Thursday, June 26, 2008

Three generations of CINDY readers

I received this a while ago, but I've been remiss in posting it. My bad.

Anyway, when I did a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach, CA, I was lucky enough to meet Fiona and her grandmother Teri, who had both read the book. Unfortunately Fiona's mother Jennifer wasn't feeling well that night, so she wasn't there. I had asked them to send me a picture of the three of them and here it is...along with the emails I received from them.

I feel so lucky to have met them. And I have no doubt we will indeed be reading Fiona's work soon -- I was incredibly impressed by the amount of poise and self-possession she had as a 14-year-old. When I was her age I was slumping down in my seat and hiding behind my hair.

I have to say, I hear a lot of stories from writers who find it absolutely agonizing to have to do readings and deal with real live human beings. Maybe it's because I desperately want to be the center of attention (I do...but then I don't...and then I do...and so on and so on and so on..) but I LOVE meeting the readers. And when I letters like this, it makes all of the struggle and all the hours spent looking at blank computer screens worth it.

Ms. Palmer~ It was amazing to meet you at the Barnes & Noble event in Huntington Beach! I really enjoyed talking with you, hearing about your experiences, and also getting your best friend's side of things. Your advice on book writing was very helpful! I am super excited for your next book to come out next year!!! Hopefully, thanks to your advice, you'll be seeing my work soon.


Ms. Palmer~ My mother and daughter both attended your talk/book signing at our local Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago. They both came back singing your praises! My 14 year old daughter, Fiona, especially, was literally vibrating from the experience. The way you spoke to her, answering all of her questions, the fact that your friend also took the time to tell Fiona what you were like while writing---it truly touched me. Not only have you written a heart-warming, funny, unique book, but to give of your personal time to answer a young starry eyed girl questions, you impress me. Thank you for not shooting down her dream of being a writer and also for not making writing sound like a lark, but a real job! All 3 generations; my mother Teri, myself Jennifer, and my daughter Fiona, loved your book and look forward to all your future work. My 10 year old is chomping at the bit to be allowed to read your book also. Attached is the picture you asked Fiona to send you of the 3 of us. You have all of our permission to use the picture on your website or whatever.

Jennifer Baumann

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A cat on a head is worth...

Okay, maybe it's not worth any money, but it's worth a laugh, which I sorely needed as I walked by this guy this morning.

The day did not start off all that great. In fact, forget great -- it didn't even start off good. In fact, it started off really shitty. But when I saw this guy on Broadway as I was walking to work I took it as a sign that I should just lighten up. Which I did. And I took it as a sign that I should take a picture of him with my BlackBerry. I stalked him for a while, and then as I was taking one more, he whipped around and caught me mid-snap.

Me (trying to pretend I'm not about to take a picture of him): Oh. Can I, uh, take a picture of you?

Him: You know, I really need money to eat.

Me (fishing in wallet for a dollar): Here. I have a dollar. Is that good?

(Like he's going to say "No"?)

Him: That would be great.

So I gave the cathead man a dollar for my picture.

Maybe I should try and train O'Neill to stand on my head. It could help pay for this next round of psychoanalysis that begins tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Think (at least not in July)

My friend Terri Wagener who is not only one of the most incredible writers I know and one of my Fairy Godmothers Of Writing, but also beyond wise when it comes to the heart and Relationships-with-a-capital-R posted this on my Facebook page:

Make you a deal. Let's have a pact that we two shall do all in our power to Not Think in the month of July. We think too much. We over analyze. We think it gives us some kind of control/protection in Life. It does not.

We don't have to be superficial till July, though. Which gives us a couple of weeks to note how deeply we are attached to thinking and also to practice skipping along the surface, like smooth stones on a pond.

Are you game? Or do you want to sink below and down like usual? Much like stone trying to find the fresh air and float?

I wrote back and said that, yes, I was indeed game. God, am I game. Because I'm sick of Thinking--especially about Relationships-with-a-capital-R. I asked Terri if that means we can just talk about nail polish and People magazine for an entire month and this was her reply:

Re nail polish and People. NO. We can't talk about those -- it will tempt Fate. We'll have opinions. The point is to just observe life, have no opinion, no desire (Very Buddhist), float above. Kinda act stoned -- but in a good way. Turks & Caicos? And LONDON for the 4th? Your life is magnificent, Robin. It is The Best Ever! By YOUR efforts. Let it BE. :->

So my July resolution is to Not Think And just Let It Be And See What happens.

Maybe I won't even wait til July. Maybe I'll start now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

One (and probably the only) reason I wouldn't mind being in L.A....

If you live in L.A. you should go see the Marlene Dumas exhibit at MOCA because I can't because I live in NY and that way I'll be able to live vicariously through you.

And you should read this article that was in the NY Times magazine last week about her.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What was I thinking...

...using a PC all these years?

It's hard not to wonder what my life would have been like today had I been a Mac user vs. a PC one. Would I have moved to NY sooner? Would I have become a brunette earlier? Would I be married with four kids and living in Des Moines? (um, that one? probably not)

At any rate, I have been Mac-curious for a while now. And every time I'd go to write in a coffee shop, a sea of glowing apples would be shining, their owners happily typing away while I'd be forced to wander around until I found somewhere I could plug in due to the fact that the battery on my PC was only good for an hour. So on Friday I woke up and turned on my laptop only to find the blue screen of death staring back at me which sent a chill through my veins. I called my brother Josh because he works with computers for a living, and when I got his voicemail (it was only 7:30 in the morning) I started freaking out. And started freaking out even more when I took it to a computer place and was told that it would "probably" cost me $700 to recover the data and fix it.

So I went to the Apple store and got myself a brand new white MacBook.

And the two of us lived happily ever after.

I have a feeling it's going to change my entire life.

Okay, maybe not my entire life. Maybe it'll just make it so that now I'll be able to write in a coffee shop without worrying about finding a place to plug in. Which, believe me, is worth every penny I spent.

Needless to say -- life is very, very good today.

Especially since the lovely people at Tekserve were able to recover the 50 pages of my latest novel that I had neglected to back up.

Friday, June 6, 2008

WWTDGD? (aka What Would The Dead Girl Do?)

I meant to write about this last week but then life intervened but I'm writing about it now because I'm trying to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to avoid working on my book and I've already spent a half-hour scouring Craigslist for apartments even though I'm not moving until September. And it's only 7:30am.

(BTW, apparently people don't care to respond to emails asking if the apartment they've advertised for rent immediately might be available in September, or might they have a similar apartment avail in September that's actually less money than the one they've advertised for rent immediately. Yeah--from the lack of responses I've gotten back, I'm thinking they don't really care about my anxiety about finding an affordable, a-little-bigger-than-a-postage-stamp, vermin/bug-less pets-OK pre-war apartment in Chelsea. Oh, did I mention it needs to be affordable?)

Anyway...I digress. As usual. Maybe that's because I have a codependent cat who spent all night scratching at the bedroom door because I wouldn't let him in because I wanted to test out my theory that I'd get more sleep with him out of the room rather than in.

Theory disproved.

Now. On to The Dead Girl.

Okay, so last week Ariel suggested I come to London for July 4th weekend and although part of the reason I moved to the east coast was so that I could go to Europe more frequently because it's a much easier trip than going from L.A., and even though I have the money, and even though I'd have a free place to stay, I still hemmed and hawwed because of the Impending Apartment Move because, like I mentioned, I'd like to live know...livable because I find that living somewhere livable really helps with things like my mood and the ability to write.

So I hemmed and hawwed about the London thing to my friend Michele, and then I hemmed and hawwed about it to my friend Deb, and I hemmed and hawwed about it to myself, and then I heard about The Dead Girl.

So on Memorial Day, this 26-year-old woman named Lauren -- aka The Dead Girl, but obviously not dead at that moment -- was jogging around the reservoir with her boyfriend and she dropped dead of a heart attack.

26. Dead. Just like that.

And the kicker is that apparently the boyfriend was planning on proposing that upcoming weekend. Now, I don't know if that part of true or if it's quickly become urban legend, but I do know she's dead because I know people who were close friends with her. I did not know The Dead Girl but I hear that she was just lovely in every way.

And as I listened to this story, in addition to feeling just awful for her family and her boyfriend/would-have-been fiance, and her friends, I thought about London. Specifically, I thought about the fact that The Dead Girl would not be able to go to London. Ever. Because she's dead. She wouldn't have been able to go even if she had the money, and she wouldn't have been able to go even if she didn't have the money and decided to charge it.

Because she's dead.

I bet, if she could, she'd go.

So right then I decided that, in her honor, I would go instead.

Not just because I have the money and don't even have to charge it, but because I can. Because I am alive and healthy and -- as far as I know -- don't have a heart condition.

I booked my ticket the next morning. I'm going from July 3rd-6th. I haven't been to London since 1991. I'm so excited I can't stand it.

And I'm going to trust that not only can I go to London, but I can also find an affordable, a-little-bigger-than-a-postage-stamp, vermin/bug-less pets-OK pre-war apartment in Chelsea for September 1st as well.

That is, if anyone on Craigslist ever emails me back.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Do-Not-Heart Sex & The City

Warning -- if you're planning on going to see the Sex & The City movie, don't read this.

Because I'm going to ruin it.

But I don't feel bad ruining it because IT ruined my Sunday evening. I left the theatre SO pissed off yesterday I can't even BEGIN to tell you. Like smoke-coming-out-of-my-ears pissed off.

The only good things that came out of that movie were that 1) I now know what color I want to paint the walls in my new apartment when I move in the fall (the blue that Carrie painted hers) and 2) I now have a picture to show my hairdresser the next time I go to get my hair colored (the reddish-brunette look she adopted during her mourning period).

I guess those two things are worth $11.25.


I went with my friend Michele -- who upon reading the blog has now asked for an entry expressly devoted to her, which I promise to do, but not today -- at 4:30 on a Sunday and it was a madhouse. I had read this scathing New York Times review, but went anyway because despite the fact that, as someone who's making a career out of rewriting fairy tales, I had a slight problem with the idea that Carrie ended up with Big at the end of the show, I still had a soft spot in my heart for it because it replaced Lifetime as my guilty pleasure-calorie-laden appointment television.

So the movie starts and the big secret is not that someone dies, but that Carrie is left at the altar by Big. Who, as evidenced by his incredibly dispassionate, ambivalent marriage proposal (which, by the way, came about because Carrie's friends put the fear of god in her after she told him that it would be his name on the mortgage of the new apartment they were moving into and she was afraid she'd be cast out and screwed over if they ever split up) -- not to mention his well-known fear of intimacy -- didn't want to get married in the first place.

That being said, I can understand how alarming it might be to see a 40something woman get so caught up in a wedding, what with the poufiest dress known to man and a 200 people guest list. (I thought that stuff was for girls in their 20s, but maybe that's just me...) But, yes, getting left at the altar would suck big time. That being said, she wasn't so upset about the fact that he didn't want to marry her -- it was more about how it would look to people, as evidenced by the fact that her parting line is "You humiliated me!"

That's when I started getting pissed.

I started getting even more pissed when I then had to sit through an hour and a half of her moping around...but THEN...when she sees him again...and he proposes again...she accepts. On the spot. Just like that. And she apologizes as if the WHOLE THING WERE HER FAULT because she had gotten so swept up in the wedding.

And then they go get married at City Hall and -- as far as we know -- go on to live happily ever after.

Why couldn't her happily-ever-after have been that she got over him and just went back to living her life, trusting that someone else would come along? Or maybe someone else wouldn't come along and it still would've been okay?

I vaguely remember some line about how the heart doesn't know from logic. And I totally get that -- believe me, do I get it -- but still...WHY?! One of the great things about the show was that, at times, it had presented the world with women who were unapologetic about who they were. Women who slept with guys and didn't feel guilty. Women who threw themselves un-wedding showers.

So why did they have to make a movie about a woman in a stupid poufy dress who falls into a deep depression when she's jilted and then takes him back because he emails her famous mens' love letters because he's so out of touch with his own feelings?

I know what it's like to fall for ambivalent, emotionally unavailable men. B-E-L-I-E-V-E M-E, I know. In fact, maybe part of why the movie got me so angry is precisely because of that very reason -- but the Women's Studies part of me is just fuming that there was a collective "Awwww" in the theatre when Big proposed at the end in the middle of the huge walk-in closet he had built for her and, because he didn't have a diamond on hand, instead presented her with a hideous Manolo Blahnik shoe.

That's why my princesses wear flip-flops.

And that's why, if and when I get married, I'm wearing a slinky red pouf-less dress.