A Good Use Of Time

Billy:  I just wrote Desert Essence an email.

Me:  Do your work, Billy!

Billy:  Telling them that I really like the formula for their new jojoba shampoo.

Billy:  It’s fantastic.

Me:  Stop writing emails to organic shampoo companies.

Billy:  That’s what I think every time I’m in the shower now.

Billy:  I am like

Billy:  CAN’T WAIT TO LATHER UP!

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Swimmingly

Hey you guys.  I’m at my dad’s house in Connecticut today because it’s the day after Father’s Day and I have a flexible schedule so we’re celebrating Father’s Day today, kind of.  Slash it’s also sort of Bring Your Daughter To Work Day because my dad works from home and I work from home so I’m sitting on the couch in his basement while he does sales things (whatever that is) and I do research and write in my blog and answer emails.  Bring Your Daughter To The Home Office In Your Basement Day.

My dad has a pool but the guys were just here this morning to vacuum it out so it’s still pretty green I guess.  But it’s sunny out and I want to go swimming.  So let’s talk about swimming you guys!  Also, on a related note, tomorrow is the summer solstice.  Is it?  Tomorrow?  Let me check.  Google confirms it.  Tomorrow is the Official First Day Of Summer.  Don’t you want to go swimming with me, everybody?!  Now, for your workday day-dreaming pleasure, a list of the best places I have ever been swimming.

1. Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  My family has a cottage in OOB and I love it there even though it is the Jersey shore of Maine.  Perhaps BECAUSE it is the Jersey shore of Maine.  Swimming in OOB requires a certain kind of disposition.  You have to commit.  None of this “I’ll go in if it’s not too cold” business.  It will probably be too cold but you have to go in anyway.  There are SUCH WAVES in Old Orchard Beach.  Super fun, smack you on your ass waves.  And some days when  you put your head under water you get a brain freeze.

2. Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts.  So pretty.  So historical.  Crystal clear water.  Close to my apartment.

3. Rendezvous Bay, Antigua.  I went here in 2008.  We had to hike about 45 minutes to get there because you can’t reach it by car.  Some people came in boats.  At one point, the boats left and my family left and it was just me and Billy floating in the ocean at an empty beach.  Magical!  You guys it was so magical.  Look at the water!

Right?

In conclusion, let’s go swimming you guys.  Who’s with me?  I’ll bring the sunscreen.  I don’t want you to get skin cancer.

What are the best places you’ve gone swimming?!

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Instant Gratification: Quills

So as I mentioned in the little guest bloggy thing I wrote earlier, I am really into Doug Wright right now.  I think his plays are fantastic and he’s a great speaker, very inspirational, and he was nice to me when I met him at a hotel bar.  So, naturally, I made Billy watch the movie he wrote (slash adapted from the play he wrote) with me.  It’s on Netflix Instant!  Hooray!

What to say about Quills?  It’s a re-imagining of the last years of the Marquis de Sade so it’s all… periody.  Ew, guys.  I mean it’s like a period piece, not that it’s about periods.  Also it’s really sexual.  Also not about periods.  Ew, come on.  This Instant Gratification is going off the rails early on.  FOCUS UP.

You guys, I’m going to be really honest here.  I liked it but the end was a bit heavy handed and stuff so I would really probably give it like a B.  Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t watch it.  You probably should.  Especially if you have a certain fondness for Doug Wright or the Marquis de Sade (Do you really like the Marquis de Sade?  Yeah?  You’re into that… kind of thing?  Okay.  No judgement.) or whatever.  And the themes it explores are really interesting.  Like about sexual hypocrisy and mental illness and what would one do as an artist if one was not allowed to create art?  That would be terrible!  Not sure I would write plays on the walls of my asylum cell with my own poop, but that’s just me.  See?  It’s kind of a gross movie.  But the acting is great!  Remember Joaquin Phoenix back before he sabotaged his own career and public persona with that STUPID fake documentary he made with Casey Affleck?  Dude was actually a really good actor.  And kind of a babe.  And Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine were, obviously, amazing.  And Kate Winslet can do no wrong.  So, yeah.  And the writing is full of these profound truths, which, incidentally, is just exactly how Doug Wright talks, like out loud even.  He’s full of truth!

So yeah.  Put it in your queue and watch it some night while you drink red wine and let it make you feel better about your own sexual perversions.

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Dramatists Guild Conference Recap

Heyyy!  My friend and fellow playwright Anna Pattison asked me to write a guest blog about the Dramatists Guild Conference I went to last weekend and here it is!

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Working From Home? More Like Working From Fun! (What?)

So for about two and a half weeks I have been without an official job.  Did I tell you guys I was going to do this?  Yeah, I’m doing it!  I finished my MFA and I quit my job and then I spent two weeks being funemployed and then I went to a playwriting conference in northern Virginia and now I’m back home and I am sitting at my desk all day reading plays and writing plays and sending emails about plays and crap like that.  And writing run-on sentences.  And fragments.  PROFESSIONAL WRITER, Y’ALL!

Anywayyy.  Want to know what it’s like working full time doing the thing you wanted desperately to be doing your whole life?  It’s.  Awesome.  It’s just as I expected!  I mean, it still feels like working, which I’m happy about, but yeah, it’s like pretty fun and awesome.  I still get wicked sleepy at around 2:30, but the temperature in my office is completely up to me.  I am the master of my domain!

Since I’m writing from home full time now I am going to write in this here blog more often.  And you guys can hold me to that.  It’s important.  Get the ideas flowing, you know?  Do you guys want to know how my days have been structured so far?  Is that boring or like self-indulgent?  Eh, I’m going to tell you anyway.

This is an average day for me (I’ve been doing this for two and a half days so I definitely think that’s a big enough sample size to get a good idea of how the rest of my life will play out, don’t you agree?):

8:00am – Wake up, tell Billy to get in the shower, read 8 pages of The Girl Who Played With Fire

8:30am – Get out of bed, get dressed in running clothes, remain in running clothes for quite some time

9:00am – Read email

9:30am – Go for a run, get home, justify skipping abs exercises

10:00am – Take shower, prepare breakfast, eat in front of computer while reading/writing more emails

10:30am – Decide it is time to start buckling down.  Write in journal about how much I hate my hair.  It’s growing out of a short cut.  Is this something that every woman in America goes through?  “I’m bored with my hair, let’s cut it short.  I like it for three days then I desperately miss having long hair and I don’t feel feminine anymore.”  Is that just like a universal truth?

10:40am – Make a to do list in journal

10:45am – Write some sluggish pages in this play I’m working on.  Tell self that I’m not blocked on it, I’m just stuck in some maple syrup or… like, peanut butter.  It’s sluggish but it’s still moving.

12:00pm – Make lunch, eat it while reading a play.

2:00pm – Read way too many blogs or (on a good day like today) write a blog for you guys!

3:00pm – Finish reading whatever play I picked that day.

4:00pm – Write some more peanut butter scenes.  Google things.  Read more blogs.  Buy tickets to plays.  Pack my schedule so full of evening social engagements that I can barely breathe.

5:30pm – Give up on work.  Start planning dinner.  Read The Girl Who Played With Fire while drinking a Brooklyn Summer.

Some days I have meetings with directors!  I had one on Monday for example!  That breaks things up nicely.  I don’t know.  Seems pretty okay so far.  You guys should try this!  Let’s all quit our jobs!

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The Cure for Crippling Self-Loathing

So sometimes your significant other is away for the weekend and you take the opportunity to organize a Ladies Night and you go dancing in too-high heels on the drunk walk home you call your sig. oth. (new slang) and yell at him for not respecting you.  And then you fall asleep in your clothes.  Sometimes this happens.  And then you wake up the next morning and all you want to do is hate yourself for being so annoying and hungover but you can’t.  Why can’t you?  Because you have to volunteer.

Enter the cure for crippling self-loathing: volunteering!  You guys, it’s so great.  It’s obviously great because giving back to the community is one of the pillars of our society – it takes a village to etc.  We all have to help each other because that’s what being a person is about.  We are helpless on our own but together we can do anything!  That part is fairly self-explanatory.  Volunteering is good!  But what can volunteering do for you?  It can make you feel good about yourself.

(Yes, I know, some might argue that you shouldn’t volunteer for selfish reasons.  But this is just to give you that little nudge in case you’re on the fence about it.  Also, the argument can be made that no act is purely selfless.  Anything that results in making somebody else feel good makes you feel good, too.  There was a whole “Friends” episode about it.  We could argue this point all day, but let’s just leave it at this: volunteering is just as helpful no matter what stupid reason you have for doing it.)

Cause of Self-Loathing #1: You Drank Too Much And Now You Feel Like Some Apologies Might Need To Be Made.

Cure:  Big Sisters of America.

Your cute little Latina friend from the inner city doesn’t care if you yelled at your sig. oth. last night.  She only cares that you guys are walking around a park together looking at a pond and picking wildflowers.  Girl doesn’t get out much.  It is so easy to show her amazing things that you take for granted.  And seeing things through her eyes makes them fresh and new and beautiful to you, too.

How to Get Involved:  Go to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website and enter your zip code.  Follow the directions.  It’s a big commitment but it’s super rewarding.

Cause of Self-Loathing #2: You Feel Fat.

Cure:  Enter a Race for Charity.

Nothing gets your mind off your body issues quite like talking to somebody with cancer.  This one is doubly effective in combating self-loathing because it involves both giving back to the community and actually changing the thing that’s making you feel bad.  Also, endorphins.  Also, it’s springtime!  Get out there and walk/jog yourself around.  Jog away from the bad feelings!  And help fight cancer in your own small way.

How to Get Involved:  There are a million of these for any town or city anyone might live in.  Google it.  Then send annoying emails to all your coworkers asking for money.

Cause of Self-Loathing #3:  Your Young Adult Novel Was Rejected By Another Publisher.

Cure:  Tutor Some Kids at Your Local 826 Branch.

This works for pretty much any rejection you might encounter.  Like you didn’t get a job or some dude didn’t call you back.  Fuck ‘em!  Kids need help with their homework.  They don’t care about any of that stuff.  They don’t even have to know.  All they know is that you are incredibly cool for helping them out.  Also they like your outfits.  You have really cute outfits.  826 is a writing and tutoring center for kids with branches in big cities all over the country.

How to Get Involved:  Go to the 826 National website and click Chapters.  It’ll take you to a list of the separate locations.  You sign up for a training session and then you get in there and help some kids with fractions and five-paragraph essays.  Fun!

Cause of Self-Loathing #4:  Your Apartment Is So Gross But You Just. Can’t. Clean It.

Cure:  Mop The Cages At Your Local Animal Shelter.

This seems counter-intuitive but you know how sometimes you won’t do something for yourself but you’ll do it for someone else out of a sense of obligation or just because they’re relying on you and you don’t want them to be mad at you?  This is like that.  These sad little puppies and kitties don’t have homes.  The least you can do is spend a little time helping them not live in their own filth.  They also don’t have thumbs so they can’t mop.  They need you for that.  They need you!  How nice is it to be needed?  So nice.  Also, some animal shelters have jobs for volunteers where they literally like sit and pet a dog for an hour.  Like that’s the volunteer job.  “I volunteer to sit here and pet this adorable puppy.”  Haha.  Yeah I’ll volunteer for that!  But I don’t want to get your hopes up because I think what these places need most of all is people to mop.

How to Get Involved:  Again, google it.  There are lots of different shelters all over the country.  Find the one closest to your disgusting apartment and mop it up!

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Presidoodle

Billy:  Maybe he should run for President!  I mean, can you think of anything Justin Timberlake has done that he hasn’t been amazing at?

Me:  Having slightly longer hair.

Billy:  Yeah, true.

Me:  I’m not sure if America is ready for a curly-headed President.

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Instant Gratification: Precious

You all have this movie in your instant queue and you are just trying to find a time when you feel emotionally prepared to watch it.  I know.  I’m inside your brain.

Billy and I decided the time had come to watch Precious last Saturday afternoon.  We opened a bottle of wine and sat down in our comfy clothes and got ready to have some feelings.  I feel like I have an advantage in this respect.  Not to toot my own horn but I did go to theatre school and I am very good at having feelings.  They come, they go.  Billy, on the other hand, is new to feelings.  Precious… well, Precious broke him.  In his own words, “It killed part of my happiness.  I can’t get back to my pre-Precious life.”

Sidenote: Lenny Kravitz was in this?!  I had no idea.  They really uglied everybody up.  Oh wait, he was the hot nurses’s aide.  That’s right.  I remember.  It’s hard to ugly up Lenny Kravitz.  Dude looked good.  Everybody else did not look so good.

Back to the point, though.  I feel like I have a lot of disclaimers to make about this movie, like don’t watch it if you’re already depressed or if you’re alone or if it’s nighttime.  Those are all recommendations you should take to heart, but, honestly, the bottom line is this: this was truly an excellent movie.  It was moving in a way that didn’t feel forced (contrary to what you may expect).  It’s the story of a girl with a shitty life who imagines something better for herself and in her own small way finds a path to self-improvement.  As much as it is about abuse and neglect, it is also about independence and the power of the human spirit (ugh I’m throwing up as I write this but IT’S REALLY TRUE!).

Things that might happen as a result of watching Precious:

1. You might need a palate cleanser afterward.  Ours was How To Train Your Dragon.

2. You might get angry about the welfare system in this country.  You might get very confused about your liberal political beliefs.  You might think that having a baby should not be considered a meal ticket.  This might throw your whole belief system out of whack.

3. You might cry a little bit in bed at night.

4. You might not enjoy your palate cleanser as much after watching Precious as you might have before.  In my case, I could see nothing but triviality in How To Train Your Dragon.  Any other day I would probably have found it charming, but on Saturday I just found it… kind of idiotic.  I could tell exactly how the plot would unfold from the first scene.  Boring.  Unimaginative.  Come on, movie execs.  Get creative.  Precious did it!

In conclusion: A++.  Watch this movie with someone you love so that you can hold each other as you cry and cry.  In a good way.

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A Few Apologies

Every kid does crappy things.  And sometimes kids don’t tell other people all the crappy things they did because they don’t want to get in trouble.  But then adults will tell their friends the crappy things they did because once you’re a grown-up they turn into funny stories to tell at parties.  But then there are some crappy kid things that some of us did that we haven’t really told people about because it’s all too embarrassing.  Eh.  Why even have a blog if you’re worried about embarrassing yourself, I always say.  Without further ado, I’m really sorry for the following transgressions:

1. For my seventh (eighth?) birthday I wanted a new school backpack and I got two.  One from my dad and one from Lorianne Boscarino, who was kind of a brat and I didn’t even really like her because she was so bossy.  And my dad said I should just choose the backpack I liked better and we could return the other one.  So I chose the one Lorianne got me because it was more colorful and it was the 90’s so, obviously.  The one my dad got me was more practical but I’ve never been one for practicality.  So my dad returned the one he got me.  No big deal, right?  Eh.  I’ve carried the guilt of that backpack rejection around with me for… nineteen years.  Healthy!

2. In third grade I had to write an essay about Harriet Tubman.  I went to the school library and borrowed a book about her and then I straight up plagiarized the blurb on the back of the book.  I changed a few words here and there but really, that shit was illegal.  I should have been fined, at the very least!  And my teacher thought my essay was so good that he brought it up at the parent-teacher conference and my mom was really proud of me for being so good at writing essays JESUS I AM CRINGING RIGHT NOW JUST WRITING THIS.  And I told NO ONE!  Until today!  I mean, it’s okay, right?  I was like Tom Sawyer.  Or Bart Simpson.  I was using my ingenuity to avoid doing work.  Really just goes to show how far I am willing to go to avoid unnecessary exertion.  Still true today!  Oof.

3. In fifth grade I ate Julianne Cuminsky’s Ding Dong.  The snack food.  Don’t be gross.  I was joking around with her at our lunch table and I think I asked if I could have a bite of her Ding Dong and she said no and I think I was like “well I can just take it, you know” and then nobody believed that I would do it so then I just ate the whole thing in one bite.  And then I was summarily shunned by the whole table.  All the girls I sat with were like “wow, I really can’t believe you did that.”  Uuuuugh why am I writing this?!  It’s so painful.  Also, it might have been a Twinkie.

4. In seventh grade I tried out for a school play.  My middle school was doing this kids-in-the-Holocaust play called “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”.  I didn’t get cast.  But two Jewish girls I knew did get cast.  So my natural conclusion as to why I was not cast in the play was because I didn’t look Jewish.  Ugh.  So that’s what I told Lauren Feinberg’s mom when she asked me if I’d auditioned for the play.  “Yeah, I auditioned, but I didn’t get a part.  Probably because I don’t look Jewish!”  She laughed politely.

Anyway, sorry everyone!

What do you guys want to apologize for?  Please don’t leave me hanging here.  Put some embarrassing childhood stories in the comments, for the love of god, I need all the help I can get.

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Yesterday…

I saw a Mercedes on the highway with a license plate that said “MENSA” and a bumper sticker that said “Trump 2012” and I gave that car the finger harder than I’ve ever given anything the finger before.

What a DICK!

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