Perhaps You Will Find This Anodyne Dispatch Soothing, or: I Don't Live in Park Slope But My Lover Does, So I Stopped at Blue Bottle This Morning and the Blue Bottle Park Slope Collective Taught Me How to Order Coffee
a. I entered through the door and got in line. There were two older white ladies in front of me. (To clarify: I am also white, and a woman, but I try not to be a white lady.) One of the ladies turned and pointed a few steps to my left and said "Oh, you see, we are lining up in THIS direction." I demonstrated my appreciation for her attempts to herd me by saying "Oh," while nodding and smiling and not moving.
b. I realized that Blue Bottle does not sell a coffee for under $3.75, which is how much a double shot of espresso costs. If you would like a cup of coffee (drip), it's $4.65. I have lived in NYC for 11 years and this still managed to shock me. The man at the register must have seen the shock register on my face as I revised my order and asked for the cheaper espresso, because he paused and said, "Have you been to Blue Bottle before?" and I muttered something unintelligible before he took pity and said "We're happy to give you this coffee on the house." Well, ok! Thanks, Blue Bottle! (Tip your baristas, folks.)
c. While waiting for my Americano, the barista yelled "Cat?" and then "Cappuccino?" then "Cappuccino for Cat!" and finally "Cappuccino? Cat?" and a different white lady turned and stared at me until I looked up and returned her gaze. She asked, "Are you Cat?" She asked this, you see, BECAUSE THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME AT BLUE BOTTLE so I might not have been able to understand the barista yelling "Cat! Cappuccino!" directly at both of us, or maybe I had just forgotten that my name was actually Cat, or perhaps I didn't know what a cappuccino was, and she was being helpful! I demonstrated my appreciation by slowly shaking my head. Cat=Cappuccino! Amanda=Americano! When I look back, it seems so clear, and I wonder: Was it also her first time at Blue Bottle Park Slope?
d. Steve Buscemi walked in as I was leaving and ordered a pastry to go. Steve Buscemi did not care that I was visiting Blue Bottle Park Slope for the first time. Steve Buscemi is an eat-pastry-first, educate-the-Blue-Bottle-newbies-never kinda guy.
Hello! I love you! Won't you tell me your name? (This reference does not in any way constitute admiration or recommendation of The Doors catalog.) I do want to know your name. Even if it's your fake internet name. And I do love you, even if you are a fake internet person. Even if you're a bot! Calling all bots! I love you and I fear your progeny. Please leave your unintelligible spam in the comment section and I shall say I knew you when.
I do truly care about robots. In fact, all of my fiction these days seems to concern some version of them. I am even considering taking up a pen name and writing sex-robot erotica. Can this be an inroad to a successful Patreon account? Please leave your skepticism or overstated support in the comment section and I shall thank you in a future post on gratitude and grit.
Can you tell I have nothing really to say and that this is all in service of revealing a fun project into the world? Erin Davis (check out her new podcast Playwork) and I adapted my story "Jitters," first published in The New Engagement last year, into audio fiction. We actually thought we were cool enough to teach a course on audio fiction at Middlebury College this year (and we were). So, please, take a listen. We think it's fun and worth 7:51 minutes of your time.
MORE Titles for Unwritten Monologues, Open Letters, and Lists I Will Likely Never Submit to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Nor Indeed Ever Write (COPYRIGHT PROTECTED)
SHORT IMAGINED MONOLOGUES
Monologue: As a United Airlines Flight Attendant, It Is My Duty to Inform You that the First Rule of In-Flight Fight Club is YOU DO NOT TWEET About In-Flight Fight Club
Monologue: I am CREATINE, King of the Pantry Shelf
Monologue: I AM A NY POST HEADLINE! ADJECTIVE NOUN PUNNY-ADVERB DOUBLE-ENTENDRE VERB ARTICLE SLEAZY-NOUN!
Monologue: AAAAAAAAAAS YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU WIIIIIIIIIIISHHHHHHHHH
List: Forty Questions to Ask the Next Lyft Line Passenger Who Does Not at Any Time Acknowledge Your Co-Existence in the Backseat
List: 1500 Reasons You're Smarter, Funnier, and Oh Yeah Totally a Better Writer Than That 25-Year-Old NYT Bestselling Novelist Could Ever Hope to Be, Even When She Gets To Be As Old As You Are, 37, An Age That, Were You to Get Pregnant, Would Mean You'd Be Having a Geriatric Pregnancy and Yes, You Heard That Right, a GERIATRIC PREGNANCY.
List: Hard to Read Hashtag or Passive-Aggressive Death Threat?
OPEN LETTERS TO PEOPLE OR ENTITIES WHO ARE UNLIKELY TO RESPOND
Open Letter To My Hearing-Strained Elderly Neighbor's WebCam Sex-Worker, Jasmin
Open Letter To Delia's Catalog, Circa 1994, Signed Woman in Late 30s Confronted With Cold- Shoulder Tops in 2018
Open Letter to Our Non-Consensual Meme Culture
Open Letter to Yo Mama, Kimora Lee Simmons, Who SO PHAT...
February 2018: Why You Should Be Listening to More Fiction; Regaling You With Tales of Xtreme Vermonting; and, Facebook: I Just Can't Quit You
It's been three weeks since I stopped Vermonting, but I'm still wearing wool socks and eating more cheese than I probably should. While I am thrilled to be back home, life in Brooklyn can't compete with the excitement of Xtreme Vermonting in January, which for me included: abandoning a car at the top of my friend's driveway and sliding down 100 feet of pure ice, extinguishing a fireworks-induced brush fire in the field behind my friend's home, extracting my right leg and hip from a frozen creek after breaking through the ice, and walking three miles in the dark down a snowy street sans sidewalks and streetlights. Shenanigans and misadventures galore! I miss it.
While there, the aforementioned friend, Erin Davis, and I also successfully pulled off our collaborative class, "From Page to Podcast," which resulted in some really great audio fiction, including some examples I've included at the bottom of the post. AND we finished producing our own piece of audio fiction, an adaptation of my short story "Jitters," which was originally published in The New Engagement last year. Curious? Check out the teaser clip below.
Erin quit Facebook a couple of months ago, and seems not to miss it one bit. This is a general "quit social media" trend I both support and envy. I have not one, but TWO FB accounts, which kinda sorta happened after some person with too much time on their hands reported my "fake name" (a holdover from my performer days) and my account was suspended, with FB authorities forcing me to submit my ID to show my actual name. I tried to fight this, failed, and eventually decided I'd use it as my "official writer and upstanding citizen/applicant for jobs in the 21st century" presence and I opened another "fake name" FB account. All of this is, of course, a ridiculous waste of energy and WHY DO I NEED FACEBOOK? I will tell you. Because: #Binders. I can't tell you how many valuable freelance gigs and inside intel I've received by being a member of various secret Binders subgroups--not to mention the amazing connections I've made and community formed with other women writers all over the world. Until we can move all of that off of FB, I'm afraid I'm tied to this platform for that reason alone. Sigh.
Want to get a taste of the future of audio fiction? Check out these student projects: "Pens," written by Jasmine Chau and adapted for audio by Olivia Ryder; "The Last Love on Earth," written by Arianna Reyes and adapted for audio by Ethan Reilly; and the lovely story, "Beaches," written by Jaquira Díaz (originally published in Brevity) and lovingly adapted for audio by Tim Hansen.
Oh GOD, it's already February 18, 2018 and this is my first blog post of the year.
And the mass murder carried out at a Florida high school four days ago was the EIGHTEENTH school shooting of the year. It's all been said before, but I can't help but take a moment to address the ideological stronghold of Second Amendment advocates: If we can find practical reasons to place limitations on the First Amendment (i.e., can't falsely yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, can't voice a call for violence), why claim there is no middle ground on legislation that places limits on the Second Amendment when it's in the interest of public safety? There is plenty of room for compromise.
The "slippery-slope" argument is bunk, so spare me that. The "individual rights" interpretation of the amendment was already established as precedent in SCOTUS's Columbia v. Heller. If gun-owners want to make sure they have the right to buy a gun for self-defense, hunting, or whatever other legal, non-murderous purpose, why wouldn't they support compromise over gun control? Can't they see that the insanity, the extremity of this zero-tolerance for gun control actually makes it MORE LIKELY that a movement will eventually push another case before SCOTUS, where Heller is overturned by a subsequent decision (perhaps that scrutinizes the words "well regulated") that shoots down--yeah, pun intended--their precious individual rights reading?
No political force is indestructible: not even the gun lobby. Movements will gain momentum. Cut your losses, gun-owners, and get on the right side of history: Support sensible gun control policies.
Students and teachers: support the resistance to inaction and participate in the walkouts planned for March 14 and April 20! Everyone else: rally in D.C. at the March for Our Lives on March 24!
October 2017 News: The Author Has Not Consumed Any Pumpkin, Yet "Pumpkin" Remains on Perpetually Rotating List of Top 100 Words in English Language
Despite, well, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, I'm in a predominantly merry mood these days. Why? I will tell you: I've eschewed all things pumpkin, have instead been eating a lot of roasted sweet potatoes with ghee and cinnamon, and I have plans for the entirety of January and they do not involve living in (my otherwise beloved) NYC.
I'll be a visiting instructor at Middlebury College, teaching a winter term course, a collaboration with my dear friend Erin Davis, an artist, filmmaker, radio producer, and educator. Audio Fiction: From Page to Podcast will get sixteen writing students together to write and workshop flash fiction for the first half of the semester, who will then pair up with Erin's class of audio producers. Together they'll spend the rest of the semester producing studio recordings of these stories.
I always love teaching creative writing workshops, but I'm especially excited about the collaborative nature of this course. Writers of prose and poetry are usually generating work in solitude; as a writer I understand this to be the beautiful and beastly nature of the craft, but as someone who was also once a performer, I genuinely miss those opportunities to form creative partnerships and collectivities. They have the power to strengthen and broaden individual student artists' sensibilities at a crucial time in their development.
I hope to chronicle the collaboration in this blog. And Erin and I are working on our own project, an adaptation of my story Jitters, which may eventually make its debut here. Much is afoot!
Where I Dig Up Some Travel Journal Writing Because I'm JUST TOO BUSY to Blog, Pt. 1: Waiting for Marla in Chiang Mai
“I’m about to do something I really don’t want to do,” the man says, sipping his beer.
“Do tell,” I say, scanning the scant shelves for martini fixings.
In the preceding two weeks, I’ve learned that Thailand doesn’t do martinis, and in the preceding two minutes, I’ve decided that if an expat bar owned by a retired war correspondent didn’t know how to marry ice-cold gin and vermouth, I’d have to teach them.
“You see, there’s this—person—on her way over,” he continues.
I’ve only just sat down at the bar, and I’ve only just arrived in Chiang Mai, a one-hour flight north from Krabi. I was not prepared for the reality of the city: the scores of European and Australasian tourists crowding sidewalk-bereft roads; the open-air bars and restaurants piling on top of one another—mostly empty, containing three or four bored but attentive Thai girls to every one pale pensioner; the pair of rats that ran over the tops of my feet, running for their lives in the same way I did across streets of clamoring tuk-tuks, taxis, and motorbikes.
“I used to know her, oh, about ten years ago, when we partied in Bangkok. Wild parties. I guess you could say I’m pretty goddamn nervous about it.” The man laughs and takes a sip, then another. I have nothing yet to sip, and am distracted by this, but the man interests me nonetheless.
Titles for Unwritten Monologues, Open Letters, and Lists I Will Likely Never Submit to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Nor Indeed Ever Write (Developing Story)
Letter: Regretfully, Mercury Retrograde Demands That We Postpone Your Wart Removal
List: 88 Ways to Please Your Plumber
Monologue: I’m a Bisexual Astrophysicist: Why, Yes, My Moon Is in Pisces
Poll: Did You Brush Your Teeth This Morning? Really?
In Response to the Babadook: Inanimate Objects and Other Non-Human Entities I Will Out on Gay Twitter This Month
The Whole Endive Family, Really
Fabuloso Multi-Purpose Cleaning Solution
Vintage Lot of Souvenir Spoons
The Quaker Oats Guy, Who’s Fooling No One With That Hat, Gurl
Anjelica Huston’s Nose Whistle
The Ghosts of Rasputin and Tsar Nicolas II of Russia, Sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G
Those Cankles Tho
The Following Fonts: Apple Chancery, Cooper Std Black, Perpetua Titling Mt