point I excused myself to go to the bathroom. The only available stall was one with a broken lock, the kind where the horizontal bar just kind of wedges into the wooden frame but doesn’t actually latch onto anything. I decided to take my chances and shoved the horizontal bar as deep as it would go into the haphazardly carved out notch. And besides, I told myself, people who use bathrooms regularly know that a closed stall door means that the toilet is occupied. Well. Seconds later I heard the  call of the Los Angeles drunk girl, Moon Juice coating the vocal fry, still hoarse and high from Coachella. I said to myself, someone is going to open that stall door. I should also mention that the stalls at this bar are pretty large, so a broken-into stall would be a vulnerable situation, no real way to shut it again unless I kicked it. In my memory, the two girls kicked open my stall door, but I’m pretty sure it was just an aggressive strong arm. They both fell into my stall, my pants literally around my ankles, and they crumbled into a pile at my feet. “Guys, come on,” I said, like an annoyed substitute teacher or a timid step-dad. Once they regained some semblance of composure, they stretched out their arms, pointed their fingers at me, then proceeded to laugh–at me! On a toilet! “Yes, yes, very funny.” I said. “Just, uh, go ahead and close that door.” But they didn’t. They just stood there, laughing, unable to get any of their shit together. They laughed themselves out of my stall, into the bathroom proper, leaving me to sadly swing at a just-out-of-reach stall door. When I accepted that they were just going to continue laughing, I took my time, accepted my fate, finished up in there. But when I finally made my exit past the felt-brimmed hats I was filled with the sudden urge to tell them I had just gotten married.

(But of course I didn’t–then I’d have to talk to them! And that would have been awful. Talking is the worst! There comes a price with revealing secrets about yourself.)

Getting married is strange because there is a society-enforced expectation that everyone should be looking at you and making a big deal out of you, and when they don’t do that, you don’t know how to ask for attention because that feels insane; when they do give you attention, it’s because they want you to mail a letter or because they’ve caught you peeing, and then you decide it’s the “wrong” kind of attention, so what does that mean? To borrow a phrase that I’m sure the bathroom girls have tattooed somewhere on their bodies, Good Vibes Only, you know? But I’m understanding that there is no one right way to be a bride or a newlywed or a recent grad or new in town or in a bad mood today or a human being. It’s all kind of strange. But it’s also a lot of fun and really joyful and LOTS of people say all the right things even when you don’t ask them to. They are what make it feel seamless–people reminding you that they loved you before, and love you a whole lot after.

Tony and I were recently guests on the Rogue Bottle podcast! We drink a lot of champagne, talk all about our wedding day, how we decided to have a non-traditional ceremony, and basically just how much we like each other. The episode is currently in post-production, but will post as soon as it’s done! 





Some Pig

For the REAL FANS (I cannot begin to present that designation seriously, unless we’re counting the always dependable bot traffic): you know that I posted two weeks ago. I attempted to write about re-reading Charlotte’s Web as an adult, but then the only words I could choke out onto the page were “I cried.” That’s it! That’s the whole review! And guess what? I said all I had to. It still stands. I re-read Charlotte’s Web and I cried. There was nothing else to say, so I chose not to say any more.

For everybody else who waits for me to remind you that new content is available: I posted a very brief review of Charlotte’s Web two weeks ago. I, well, cried. You get it.

In the same vein, though, and perhaps the vein I had planned to tap into, was something about friendship and change and looking at your life and connecting the dots (the web!) between all the things that have ever mattered. Lots to take in, I know! But I’ve never been one to shy away from ambitious themes for the sake of this blog that not a lot of people read. So I guess I’ll attempt to cover exactly what it is that’s been going through my head, and how that has informed my writing recently, and how that has informed the music I’ve been listening to, and in the most poetic twist of all, how this all happening in the weeks leading up to my getting married. Maybe that’s what started this.

A few weeks ago, I went home to Akron by myself. Tony was in Vegas, achieving his dreams of playing the Ellen DeGeneres slot machine. I had been feeling strange about the idea of not ever being in Akron again as a non-married person. Call it superstitious or sentimental or just downright exhausted from all this sun exposure, but it dawned on me that I should probably spend some time alone with my thoughts in the house where I grew up. I think setting is important; I don’t think it used to matter to me as a writer, but the older I get, the more I find myself focusing on exactly where a character lives and where they come from. And besides, I’ve always gone to such lengths to picture myself as the protagonist of my own movie–this would be the cherry-on-top after a lifetime of cinematic delusions. So I went.

**You know, it’s funny. When I moved to Chicago in 2012, I genuinely thought I would be one of those people who would go home all the time, once a month is what I figured in my head. I went so far as to tell myself, “If I have no weekend plans, then I’ll just leave work on Friday…and go to Ohio!” That super did not happen.  I also didn’t have a car, but there are about a thousand realistic work-arounds for that. I don’t know if I was basing this assumption off of other Akronites who had moved to Chicago, or because that sense of commitment and obligation somehow seemed more adult to me, or maybe I was dealing with some dormant guilt for not going home all that often when I went to college a mere 45 minutes away from home. Whatever the case, I pretty much stayed parked in Chicago for 5 years.**

So I went back to Ohio for about 4 days, was only kind of jet-lagged, and I did in fact have some time with my thoughts. Which was great, by the way; I like to think I engage in this kind of behavior in a semi-healthy way. And if I find myself diving too deeply into the memory well, I just tell myself it’s for research and that I need to do this because art or writing or my feelings or, you know, whatever. Maybe the fact that I have to justify having any feelings at all is like, symptomatic of a bigger issue….? Iiiiiiiiii’m not unpacking that right now, ambitious themes be damned. Anyway, I was at home, and while looking through my boxes of stuff, (because I wanted to get my grandma’s wedding pearls; I mean really, I was swinging for the fences on this “Who was I, and what have I become?” road trip) I found all my diaries. Ok, to be clear, I didn’t “find” them, I know that’s where they live. I didn’t like, take the lid off a mysterious box then lovingly wipe dust off of a Fashion Journal from Barnes and Noble and then crinkle my brow as I opened it and wondered what on earth the pages might have in store for me. No, that’s shit’s labeled, I know which embarrassing moments live where. But the point is that I did read through a couple, from cover to cover. And while I cringed a lot and laughed a lot and then went back to cringing, I walked away with two overwhelming feelings: gratitude and relief.

Gratitude to have filled about one diary every 6 months, because I had so much to say and I was so doing so much and I was having these really meaningful interactions with people and I wanted to record all of it. Gratitude that I chose friends who confronted me when I was being an asshole, and gratitude that I chose friends who planned crazy birthday surprises for me or just sat with me on a couch in total silence because it wasn’t awkward to do so, and gratitude for parents and adults who always listened and always believed in me. Gratitude that I had the wherewithal to just write it all down. For ALL the teenage angst and bullshit and self-indulgence, I am so grateful that these records exist. And I am relieved that that time in my life is over. Middle school, high school, college, whatever, it’s over, and I’m glad. I don’t mean that to come off as callous or cold. I am, after all, a vessel filled with sap so I of course appreciate sentimentality and nostalgia. But man, am I happiest being right where I am. Los Angeles, May 17, 2018. Hell yes. And on May 18, I will be even happier, and on and on and on. Until I have a shitty day or a whole shitty week, of which I have many, but then I’ll just do it over the next day or the next week. Gratitude for the journeys, relief that the journeys ended in time for a new one.

Of course I sat down and wrote about the diaries and the being at home and what home means and the getting married and fuck, yes, Charlotte’s ultimate sacrifice for her friend. I shook all those feelings around like Boggle pieces then pieced together what fell out. I sat down at the dining room table in the house I grew up in and I barfed out 20 pages of a script, basically without stopping, possibly without thinking, and then I turned those pages into 38 pages and now I have this project that may or may not ever see the light of day, but I’m happy that I took the time to record exactly what I was feeling. And I smartly and stupidly wrote all of this to my soundtrack from high school, all the songs that “really take me back,” which is code for, songs I belted alone in my car when I was feeling my feelings. A dangerous game to be sure! Nostalgia listens are fun, but blink an eye, and you’re suddenly too far down the rabbit hole. It’s a slippery slope for me personally, though I anticipate many of you are better at managing your feelings when you listen to music from your youth. (I am very young–I thought it important to call out that I know that.) I’m happy to have written this document, though, one that processes how I feel 10 years after the time I’m writing about. I like the distance. I like the writing. I like being happy where I am. Setting is important.

Speaking of music, there’s a song I really like that’s been a constant for the last 3ish years of my life. It’s called “Down Down the Deep River” by Okkervil River, and it was love at first listen. I don’t think I really know the words, but there is one line that I do know: “Tell me I’m always gonna be your best friend.” It’s my favorite part of the song. It’s sung with hope, pain, desperation. I mimic the tone when I sing it back. So it happened to come on a pre-made playlist while I was writing just now, and I thought it was coincidental and strange that I would hear this while writing this post.  So I looked up the lyrics for I think the first time ever, and I was blown away at how many times I’ve listened to this incredibly sad, incredibly sentimental, fairy-tale-meets-real-life, this-is-how-i-feel-about-growing-up song without realizing it’s exactly the kinds of things I think and write about myself. The lyricist and lead singer, Will Sheff, says of the song: “Nostalgia is a cleaned-up, airbrushed version of memory.” Yep. Big yep.

“Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” This is the text from the last page of Charlotte’s Web. This is what got me. Even when you know what’s coming, I don’t think anything can prepare you for this. Charlotte was both. That’s a good fucking line. I aim to write something like it someday.

In closing: many years ago, there was an office-wide prank being played on Tony. I think we were friends, certainly not dating. The prank was basically to leave an elaborate collection of post-it note messages all over his desk and cubicle walls. There were hundreds of notes left for him. The messages ranged from menacing to weird, from gross to hilarious. I had nothing to do with the leadership of said prank, but I was approached about leaving a note. I don’t like pranks, especially not office pranks, but I agreed to contribute to this one. I grabbed a post-it note and in red ink I wrote: “Some Pig.”



Stranger Things

I don’t need to tell anyone that 2017 was strange. I think “strange” is the mildest–and most ambiguous–way of describing this year, but a descriptor I’ve purposefully chosen nonetheless. It’s the same feeling of  strangeness I addressed last week, that being one of time and place that I’ve felt since moving to Los Angeles. When I zoom out, though, I realize that maybe that’s how I’ve felt for a long time (322 days and then some), each day like another episode of the Twilight Zone. Again: I know I’m not alone in this. I don’t need to break this down further or to provide anyone with a new and illuminating hot take on how hurtful, shocking, and downright confusing the news cycle has been, and how I hold my breath before looking at my phone every morning. I don’t need to offer the same opinions and sentiments that you’ve been seeing on your own social media platforms, assuming you, too, are also part of the liberal echo chamber. And if you’re not, then dear reader, let me make it very clear: Trump’s presidency has made me very sad. Again, this is mild and ambiguous, but it’s the most succinct summation I can come up with. Never mind the anger and embarrassment and again, the confusion: this is an issue of baseline sadness. It bums me the fuck out. I want you all to know that if you’re also feeling bummed the fuck out, I am here for you. We have fought and called and marched and written letters and given away our money and volunteered and we will continue to do so next year but still, it’s sad, and I think we are entitled to that feeling. That’s been the point of this bummertown opening salvo: to express that this holiday season, all I can offer is an understanding “I hear you, I feel you. This is a bummer.” This is not even taking into account all the sexual assault allegations, the hard but important work that women are doing as part of this reckoning, and the countless people who have asked “if I’ve been sexually harassed since moving to LA,” as though that’s a behavior that’s only reserved for Hollywood. I hope to see you all at a bar in the coming weeks!

But then.


Los Angeles literally caught on fire.

Talk about strange. Talk about a thing I have certainly never had to deal with before. Talk about a level of destruction that I simply could not have comprehended. Thankfully we have been safe in our neighborhood, and there is no foreseeable threat in the future, but it doesn’t help that the now-famous hellfire video was taken only about 20 miles from where we live. I watched it and was like, “Wow, California is so big! Good thing this is definitely not happening near us!” Then it sort of was. To reiterate! We are safe.  But don’t let our fortune distract from the hundreds of people who have lost their homes right before the holidays. Send a little their way if you can.

This is a surreal story that involves some NAME DROPPING but whatever, the specific name needs to be dropped so you can understand how totally weird everything is. We went to see The Killing of a Sacred Deer the other night. First of all. Holy. Shit. Mom: do not watch this movie. If your sensibilities align with my mother’s then, you know, make a call based on that. It was incredible. Gorgeous. Violent. Morosely charming. Claustrophobic to the point I almost walked out, and I do not walk out on movies. Jarring. Deeply frustrating. I will never watch it again. I hope it wins so many awards. Anyway, my party and I walked silently from the movie to a restaurant, all of us attempting to digest what in the hell we had just experienced. We were sitting outside, eating empanadas. Then, Giovani Ribisi walked past us. He paused next to our table and cackled for several seconds at a video he was watching on his phone, the volume up quite loud. Five blonde women (presumably friends) approached him, huddled around the phone and laughed, and then they all walked off together. The three of us at the table stared in mild disbelief. Then, all three of our phones buzzed with a wildfire Emergency Alert, telling us not to evacuate yet but to, you know, keep an eye on it.

How strange! Every last detail. That evening was 2017 in a nutshell. Total confusion. Surreality. Destruction. Giovani Ribisi.

Let’s add to the strangeness by quickly reviewing some of the things I did in 2017:

  • I wrote a play!
  • I got engaged!
  • I quit my job!
  • I read Infinite Jest!
  • I moved to California!

These are kind of big things to all happen in one year. I mean, I read Infinite Jest in like, 3 months, so I’m not kidding when I rank that as an achievement. (Did David Foster Wallace inadvertently invent Netflix? I mean, yeah, probably.) I also got to argue about this book…with a dude who has never read this book. I was about to say that’s very on-brand for 2017, but let’s face it, that’s just timeless.

I feel good about the things that happened in my own life this past year. How could I not? I’ve always been relatively lucky, or at least able to discern the cool stuff from the not cool stuff. But there is still work to do, because it can only get stranger. In the meantime, though, I want to reiterate this: I hear you. I feel you. This* is a bummer. Now let’s hug.







*You know I’m talking about the world at-large, right? Not my day-to-day life? I add this footnote because if I don’t my mom will text me and be like “Um, are you ok?” And I’ll have to be like “Yeah I’m fine I just have to add a little drama to the blog or else the readership kind of drops, and I have to like, talk in a serious tone sometimes or else people will just think I’m some idiot who eats empanadas and looks at celebrities all the time, which is closer to the truth, let’s be honest.”


My Own Customized NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month! The goal is to write every single day in the month of November, and by the time the month ends, you should have 50,000 words, the minimum amount for a piece to be considered a novel. The purpose of the exercise is to write often and without filters. In other words, just get it on the page. In order to hit 50k words by the end of the month, you would have to write 1,667 words every day. That’s a lot of words! Which is why I customized this challenge and gave myself a 600 word a day challenge. In addition, my project will not culminate in one linked story; rather, my goal is to create 30 unique characters or perspectives (basically monologues) because that sounded like more fun to me. It’s also a fun and fresh way for me to document what I’m experiencing on a daily basis without being head-down in my diary.

This was my Day 1 (November 1) entry. Remember, this is a first and ONLY draft, i.e., no editing or re-reading or any revising was done. I wrote this during a job application break.

“The Interview” (613 words)

Here’s the thing about why you have to hire me: I know I don’t look good on paper, I get that, the credentials are lean. But the thing about why you have to hire me is I can fill in all areas that you never thought you’d needed filling in. Does that make sense? I’m a gap filler. Need someone who is going to reliably make coffee when it runs out? That’s me. Need someone who will gladly (and I mean, gladly) carry old computers out to a dumpster? I can do that, too, and with no sweat about it. I will happily tape loose cords down to the floor. I am not above that. And here’s the thing about your company. I feel pretty sure it’s chock-a-block full of young, arrogant employees, there to prove to you how very dedicated they are to the work, how innovative they are, how they’re really going to make something of their time here. How they are going to reinvent the goddamn wheel! That’s not what I aim to do. I aim to look you in the eye and tell you the wheel is already working just great. I am here to make minimal alterations to the wheel. What you will get out of this is a sense that you’re doing it all perfect already, and that things seem to be just a hair tidier around here. That’s what I can offer you. Everybody needs a thing, and my thing is staying out of the way by being in the way. Do you get that? Can you picture it? Let me make myself crystal clear:I will not make waves. I will not question you. But I will refill soap dispensers. I will help you carry coolers at a work picnic. My greatest asset is my ability to do. I’ve been like this my whole life. I can do the things you need help doing, or better yet, the things you simply don’t want to do. Am I a bottomfeeder? I think that language is a little harsh but yeah, maybe I am. But this will always work out in your favor, do you see what I’m saying? There is no way this can go poorly for you.

Now I was asked to leave my previous job, yes, I was removed from the position. There is nothing for you to be worried about, though. That was simply a matter of opinion, it’s subjective, right? I think it is, and I can tell by the way you’re looking at me that you agree. You agree, don’t you? One man’s trash and all that? They felt that I was putting too much of myself into these side tasks, but as far as I’m concerned, why should those be called “side tasks” ? We need these things to smoothly operate day-to-day. You know, a lot of people take it for granted, but I can tell you, people start to get cranky when there’s no fresh coffee brewed. When there’s no paper towels. When there’s a stack of busted keyboards out in plain sight. It’s unprofessional, is what it is! I enforce professionalism, it’s my specialty. So you have to ask yourself, do you want a professional or not? Do you want to work in a professional office or do you want to work in an unprofessional office? Do you want a person who will consistently maintain the stasis you need to get shit done around here? I think the answer is obvious. And the choice is obvious. I’ll be awaiting your call, though I can anticipate now that you won’t need very long to decide.

Stop Gap Living

Well. Here we are.

The adventure across [most of] the United States was a great one. We traveled Chicago to Omaha to Denver to Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon and finally, to our new apartment in Los Angeles. I wish there were more exciting stories from the road, but the truth of the matter is that the drive was completely without incident, each stop more lovely than the last (and they were all lovely), and we gawked in awe at parts of the country that neither of us had seen before. This is as good a time as any to mention that we were in the Grand Canyon for two days, and in those two days, the horrific shooting in Las Vegas happened as well as the death of Tom Petty. To be clear, these are two very different events, carrying two very different weights, things that I don’t intend to equate, but they were nonetheless being talked about on the trails by domestic and international tourists alike. I am saddened by both of them. Being at and looking upon the Grand Canyon is a surreal enough experience in the first place, but to look across the canyon (the great wide open, as it were) towards Las Vegas was both isolating and devastating. Big canyon, little me. And I was struck again with the now commonplace question of “Where were you when?” and it was hard not to feel shame and sadness over all the tragedies I can’t separate from the others, because there have just been so many. I was enjoying myself at the Grand Canyon when the Las Vegas massacre happened. We were awake and watching the live coverage because we were just next door, or so it seemed. Gun control now. Action now. Do something now. Throw your prayers into the canyon like I did and then get to work because there is a lot to be done. I am not going to apologize for the weird tonal transition that is about to happen.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

The trip was most notably marked by all the warm welcomes we received from friends old and new. They showed us their cities and sent us off with full bellies and hearts alike. If you ever make a large-scale life change, one that involves moving away from all the things you ever found familiar, I highly recommend seeing as many people that love you along the way as possible. We felt loved! We felt refreshed! We almost decided to just live in Santa Fe and not go any farther! But farther we went and now we are here in our completely empty apartment because the delivery of all our belongings has been delayed for an unknown amount time.

I guess that detail qualifies as an “incident,” now that I really think about it.

In short, there was a clerical error, and our stuff just never left Chicago. Just didn’t leave. Was supposed to leave! Didn’t leave. So for the 6 days we were driving across the country, and making jokes like, “There’s our stuff!” every time we saw a train or tractor trailer pulling freight, we were WRONG because our stuff was not loaded onto any mode of transportation, it was just hanging out in the warehouse where we left it nearly 2 weeks ago. Upon hearing this news, Tony and I both laughed ourselves hoarse because what the fuck else can you do but put on the same clothes you’ve been wearing for days and keep moving forward. I’m not here to drag a company on the internet, especially as their HQ was hit in Hurricane Irma and we feel they likely had other priorities to tend to, so please, do not inquire. In fact, everything was really great until there was literally a mere paperwork error and they didn’t know our stuff was ready to go so they didn’t send it. (Rest assured that I will whisper the name of this company to you after I’ve had 3 sips of wine.) I should also add that the gas company can’t send anyone out to turn on our gas until the 10th, so when all is said and done, we will be sans stove for a week. We are basically squatting in our home. I eat cereal while sitting on a yoga mat (the most use it’s gotten in months, by the way) and I sigh deeply and say yes, yes, this is the LA dream I was promised.

Since arriving only days ago, we have developed an intricate system of stop gaps on which we solely survive. The yoga mat, for example, was the only place we could sit aside from kitchen counters and un-yoga matted floors. Then we treated ourselves and bought lawn chairs, a true game changer. We have no way of cooking, but when the gas gets turned on, our kitchenware will still be in transit. What does one buy to account for only a few days of meals? And beyond that, what if our stuff takes weeks to get here? Do I prepare now for the possibility of needing multiple weeks worth of items? Do I never cook again? This basic cycle of questions applies to all aspects of my life now, whether it’s carefully selecting clothes to wear or applying for health insurance. What do I need right now while keeping in mind that this need might very quickly change? What if nothing ever changes and this is our life now? We remedied most of these existential quandaries by going to IKEA.

I would like to begin by saying I had never been to an IKEA. I experienced all five stages of grief during my time at the Burbank IKEA. I denied that a place like this could or should even exist. I was angry that the flurbs and blurghs were all so boring-looking, yet so clean and geometric and undeniably mod. I bargained with a higher power, dedicating my life to better furniture-buying research if I only made it out of there unscathed. I was depressed at the prospect of falling prey to its powers. I accepted that I am basic.

“More jorgenflürbs!” I exclaimed, riding the cart like a Razor scooter down aisle 13 toward bin 20. “More flürbenjorgs for all!”

We selected some sensible items (and of course some not-so-sensible items) in an attempt to bring a kind of normalcy and familiarity back into our lives. I guess that’s why we bought so many pillows. I can’t claim that I fully “get” the appeal of IKEA, though I certainly get it for now. “For now” is the name of the game, but only for now. I feel just prepared enough, which is more than you can hope for sometimes. Putting together a kitchen table and chairs also gave us something to do and something to sit on.

In my last post I said “I don’t believe in luck, I only believe in myself.” I still mostly maintain that motto, though I do want to note that I acknowledge how privilege factors into my life and it’s easy for me to just, like, blindly believe in myself. I believe in myself and I also believe in my ability to be flexible. I believe in making sandwiches because you don’t need a stove to cook those. I believe in action and changing all that has become normalized “for now.”I believe in flurgenglürgs. I believe that every last one of our belongings will make it to Los Angeles and that moving will be complete and living here can really begin.