Tag Archives: writing

Kick The Shit Out of Life

maria

Maria Semple, total badass & Yours Truly, lipstick-wearer

“Maria Semple has a total boner for your writing.” So said Katty, far and away the best part of the writing workshop we finished last month. Tom Skerritt was a fellow classmate, too, because my life is just a series of What The Fuck moments held together by carbs and decorative washi tape from the dollar store. I want to say meeting Katty was nice, a word that describes nothing and leads to other nothing-words like interesting or cool, but really, it was a relief. There is so much weight lifted when you meet a kindred spirit, someone you don’t have to be anyone else but yourself around, loudly and without apology; someone who gets your language and likes making fun of the same people. Our friendship was forged rather quickly — a satirical shotgun marriage, if you will, pregnant with a friendship baby who likes yelling fuck over various dessert items. She is a curly-haired, barely-contained East Coast tornado, which works since I’m a West Coast weather system trapped in a supermodel’s body.

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Deconstructed Burns

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WHAT AM I

Even as a child, Pee-Wee Herman’s “I know you are but what am I?” just seemed really lazy, until no doy and the unfortunate “Not!” craze came along. “Not!” is the first popular phrase I remember both kids and adults overusing, which made me hate it even more. I guess it was the 80’s version of today’s “Fake news!” so no wonder it tastes like rancid orange soda in my mouth.

I know you are but what am I? starts off strong by psyching out your opponent with TOTAL AGREEMENT. I know you are. Then it naturally morphs into passive aggressive existential confusion. But what am I?

What am I?

JUST TELL ME WHO I AM.

I know you are but what am I? relies too much on who you’re talking to. Whatever they say – you’re a dink, you’re a pickle, you are way too fucking tall – you just agree (I know), lob back their insult (you are), then demand another round (but what am I?). I KNOW YOU’RE A PICKLE BUT LET’S FOCUS ON ME.

Your opponent gains style points for making you sound like a self-centered, unoriginal asshole.

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Proof of Evolution

globeonfire

Current mood

We are 286 days into a world on actual fire, and I’m eating pho like it’s the secret antidote. Pho is the steaming security blanket to my current dystopian nightmares; the carbohydrate cure-all for my wintry blues; the delicious, healing constant in a world ravaged by political fuckboys and predatory weather. Eating pho is an aggressive act of self care for me; a chance to administer much-needed soup CPR. Over Vietnamese iced coffee and spicy noodle soup, I talk, brood, listen, heal, think, breathe, and just get right. No matter what state of mind I go in, I always come out better, and ready for whatever comes next.

Given our current political climate and the built-in anxiety, it’s no surprise I’ve eaten approximately 96,000 bowls of pho in the past 10 months (give or take a few bowls). Watching the world burn down around you can have that effect. Pho is the place I remember there are good things in the world while also bracing myself for it.

My first bowl of pho was not a transcendent experience. One of my best friends, Auticia, took me to a Than Brothers in Ballard, where I eyed the plate of garnishes meanly and the plate of cream puffs with confusion. Who ate these things together? There was sriracha on the table, and a giant squeeze bottle of dark mystery goo — all of which would be dumped into a bowl of broth with rice noodles, then paired with basil, bean sprouts, lime, and jalapeno. If the sriracha and jalapeno weren’t enough, there was an ominous jar of what looked like the jam equivalent of a fire alarm on the table. Why not pour gasoline directly into your mouth and then toss in a lit match? At the time, I didn’t even use black pepper because it was kinda spicy, you guys. The whole flavor mash-up was a bridge too far for this zero-star, plain-eating Queen of Mayonnaise.

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The Roaring Twenties

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When I was nine, I couldn’t wait to be in my twenties and all the question marks that entailed. At that point, most of my ideas around being an adult came from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Adventures in Babysitting. People did real-life things in their twenties, like had boyfriends and jobs and cars and stayed up way past 8pm. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew I wanted to get there fast. Freedom of choice, late nights, making memories, finding trouble; I couldn’t wait for the future adventures of awesome adult me.

In my thirties, I referenced my twenties like they lived next door. I’d start a story with “A few years’ back…” and later realize it had been ten. I had my first real ma’am in my thirties, where a pimply-faced worker bee scanned my face for way too long before deciding I was old enough to be ma’am-ed. I considered slashing his tires to prove how young and dumb I was, but I wasn’t that young and dumb, so I didn’t. I worried about 40 for the first time and I guess being somebody in what was now a shrinking time frame. Girls at parties said, “Oh my god, I didn’t know you were [whatever age], I thought you were [a much younger age]!” It flattered and annoyed me, these plucky young women who thought 38 was ancient and 25 was some kind of prize. I wouldn’t do 25 again, not for a lifetime supply of cheese. Was age even really that important?

In my forties, I started wondering out loud if age was really that important, and was met with mostly silence and eyerolls. I talked about my twenties with part-awe (how am I still alive after so many bad choices?? oh, me!) and part-wistfulness (remember when I could wear heels?) for all the things I thought would happen but never actually did. No older French lovers, no artist retreats, no picking up at a moment’s notice to travel the world and have adventures or explore the countryside, wherever that was. I never did – not once –  ayahuasca in the jungle with Tom Robbins or some other literary giant. None of these things happened because 1) I’m not a blond chick in a movie and 2) I was too busy barely surviving. I was broke and also broken, or at least in the process of breaking, and not for the first time. I bumbled my way through that decade, making lovely people cringe and simple things harder, never knowing what direction to go in. So far, this is what I remember most about my twenties.

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What Is The Evergrey?

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It’s not this.

-Seattle singles meetup for people over 60

-University of Washington meteorology-psychology blog about weather and depression

-Craft cocktail bar located in the heart of Georgetown and sister to Pioneer Square’s ‘Damn the Weather’

-Seattle’s first built-green community and bold new approach to apartment micro-living in partnership with Amazon’s real estate arm, Amazoned

-Seattle’s on-the-rise gothic metal band singing everyone’s favorite hits from the Nineties and beyond

-A new CW series following the Tech Rich Kids of Instagram — featuring the extravagant lifestyles of the Evergrey twins, who will stop at nothing in their rise to the top

-Favorite ice cream flavor of The Queen of England: two-parts Earl Grey tea, one-part orange blossom, one-part vanilla bean

-Subreddit group dedicated to The Nothing in a Netflix original documentary about fanatics of The Neverending Story

-Popular Instagram account for people rocking grey hair at any age

-A fictional disease on Game of Thrones

-A comprehensive daily Seattle newsletter written by two kickass women about staying connected to a city that’s currently on steroids

If you guessed the last one, you’re correct; if you guessed any of the others, how will you look at yourself in the mirror from this day forward?

To anyone coming from The Evergrey today, or perhaps my Facebook announcement, I shout hello through this series of complicated tubes *shakes fist at Al Gore* and look forward to shouting in person.

I’m excited to be facilitating The Everygrey’s newly-announced writing group, beginning January 2017. The application deadline is December 31, 2016 — my wedding anniversary, in fact, where we will be out and about having legendary adventures in every corner of Seattle*.

*or: pizza, pajamas, a Westworld marathon, sawing logs the size of Ents before midnight

For those who came here wondering what my deal is before applying, take the leap! What do you have to lose besides four limbs, a car, and part of your Roth IRA? At the very least, connections will be made and you’ll get some time to workshop your writing. At best, we’ll create a nude writing group calendar for charity and Ellen will invite us on her show and we’ll get famous for like four minutes and then you know she’ll give someone a car (pleasebeme). Ellen’s always trying to out-Oprah herself. I’d like to be there when she finally succeeds.

My leadership qualifications include: I read the first two chapters of Infinite Jest and know all the words to Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’. A strong voice. An open mind. Dated a guy who ran for high school president and won.

As for the structure of our writing group, I’m thinking something like The Voice in that it’s exactly like The Voice. Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Country Guy, and I will sit in our rotating plastic Tron chairs and judge you. Finally, a job that plays to my strengths.

I look forward to working with a great group of people, whatever circus parade we decide on! Let’s stay in touch like we met five weeks ago at miniature horse camp:

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