Wednesday, May 30, 2018

hot pocket.

hello, i got my uterus microwaved. anyone who has ever read a women's magazine while praying for death in a stalled grocery line can tell you that march is the perfect time for spring cleaning, and i decided that rather than trying to figure out how to "spark joy" or accidentally pass out from oven cleaner fumes i would instead check myself into the hospital and have my uterine walls scraped clean and then set on fire so that it might sit dormant and useless inside me, like my appendix or my soul. my period has been weird from the minute it showed up, rude and temperamental and inconsistent, same as every single boyfriend i had between 2004 and that 2-year period of celibacy during which i always made sure to thoroughly chew my food lest i choke on a discounted slab of salisbury steak i'd only partially defrosted for my evening meal. i'm not even gonna sugarcoat it: throughout much of the last decade i have been so preoccupied with whatever is going on with my back butt that i have only paid fleeting attention to what is going on with the front one. and fuck calling the doctor, whose prescription of TRY TO BE LESS STRESSED is not a real thing that i can actually be, okay?! i have long suffered the anxiety-ridden latenight google searches of the woman burdened with an irregular menstrual cycle:
"can i get pregnant?"
"am i actually pregnant?"
"where has my period been for the last three months?"
"can that flowers in the attic thing actually happen to me?"
"are white culottes a mistake?"
"do you need to have a period to stay alive?"

for the most part, my period has never really interfered with my daily activities, which is 100% the only reason i ever try to solve any of my problems. has it smelled weird? okay sure, but that's totally normal, at least according to my doctor the health and fitness page in cosmopolitan magazine. has it gone missing for months at a time? yes to that, too, but it's not like i ever really missed it. and it's just so easy to keep spending all my tampon money on manicures and not think about sending a search party into my cervix to see what the fuck is going on in there when month after month of fearlessly wearing light-colored pants just slips on by. if this gross collection of mucus and nitrogen wants me to acknowledge its existence, then it's gonna need to erupt like a geyser on an amtrak train. otherwise, SORRY BUT I HAVE SHOWS TO WATCH.

and then five months ago, after some months of semi-regularity i can only attribute to eating more vegetables and not talking to any men, the dam broke. i was dirtying up a fancy hotel in oppressively-hot austin just minding my business and trying not to spontaneously combust on a 90 degree day in "autumn," when i woke up in a pool of my own sticky, clotting sloughed-off endometrial cells and vaginal secretions. when i first reluctantly pried my eyes open and registered the cold, soiled diaper feeling happening below the waistband of my stegosaurus pajama bottoms i thought, with a cheerfulness that is quite foreign to me, "wow my butt sweats a lot!" it was definitely not sweat. and i don't know what's on your list of nightmare situations that you pray never happen to you (number one on my list? ever witnessing any sort of crime), but please slide UNWITTINGLY DESTROYING A HOTEL BED to the top if it isn't there already. 

i oozed out of bed, trying not to further damage any blindingly white property i will never be able to afford to replace, and calculated how best to remove my clothes without turning the room into something from the shining. and then, once they were off, how could i clean them? what was i supposed to do with the carnage that had occurred between the bleached sheets? does the intercontinental ever allow people to shame wash their own soiled bedding?! i texted amelia, the only adult in my phone who knows how to capably handle a sensitive etiquette situation, and she told me to pull everything off the bed and roll it into a tight ball (because this signifies to the staff that something horrible happened in there and under no circumstances should they hazard a glance) and put everything on the floor, then leave all the cash i had in my wallet on the bed and find someplace air conditioned to bleed all day so i wouldn't have to make awkward, apologetic small talk with the person tasked with sorting the blood-splattered towels of a person whose period tracker just reads ??? every month. is this what it's like to be drake? i wondered aloud to myself, picturing him singing softly as he neatly rolled sheets soaked in expensive champagne and various bodily fluids into a tight cylinder, kicking aside discarded louboutins and candy wrappers. no, he definitely has an assistant for that.

i never stopped bleeding! the next day, i bled on delta flight 1822 from austin to detroit. i bled all through friendsgiving dinner two weeks later, during which i sat in a diaper on a dark-colored towel and refused the cranberry sauce because it looked too much like my period. i bled in my reindeer pjs on christmas eve, hoping santa would leave me an industrial pack of depends under the tree. i bled through the new year. i was still bleeding on valentine's day.

i just spent the past two harried months squinting at flight information displays in DC and san francisco and omaha airports while lugging twenty pounds of leggings i tried not to spill anything on during my book tour, and i knew there was no way on earth i was going to be able to do that while also worrying that my personal red wedding could strike, in public, at any moment. so i called my new doctor, one i found who i knew wouldn't prescribe deep breathing and essential oils to not fix my out of whack hormones, and asked for a hysterectomy. which i thought would be easy, like ordering a pizza or getting an uber. i thought i had at least most of the necessary pieces of the hysterectomy jigsaw puzzle: an aversion to inexplicably bleeding like a wounded animal for weeks at a time, being old enough to remember watching gimme a break while sitting cross legged on an unironic shag carpet, a wife. 

but did you know that 38 is still "young?" and that queers can have babies?! (jk jk every gay couple i know has, like, nine kids.) anyway my dude was like "lol yeah right we're leaving it in you don't have fibroids" even as i was actively bleeding through my underwear and pants, gooey red jelly seeping onto that noisy white crinkle paper they line the exam table with. but he did offer to do a hysteroscopy (a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the uterus so the doctor can read whatever ancient hieroglyphics have been written on its walls; i imagine there was some hastily written "daniel was here, bitch" graffiti on the closest wall of the cave); a D and C (dilation and curettage, where they scrape the uterine lining off with a soup spoon); and an endometrial ablation (i think there are multiple delicious options on the ablation menu, but pretty sure mine was burned off with a microwave wand, which will never not be cool to me). a veritable smorgasbord of gynecological delights.

i have not been penetrated that deeply in a very long time and it's a bummer that i had to sleep through it, although the fentanyl they pumped into my veins afterward was as good as any dick i've ever had. i'd never been under general anesthesia before, and the experience wasn't like grey's anatomy at all? there was no sabotage being plotted in any supply closets, no gunman busting in and taking us hostage even though i desperately need the kidney they're about to implant in me and if i don't get it i will die, no McDreamy gazing dreamily down at me while sensually telling me to count backwards from ten as i lust over each individual coarse bit of stubble in his smoldering five o'clock shadow. oh no, in outpatient operating room number three McTired barked "YOU'RE GONNA FEEL SOME HEAT" in my general direction then my brain caught fire for two seconds and i disappeared from earth, only to regain consciousness in a room full of very nice nurses who brought me cold drinks that i struggled not to throw up. and then they gave me a bag of disposable underwear to leak into and sent me home where i could whine to my heart's content, like the baby i would no longer be capable of giving birth to.

it's two months later and i feel as good as a person with untreated anxiety can allow herself to feel, which is to say that i am cautiously optimistic because i haven't seen aunt flo in a while but also battling the sinking feeling of dread that has formed in the pit of my stomach because i just used the term aunt flo. do people even say that anymore? am i even funny? is this totally dumb?! now that i don't have to think about accidentally staining my chair at olive garden i have so much more bandwidth to worry about other inconsequential shit! bring on the unflattering and seasonally inappropriate white pants!!1!!11!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

on the road again.

i'm going on tour, again. this time, to support the re-release of my first book, meaty. i cannot wait to lug my computer from state to state pretending i'm gonna get some work done and pack a bunch of back-breaking hardcover books that i'm definitely gonna bail on in favor of whatever john cena film is available on the plane. that's right i'm abandoning my many cats and inside pants to travel across the country with a knot of anxiety in my stomach as i anticipate stammering over words i actually wrote as people record my foibles on their phones and then tag me in the uploads so i can relive the humiliation ad infinitum. also it's a rough time for me to be away from home, as i just got caught up on the voice and i'm still trying to wrap my head around what the fuck the deal is with here and now plus billions is coming back this weekend! does the best western milwaukee offer showtime as part of their basic package!? 

one of the things you should understand, as you scroll through this list and feel your blood boiling with rage as you realize that where you live isn't anywhere close to where i'm going, is that i don't make this schedule. no one calls me and says "hey sam, tell me in which direction to point the magic carpet!" i get an email with a list of dates and places and times and then i email back "okay looks good" without really registering what it says while wondering who i know that will buy me a beer in [your city here]. if the shit were up to me my tour would be 1 evanston, illinois and 2 the flying j truck stop between where i live and evanston, illinois. flying across the country to get flop sweat all over a bunch of people who will inevitably be disappointed that they've chosen to leave the house after 6pm on a weeknight is a petrifying idea, and figuring out how many unflattering cat sweaters to try and sneak past the TSA is even worse.

okay so here's the list. i'm pretty sure it's accurate. generally, they all start in the 7-730p range, except omaha which i noted below. some of these things are ticketed. some of these things are not. none of these things is my responsibility! don't text me! i have a list of the places i'm staying written on the back of a napkin that i stuck in my wallet and a bunch of printed-out emails of all my flights that have changed a dozen times, i don't know shit about the parking options at a bookstore in the middle of minneapolis! DO YOUR GOOGLES.

tuesday april 3
brookline booksmith
brookline, MA

friday april 6
books are magic
in conversation with abbi jacobson
brooklyn, NY

tuesday april 10
politics & prose
washington DC

wednesday april 11
town hall
in conversation with lindy west
seattle, WA

friday april 13
powell's burnside
portland, OR

monday april 16
the booksmith
san francisco, CA

tuesday april 17
book soup
los angeles, CA

wednesday april 25
bookbug/this is a bookstore
kalamazoo, MI

thursday may 3
women and children first (wilson abbey)
chicago, IL

tuesday may 8
moon palace
minneapolis, MN

wednesday may 9
brooklyn park library
minneapolis, MN

thursday may 10
boswell book company
milwaukee, WI

friday may 11
city opera house
traverse city, MI

saturday may 19
the bookworm 1pm start time!!
in conversation with rainbow rowell
omaha, NE

if you already bought meaty, first of all? i don't believe you! but, just in case you have and need to be convinced to get the update, allow me to enumerate the reasons you should buy this new version:
1 there's a hedgehog on it. i'm not sure how scowling baby animals became my brand but i'm into it. i apologize in advance to those of you whose small children try to select it for their bedtime story based on the cover alone.
2 it's full of CAPS CAPS CAPS and the word "motherfucker" is in it approximately 4000 times. i recorded the audiobook a month ago and i should get a fucking prize for surviving that humbling experience. my editor wanted to keep the book as close to its original form as possible. so i wrote some new stuff and added it to the mix but i didn't get to erase everything that now sounds stupid to my wizened 38-year-old ears. i flinched through the entire thing like "wow i can't believe i wrote that i don't even talk like that anymore."
3 bitch it's like the cost of a fancy latte come on now. far be it from me to count your money for you but listen there's a reason i only make paperbacks. hardcover books cost, what, thirty bucks? YEAH RIGHT, HOE. i mean i'll buy that shit but i'm definitely gonna resent you the whole time! but you don't even have to waste your hate energy on me because it's cheap, it tucks into a handbag, and it's only 280+ pages so it's not that huge of a commitment. and even those are mostly recipes and tons of curse words strung together. it'll fly by!

if i'm coming to your town and you happen to be free and don't mind keeping your pants on for an extra hour after you get done with work come check me out. please don't make me read about buttholes to an empty room. i promise that i am very charming and polite; i won't even break your balls after you make the 137th iteration of the "we're actually meeting in real life!!11!1!!!" joke of the evening.
ps, i've stopped wearing deodorant. see you soon!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

swipe left!

my okcupid screen name was fartthrob. i can't remember exactly what i wrote in my ~extremely earnest~ profile, but i know that it was probably full of awkward attempts at humor while also apologizing in advance to anyone who dared to meet me in real life. my shit had paragraphs, okay? i was really trying to distill the best parts of myself into an appealing internet soundbite that was impressive yet also sincere. i never pledged allegiance to obscure bands i couldn't quote off the top of my head, never pretended to be really into coffee or sushi or anything that could be disproven within five minutes of making my acquaintance. there's always some wiseguy who'll show up at the restaurant like "oh hey aren't you really into albino caviar?" and then you gotta smile and choke that slimy shit down or admit that you're a lying asshole. i can't deal with that kind of pressure. honestly my headline should have been: LIKES MCDONALDS, ON MEDS.

two of my actual friends who live in totally different parts of the country have recently found themselves scrolling through tinder and/or okcupid, presumably looking for handsome and wildly successful strangers to save them from the doldrums of dating and transport them to their amazing new futures as women who use hashtags like #lovehim and #heputaringonit, and within the last few weeks both of these jerks texted me screenshots of profiles either featuring pictures of my book's cover or featuring quotes like "just started reading samantha irby's book" and LOLWAT. first of all, does that actually work?! living is a mistake! fuck i couldn't get fucking laid fucking being samantha irby so is my perimenopausal book that is 70% about shitting in the street really getting brian in new york city some unenthusiastic sex?!

first of all, i'm not humblebragging. i'm genuinely mystified! THAT BOOK IS ABOUT A HOUSECAT AND MY DEAD DAD WHAT THE FUCK. if i picked any of those essays and read it to you you'd put me in therapy, not offer to finger me! what have i been doing wrong?! i'm fucking salty. anyhow, gentlemen: thank you i guess. i (ahem, the multi-tentacled publishing conglomerate that allowed me to write at length about my asshole on a national stage) appreciate your sixteen dollars. writing a book is hard! i mean, not ~brain surgery~ hard? but harder than, say, crying alone in a dark room while listening to foreign fields, which is what i would much rather have spent a whole year doing rather than entertaining men with dogs as their profile picture with my pain. and i'm married to your mom's crafty sister, so it's not like i could run out and expose myself to a bunch of people's pheromones to celebrate my crowning achievement; the day my fucking book came out i had a sensible, nutritionally balanced meal at three in the afternoon and fell asleep with my clothes on and modern family reruns muted on the tv. i'm not a jealous person but i do hate a lot of things, and knowing that quoting me is more lucrative than actually being me? i hate that a lot!

so this is how your courtship gotta go if you use my stupid cat book to try to fuck people on the internet, because fuck you:

1 you gotta pay. no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum, if you pretend that you read what i write then you have to know that i want the inviter to foot the bill, not only because i have a deep and abiding respect for manners but also because nothing is more excruciating than that awkward moment the bill comes and everyone at the table does the herky-jerky wallet dance. and that bill can't be for a date that involves "chilling at my place" or "a coffee at that spot down the street from my job." i'm not so out of it and naive that i think you're on bumble to buy a stranger a five course meal but i also don't think you should get your salad tossed for the price of a latte.

2 you gotta have a sex playlist full of the saddest songs ever recorded. I DON'T BELIEVE IN ROMANTIC MUSIC. music is for weeping softly into a pilled sweater with holes in it that the cat barfed on that you haven't sufficiently cleaned, not for sex! but if you insist, let's bang to radiohead b-sides or some shit then lie next to each other and have nightmares. don't embarrass me by making me take my shirt off to whatever you think 
how long does sex take? thirteen minutes? anyway, here's five songs that have made me cry in the last seven days to dry hump to:
"after slice" ivory waves
"silver soul" beach house
"death of a star" james tillman
"la lune" king krule
"live well" palace
i would not ~make love~ to these songs, i would read a little life by candlelight to these songs, but you do you.

3 you gotta have a three towels minimum and two-ply toilet paper. i'm not even sure how often i have had to use a towel in someone else's house but i want the fucking option, okay? i just want to know that if i suddenly get a nosebleed or accidentally find that spongy spot buried deep within my vaginal wall that i've read about dozens of times in cosmo that unlocks my secret squirting powers that i won't have to mop up the wreckage with a bunch of ketchup-sticky burger king napkins. those are for when company comes over. ugh and they even manufacture one-ply toilet paper for home use is beyond me, but if you are a human person who can find people six blocks away to fuck on your handy pocket computer, you can reach on past that scott's megaroll (it balls up in your ass hairs, come on fam!) and grab that cushy charmin extra strong.

4 you gotta have a stack of books somewhere. i don't even feel like this is that much of a stretch if the bait you used to lure some unsuspecting catfish was a picture of my goddamn book. but maybe you borrowed it for instagram purposes, which i understand believe me, but i hope you at least skimmed the first couple of pages. even if you didn't, grab some books it looks like you might convincingly sit down to read, and display them in clear view from the bed. don't be like me that time this dude i was IN LOVE WITH asked what i thought of the stranger, a copy of which i had casually tossed on the coffee table he would have to walk past after learning of its existence a mere two weeks prior on his black planet profile. it was the "excuse me, what?" heard round the world. learn from my mistakes, children. leave out a book you read junior year.

5 you gotta have a tv. i know i'm showing every single one of my 137 years here but listen: i hate watching shit on the goddamn computer. i do it sometimes, because of airport layovers and writing procrastination, but i don't like it. i think this might be a holdover fear from my impoverished youth, but i'm terrified of falling asleep with my computer on the bed and shorting the fucking keyboard out because i drooled on it or whatever. and this shit cost over a thousand motherfucking dollars, which is more than i paid for an actual car once and yes i was too embarrassed to valet it and once parked it six blocks away from the club so no one i was eventually gonna hit on would see me getting out of that raggedy shit but that is beside the point. THESE MACHINES ARE EXPENSIVE. also, it's literally impossible for two people to comfortably watch a laptop and both enjoy the show don't @ me.

apparently amanda swiped right on the most recent self-proclaimed fan of my work, and i told her that if they hang she has to facetime me during the sex so i can tell him whether or not i'm a big fan of his, too.

if you're in the market for romance and need some bait, get my old book: here
and you can pre-order my new-ish book: here for after you guys break up!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

what the fuck is "art."

art is boring! i do not understand surrealism, performance art makes me uncomfortable, and nuance is lost on me. what is a triptych? abstract art mostly doesn't make sense? when was the neoclassical period? are these things it might actually benefit my life to know!? probably not! i mean, ART is for pretentious assholes. but listen, i also used to call a quiche a kweesh so who the fuck even cares what i have to say about a painting.

when i was pretending to be a cool twentysomething in the city i used to lie to people i was interested in having sex with and say i was curious about art, but that's an easy thing to say that is nearly impossible to disprove. if you say you know about art and then someone asks you a serious question about it and all you can do in response is stammer, "um, duh, frida kahlo?" then THAT SUCKS. but if you claim to be "curious" the very definition of that shit is literally "idk but i might want to?" i mean i'm curious about a lot of things:
-lion cubs
-heart surgery
but that doesn't mean i could carry on an intelligent conversation about any of those subjects. (and if i'm being honest i don't care enough about any of them to do more than skim an article or two.) here's the thing: i don't know anything. okay that's not true, i know a handful of super specific things that i will likely never be tested on, plus if there ever was an impromptu general knowledge exam i could probably fake my way through at least 3/4 of it, but i don't really know anything i could ever speak confidently about to anyone else, especially if they are more than nine years old. people are always asking me to speak at things where audience members will have clipboards and recording devices hoping to use whatever i'm saying practically in their own lives and my response every time is ARE YOU KIDDING ME. listen, i would love to speak at your university's gastrointestinal conference, sir in my inbox, but i don't even know which one my pancreas is. call up someone who actually knows what bile does.

when the producer of this podcast "a piece of work" that was in development and emailed to ask if i would be interested in going to a museum in new york and looking at art with my pal abbi i was like "haha yeah right girl what is a podcast." every week i listen to the read while cleaning the bathroom but other than that i can't be bothered. and okay, i listened to serial the first time around and became heavily invested in adnan's fate and when i remember it exists i can sometimes find this american life on public radio in the car but seriously podcasts are overwhelming to me so i mostly just steer clear of them. 1 there are a lot of them, and i don't know how to decide which one to listen to, and even if i could narrow them all down to just a couple is it fair to start with the most recent or do i have to go all the way back to the beginning and if the shit's been on since 2013 how am i ever gonna catch up? that's a lot of pressure! 2 also how do you listen to a podcast while doing anything else, please tell me. i have to sit still and focus like i'm in a classroom, with absolutely zero distractions in my line of vision, otherwise ten minutes into it i have no idea what the fuck i just heard. i tried to listen to dirty john a few weeks ago during a road trip and i missed the directions because siri sort of sounds like debra and i wasn't paying attention and long story short i still have no idea how it ends. 3 i listened to a joel osteen podcast ONE LOUSY TIME and now every time i check my podcasts there are his crinkly eyes asking "are you living a life of peace?" and you know what i don't need that kind of inquisition, reverend.

i took an art history class the one semester i paid attention in my scattered college career twenty years ago and honestly the only thing i remember was that the dude who always just happened to find the seat in front of mine in the middle of a crowded fucking auditorium would fall into a deep, comfortable sleep as soon as the professor dimmed the lights and i marveled that a person could relax that much anywhere, let alone in an auditorium full of rowdy nineteen-year-olds. i'm pretty sure i got a good grade in the class and i could not tell you how, because i have retained precisely 0% of all of the information i learned from those endless slideshows. but i agreed to do it despite my raging impostor syndrome and i went to new york and met abbi at the MoMA PS1 in queens, mostly because i had no idea when in the history of earth my name would be listed in the same sentence with rupaul or questlove ever the fuck again and turning down this opportunity felt ridiculous even for me. after i climbed to the top of the fucking building (why nyc just why) abbi greeted me in some fashion clothes with fashion hair and fashion electric blue eyeliner and let me tell you what it's like to have exactly one super-famous friend: on the one hand you'll be wide-eyed and mystified by their doing some dumb regular-ass shit like "whoa girl, you use the same stupid fucking google i use?!??!!!?!" and then on the other you'll meet up with them on a random thursday afternoon and they're still in makeup from being shot for THE COVER OF A FUCKING MAGAZINE. i was trying to discreetly wring out my soaking wet foundation garments because no matter what new york is always hot and you always have to scale the face of a mountain to get wherever you're trying to go while this bitch breezed in looking like a spring day on some "oh hey, i'm a model today." lol just fucking murder me already.

first they showed us this piece of text art (is that even a thing) that i looked at and, for the life of me, was rendered speechless because it just looked like a bunch of messy words that i could have made with five minutes and an inkpad but that is such a ridiculous thing to think and i was embarrassed because WHAT IF THESE PEOPLE CAN READ MY MIND and they know that in my head i am downplaying what is surely an impressive artwork too great for my tiny little cat brain to understand?! i was staring at it waiting for something brilliant to come out of my mouth but all i could formulate was "how much did this dude get paid to make this?" and listen i know the answer is either "one million dollars" or "they paid him in soup" because art is a mystery but i honestly wanted to know. what if i am wasting my time stringing my own words together and hoping they are funny and make sense when the real money is in quoting someone else's words and making them look cool on a canvas?

see, don't take me anywhere nice! or show me anything good! i'm the guy who puts ketchup on the steak like "durrr what's the big deal?" and you should absolutely know better than to take me to a place with cloth napkins! abbi was super cool about it and said "dude this is the reaction we want" and rachel the producer was laughing in a way that was definitely with me and not at me but all i could imagine was hannibal burress having some secret knowledge of color theory and scale while i was embarrassing myself slack-jawed in front of these paintings like "WOW, PRETTY."

next we went into a special room to look at a light installation, and all of the words that follow this sentence have been lifted verbatim from MoMA's description of the piece because my brain is literally a cake that fell in: one of artist james turrell’s celebrated skyspaces, meeting is a site-specific installation that invites viewers to gaze upwards toward an unobstructed view of the sky. a key representative of the “light and space” movement centered in los angeles during the 1960s, james turrell creates works of art that consist primarily of light, exploring fundamental questions about the nature of human perception by rendering tangible the act of vision. SOUNDS FUCKING DOPE, RIGHT. so the deal is you have to view the installation at sunset, and the best way to view it is to lie down on the floor in this room and stare at this hole that has been cut into the ceiling while a series of colored lights manipulates what you think you're seeing. so we (me, abbi, the sound guy who was very nice despite having to contort into many uncomfortable-looking yoga positions to record two idiots lying on their backs on the floor) all got down on the floor (i'm pretty sure i haven't been on a floor since my early 20s before all this joint disease started ruining my life and it definitely was a three-step process) and into prime viewing position (my left boob immediately rolled into my armpit and have you ever been in a super serious situation, like a thing you really can't afford to mess up, and right in the middle of it you feel a fart coming and you have to shift all of your attention to your butthole? because yes you need to nail this job interview but there's no way to do that if you release rotten broccoli wind in to your potential new boss's cramped office?) then the lightshow started as the sun began its descent (one half of my brain froze, existing only to monitor the incremental movements of whatever was happening on my chest while also tracking the various cell phone cameras circling the room, and the other tried to make the word "magenta" sound natural while coming out of my mouth and wondering just how goddamn long it takes the sun to go all the way the fuck down) and granted i grew up poor and didn't leave the midwest until my friends moved out of state and their parents flew me out to see them but wow it was the most amazing thing i've ever seen. i don't even know what i said to describe the optical illusion i was looking at but i do know now that test driving a bra you bought off the internet in front of people you want to impress is a horrible fucking idea. 

it was the most breathtakingly beautiful thing i have ever seen and i really did almost cry but also halfway through i was like "is my foot asleep?" and i couldn't stop thinking about what a terrible choice wearing a loose garbage bag dress had been. anyway if you like podcasts, or you are willing to suffer through some because you want to hear what i sound like lying on a carpet sounding like i'm buzzed on shrooms while dying internally of humiliation and trying to think of synonyms for the word "awesome" that sound convincingly like i'd say them, you can find all of the episodes of abbi's podcast "a piece of work" here. you'll like it even if you don't give a shit about art. at the very least, you can talk to someone you might want to have sex with about it.

click here and buy this thing i made!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

bitches gotta read: i am not your perfect mexican daughter.

happy belated thanksgiving, i guess. you know what i'm thankful for? the dubious, ever-shifting number of days during which we have to fumble around wishing people various forms of holiday cheer while squirming on the inside because whatever people's plans are they are definitely more exciting than yours and all you wanted to do was run into target for some sale-priced cake mix and whoops that dude you hate from high school just happens to be contemplating frosting choices and you didn't bother to put on a decent bra because who can even tell you have a body under the pile of gas station rags you fashioned into a winter coat this year but he is clearly staring at where your nipples are grazing the drawstring holding your gravy pants up while pretending he doesn't notice the pillowcase creases in your cheek.
him: "hey sam! you look great! got any big plans for christmas this year?!"
me, a collection of random dead body parts frankensteined together with ultra-absorbent maxi pads and old cheese: "i was just planning to build a shrine to my dead cat and mail something under $15 to a stranger from my internet gift exchange. and you, person who never had an ugly phase and hasn't aged a day (specifically to spite me)?"
him: "wow! that sounds interesting! i somehow can afford to fly twenty of my closest friends to aspen even though we're the exact same age and you have just enough cash to pay for that one box of brownie mix i can't believe you got a cart to push around!"
end scene.

so i have this new gig writing book recommendations for marie claire (GET A DAMN SUBSCRIPTION ALREADY) which is fun and weird because i am not very good at brevity and summing up a whole ass book in 75 words that both accurately detail the plot while also  explain why you should read it is really fucking hard. have you ever tried to convince someone to read your favorite book and ended up sounding like a total asshole? every month i'm like "i liked this book but how do i make other people like what i like without being irritating or boring them to death." i read little fires everywhere and i loved it so much and i wrote this passionate and funny recommendation that i thought perfectly encapsulated it and then i did a count and had to trim 212 words to 75 and all i ever wanted as a kid was super short assignments and now that i've got them i can't stop having diarrhea all over my keyboard. anyway all my beloved thrillers and YA novels are piling up because 1 i love tv and 2 no one is paying me to read them, but don't worry i'm getting my shit back together slowly but surely for this book club.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams i read on there because i don't need you guys clowning me in public.
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.

brief internet synopsis:
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

i got an early copy of this book before it came out and i tore through it in a day. first of all, it's set in chicago but, more important than that, it features a character from evanston. i.e. the place where both lena waithe and i went to high school. the book is so funny and so great and i met erika a few weeks ago at the texas book festival and she is a total joy and let me awkwardly hug her even though it was 90 actual degrees outside and everyone was damp to the touch. since i'm playing catch up and haven't given you a list of shit to read in a minute, here are some books i've read in real life on my own dime from other people i got to press my sweaty flesh against in the oppressive austin heat:
made for love by alissa nutting, a genius.
the floating world by morgan bapst, a champion.
eat only when you're hungry by lindsay hunter, a sorceror. (and my homie from way back)
all grown up by jami attenberg, a virtuoso.
goodbye, vitamin by rachel khong, a wizard.
okay whew now my guilt is assuaged for dropping the ball, especially since i went to the trouble to hyperlink all of this shit which i never ever fucking do. these should keep you occupied, depending on your reading speed and/or your penchant for cheesy hallmark holiday movies, for at least a few weeks of hiding from all the people who bought you hanukkah socks or whatever other garbage you didn't ask for.


Friday, October 20, 2017

how i spent my summer vacation.

the first day of school is always bullshit. in theory, i always loved the dawning of a new school year because there was always a slim chance that over the summer my classmates would forget how poor and fat i was and i could reinvent myself as someone who owned cool clothes and deserved to get invited to parties. in reality my mom would leave the kmart back to school circular on my bed in august with a note that said something like "circle three things on sale" and then the day before school started my wildly impractical choices would be laid out on my bed when i returned home from wandering the neighborhood for hours pretending to be enjoying the fresh air adults are always telling you to get, and i'd realize that a snap crotch bodysuit and two pairs of rainbow-striped novelty socks maybe weren't the wisest choice to get me through until santa and his crew swept through the husky section at jcpenny en route to our crib december 24th. why has it never once occurred to me to yearn for sensible, practical shit.

you don't really get that kind of do over as an adult and i miss it. or, i guess, i miss the illusion that the possibility exists. i mean january 1 might be a contender if you got a month off before the new year rolled around to reinvent your music tastes or attempt to grow some semblance of a beard, but that's not really a thing once you age out of having to care about standardized tests and diploma requirements. i like the idea of resolutions, because in my mind i am the kind of person who can reshuffle the deck and approach my life in a new way but after many years of halfhearted trying i've just come to accept that i'm just gonna be the way i fucking am, and if i happen to accidentally drink a glass of alkaline water or glance inside an art gallery as i walk past it then fine but i'm not writing shit down anymore. no more buying a fresh notebook at the end of the year and pretending that i have intentions. it's embarrassing.

okay so here's what i did this summer:

1 i got sick in every city i went to on my book tour. and i know what you're thinking: "you can't just put any old street hotdog in your mouth, you fucking idiot." and yes that is true but i swear that i am too paranoid about ever having to take a shit on a plane to be careless about my diet on the road. i also don't want to have to pee a million times in a city whose quality public bathroom map isn't imprinted on my tiny brain so i didn't really drink enough either, which wasn't really a major problem in NYC but guess who should've figured out some sort of intravenous fluid contraption before going to motherfucking texas?! i was like a piece of boiled leather who had a fever for two days because i was thirsty. i spent nine days withering under the unrelenting sun while everyone's taco recommendations turned to dust inside my phone. also i had nervous diarrhea in the bathroom at the four seasons in beverly hills before a breakfast meeting (hollywood people love food meetings but i get real anxious eating in front of people) and a tv person with a fancy blowout that i recognized from us weekly whom i'd just seen exit an actual bentley offered me the name of her "b12 guy" when i came out of the stall and all i could think about was how more places need soundproof bathrooms so unsuspecting celebrities don't have to listen to regular people shit.

2 i bought a couch from your grandfather because i felt bad that he had to listen to young people's pop radio at value city furniture. on a whim, after being reasonably delighted watching baby driver even though i really wanted to take that young woman by the shoulders and firmly explain to her you don't wait for a man to get out of prison when you don't even know whether or not he has a quality insurance plan, mavis and i were cruising through the movie theater strip mall daydreaming of nail shops and bland frozen yogurt when i decided i needed a new couch. first of all, one of these days i need someone to explain to me why we have two living rooms but only one of them has a tv. i mean, i read as many books as the next dumb asshole but there is not a day that goes by that i don't plop down on the couch in the front room and think "what am i supposed to sit and look at?" okay anyway the "wine drinking room" slash "piano playing room" slash "wow i really wish this fucking room had a tv in it room" had one of those awful low couches that people who don't care about being comfortable at all times own to trick people into thinking they have watercress or some shit in the fridge, and I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THAT. i mean, i don't have an opinion one way or another about edible aquatic plants but i do know i don't want my fucking spine aligned every time i sit down to not watch tv. it was like the couch at your mean grandma's house, the one you had to sit real still on while being seen and not heard.

there was a value city furniture in the mall and i don't care what anyone says, if you grew up a certain way there are things that will stick with you no matter where you go or who you're with or how much you have. let's put it like this: if there had been a goddamn rent-a-center in that mall i would have at least gone in to take a look. i grew up with a knockoff la-z-boy so who am i to start acting saditty now? i wanted a couch, so i'm getting a couch from the kind of place that accepts coupons. anyway we go in and the overhead speakers are pumping out some unintelligible diet club track and this gaunt man in an oversized suit shuffles slowly over to us, a "tablet" with a broken screen tucked into his armpit, and i turned to mavis like "welp i guess we're just gonna have to buy everything in this fucking store!" he cupped his hand around his bristly ear and asked me to repeat my request to be shown to the cozy couch section before shouting "HAHA I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING OVER THIS DANG MUSIC" and i knew right then that ron was gonna get the biggest commission of his life outta me and i was fine with it. and maybe it's a well-orchestrated scam but that hapless hangdog expression coupled with the fumbling of the tablet (he kept calling it a "tablet," so many times, and it took him approximately half an hour to use it to look up whether or not a chair we didn't even buy came in multiple colors because his hands were shaking and the keyboard was too small and oh nevermind me i'm just over here sobbing into these carpet swatches, FUCK) were so endearing that i was prepared to buy whatever soft and cuddly thing he wanted to hustle me even if he was really a kid dressed up in an ed asner costume. the couch we ended up with is the size of a canoe and feels like a teddy bear and is perfect in every way. maybe i can invite ron over to not watch tv with me on it.

3 i spent $1400 on our cat's urethra. i don't even like this tiny dude that much and i'm not sure he's even cured but if i never had to think about a cat penis ever again it would be too soon, ugh.

4 i wrote one episode of a potential television program. at the end of july i packed a backpack full of laptops and the kind of clothes that reasonably disguise me as the kind of breezy person who just floats through LA buying crystals and oils and dragged my ass to california to rewrite the pilot for this television program jessi klein and abbi jacobson and i are making out of my first book. everyone is always asking me "hey dude what's up with your show" and the short answer is BITCH I DON'T KNOW. but here's a longer one: we wrote one draft of a pilot, i dry-heaved into a plastic bag as quietly as possible during several conference calls with studio executives who get to decide what goes on tv (!!) as they dissected my actual dumb life, then i went to LA and sat in a conference room at the glitzy agency that reps the three of us and we broke a new story and i wrote half the script in my friend marina's basement while drinking a lot of expensive juice and shitting my brains out and then i came back home, a comfortable place where people order salads that already have the dressing on it and wear shoes they bought at the grocery store. and now i'm just waiting. i think people feel like i'm withholding some big hollywood secret from them but for real, in my brief experience you 1 make a thing and then you 2 send it to a person and then they 3 send it to another higher up person and then they 4 send it to more people and then 5 you just in your house for days/weeks/months waiting for someone to tell you if they're going to give you a million dollars to make a real thing people can watch out of some stupid idea you came up with in a dream. (or lived through, in my case.) and who cares it's fine it's just not sexy. people are hitting me up all "yo when can we all kick it in the valley with jon hamm" annnnnnd LOL NEVER HOE I CAN'T EVEN GET YOU A FREE HAM SANDWICH. what do you think is happening over here?! i gotta DM bitches on instagram just like you do!! i tried to have my agent send some signed books to janeane garofalo who i already fucking know to thank her and her people were like "UMM, WHY." i'm a fucking garbage can and i'm sorry but i cannot (yet) get you laid by any hot celebrities. this is probably a good place to stop and say that THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON I MET IRL THIS SUMMER WAS ART FUCKING GARFUNKEL. stop texting me about michael b jordan, you cruel-ass binch!

5 i got some new fake jobs! i have spent the majority of my life doing work that felt like work. y'all know, the kind of work that has a punch clock you stick a time card into every time you need to stop and take a deep breath. and that's cool, because if you need gas station groceries somebody has to be there to swipe the card; someone has to answer the phones at the doctor's office; someone has to wipe down the cafeteria tables. and i've always been perfectly happy being an hourly drone because 1 it's not on me and 2 no goddamn student loan. i haven't had a day job in over a year and that's a weird thing to say and also it's surprisingly boring. i miss going to a place every day and scowling at people, daring them to tell me good morning. there's a lot of netflix i haven't watched and while it would be cute to get up and get dressed just to watch riverdale it's not enough so now i've got some other creative shit in the mix. i'm writing book recommendations for marie claire magazine and you should get a subscription just to see how much wild shit they let me sneak into the list. my first issue was september 2017 and i think this technically means that nina garcia and i are coworkers so i can't wait to make "gravy pants" a trend this spring. also shondaland dot com is live and they're letting me write an advice column of all things? it's called ask aunt agony (i still can't believe they let me get away with this shit?) and it's pretty fucking funny and no i don't know shonda either i write my columns at the kitchen table there is literally no way for me to tell her who you think olivia should fuck this season i'm so sorry.

6 i went to a dealership and actually left with a new car. never in my 37+ years of life have i ever purchased a quality car from a reputable salesperson. i have owned many cars, but i bought them all from shady dudes with hidden lots who couldn't account for the previous life of the car i was paying $1700 (cash, always cash) for. sometimes i could guess things about the previous owners of my vehicles based on the various smells and stains lurking within, but it was never like "oh yes ma'am in 1989 the engine fell out of this escort on the highway and i replaced it with one from a fucking lawn mower." so i would drive these pieces of shit with windows that wouldn't go down (or roll back up) with balding tires (or worse: 4 donuts) that forced me to learn very early in life what a goddamn alternator does and how your car will die in the middle of a one-way street on a rainy sunday afternoon if yours is broken. anyway i went to the closest honda dealer to our house and walked in like i deserved to be there and i knew my credit was good enough to get a decent rate on a car loan and after making a lot of uncomfortable jokes while the finance guy waited for bank approval on a car i'd already programmed my phone numbers into during the test drive, dude came back with approximately 72 pieces of paper that needed to be initialed and signed plus a phlebotomist to take a pint of my blood just in case. i've never felt more like a capable adult human being. i have a car with air conditioning that actually gets cold and a warranty that will replace the whole thing if i crash while trying to do my eyebrows on the highway and a button i can press while driving and say "call carl" and his stupid voice will just come over the car speakers like magic. is this the upside of "getting your shit together," or whatever parental people are always telling us to do? growing up is the greatest. i mean, sure, i have to take 3 aleve every day and i have to stare at people's mouths when they talk to me but wow this bluetooth is worth it!

7 i learned to enjoy coffee. KIND OF. i still don't fucking care about it, and i'm not ever going to study where the beans come from or try to describe the difference between varietals, but i can now drink it without wanting to immediately die. so that's something.

this summer i went to:
-austin (blisteringly, brain-meltingly hot)
-new york (dirty, still)
-ann arbor (adorable)
-los angeles (you wouldn't think so, but it's my favorite)
-chicago (the place where all my friends live)

my favorite summertime activity is:

being fully dressed, including sleeves and socks and probably a hood, inside an air conditioned building.

my favorite summertime foods are:

some books i read this summer were:
1 red clocks by leni zumas
2 sing unburied sing by jesmyn ward
3 this will be my undoing by morgan jerkins
4 electric arches by eve ewing
5 the floating world by c morgan bapst
6 the talented ribkins by ladee hubbard
7 the misfortune of marion palm by emily culliton
8 her body and other parties by carmen machado
9 pachinko by min jin lee

i love the summertime because:
i do not.

here's my carefully-curated autumn spotify playlist if you're interested in listening to what i cry to while running errands. happy fall, y'all.

Monday, September 25, 2017

bitches gotta read: we are never meeting in real life.

hello hi, do you remember me it's been a minute. you look great. is that a new haircut? did you recently hem that pair of pants!? GAH i'm sorry i wish i had a good excuse for falling behind on this book club and on this dumb blog in general but let's just pretend it was intentional and i was giving everyone the summer off from butt jokes so i don't have to make something up and risk looking ridiculous. that said, sorry not sorry for this shameless plug but if you didn't read my book over the summer it's all good because we're gonna read it together this month. like homework, with more swearing. and don't worry, i use small words in my writing because my brain can't compute big ones but do not let that gross wet cat on the cover fool you: this isn't for children. just like my first book wasn't about farming, but since it had a chicken on the front of it a number of people registered complaints with their local librarians due to their confusion from the cover. did it never occur to you to flip the goddamn thing over before filling out your comment card, martha? people are trash cans.

i don't remember much about writing MEATY other than spending two months taking many breaks to try and decipher what justin bobby was saying on the hills as i watched it on a continuous loop and making a lot of toast. i didn't have cable or internet at the time, so i propped my phone against a stack of ten year old issues of jane magazine i purchased off ebay in a fit of nostalgia and burned up all my anytime minutes watching lauren conrad cry, and i don't regret a second of it. this one was a little different. i wrote half of it while annoying my long suffering boss james on my lunch breaks at the animal hospital and the other half deep in the michigan woods that felt like i was in a horror movie, especially because i had to sleep on a futon. i did all the edits, plus the shit i pitched late and turned in at the last second, in my new house with some bose noise-cancelling headphones because living with other people is terrible.

my "i swear i'm not looking at this ipad i'm just listening to it while i'm writing" watchlist and sources of diversionary entertainment:
-any old seasons of mtv's the challenge that prominently feature wes and/or CT
-the "source awards" episode of 30 rock, at least 200x
-every episode of black-ish
-reading other people's essays and getting discouraged because mine are garbage
-various NBA playoff games
-youtube videos of people drawing on winged eyeliner
-the movie arbitrage
-youtube clips of people winning huge prizes on various game shows
-ordering cardigans from forever 57
-making gin cocktails
-poring over best of book lists while reminding myself i should quit
-mailing cards to the three people in my address book
-the entire jeff daniels movie canon

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams i read on there because i don't need you guys clowning me in public.
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.

brief synopsis from my diary: whenever the uninitiated ask me to, like, elevator pitch them my book the first thing i say is GROSS PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME. why do you want to watch me melt like an ice cream cone while trying to make "stories about my butt" sound both palatable and worth $15?! every time i have ever met a real person who has a book i usually promise to just buy it rather then feign interest in the explanation of the post-apocalyptic young adult alien romance they've spent five years writing, mostly because i hate to humiliate people when i have to witness what that reduces them to but also what if i ever see them again? i mean, i want to be able to say "wow! that book was so shocking!" and actually mean it or have an answer when their follow up question is "which part?" explaining a thing you wrote to a person who doesn't know you or really care is embarrassing. and if you tell them it's about your life or your stupid thoughts then while they are smiling politely and halfheartedly exclaiming how "interesting" that sounds they are definitely thinking "who the fuck wants to know what you fucking think?" and, okay, point taken. i used to try to sell myself but now i either just deadpan "it's funny" while holding eye contact for six beats too long until they slowly back away from me or, if they look like they read the new york times, i'll blurt "roxane gay likes it!" and register the light of recognition turning on behind their eyes then watch their face immediately contort in well-meaning liberal horror because all this time they were talking to me they thought i actually was roxane gay.

listen there are a lot of good books coming out this fall. and maybe you don't want anyone to see you reading a cat book on the bus. i feel you. but if you were thinking about not reading my dumb book here are some compelling reasons you should reconsider:

1 it's a new york times bestseller. yo, that surprised me as much as anyone, that a book about explosive diarrhea that explores virtually every romantic and financial mistake i've made as an actual adult who should be smarter than this would sell more than the ten copies. it's a miracle for real, and tangible proof that millions of people can't be wrong.
1a okay so millions of people can be wrong about a lot of shit. look at this wild ass election. and the prevalence of so many ~cold shoulder~ sweaters. also, "millions" is very generous and not at all accurate but just roll with it this stuff is so confusing.
2 roxane gay likes it!