Archive for June, 2013

On Bedside Tables

I love pictures of bedside tables — I think there’s something so tender and intimate about seeing what people sleep in close proximity to. I’m not a religious person, now or ever in the past. And though I’ve always had a sense of something larger, grand and immense out there, I’m loathe to call myself spiritual since I don’t have a daily “practice” of anything. (Except maybe hygiene.) But my bedside table has always functioned as a kind of unintentional altar, carving out space for what I treasure and cherish — things I find comforting and remind me of the larger, more eternal matters of my life, which is apt to get mired in lots of ultimately unimportant minutiae.

What’s on your bedside table? Here’s the current state of mine. There’s always reading matter nearby: I like to read fiction in bed, as well as non-leftbrained-centric nonfiction. Being in bed makes me feel relaxed and dreamy, so I don’t want to read anything that takes me out of that zone. (There’s a copy of Lula magazine in that pile somewhere, too — again on the dreamy tip!) I always keep my journal on my bedside table as well. I’m always writing down dreams and love letters to the universe in there. Of course, every altar needs candles, and I have a few. To be completely hippie-ish, I read that it’s nice to have spots of dark red in the bedroom for all kinds of love-and-passion-ish reasons. I figure, what have I got to lose? Plus, these smell like orange blossom, black cherry and rosewood. There’s a tiny candle, too, that has my favorite room scent in all the world: black pepper and bergamot. It’s just so warm and subtly spicy and fills me with contentment when I smell it. It’s important to feel content in bed, you know?

I keep a copy of The Little Prince as well — that book is just so wonderfully open-hearted and good-spirited, and reading it always reminds of the better things in life. Every time I read it, I feel like a better person. There’s a tiny piece of artwork by artist Andrea Anderson that I got from an art show at erstwhile NYC accessories boutique Clarabella, which is now closed. The image has always resonated me, in a High Priestess of the Tarot card deck kind of way — it evokes something about the Divine Feminine for me, and if there’s ever going to be something I’m going to align myself with, it’s that. And the photograph is taken by my friend Megan of the lilies at Monet’s estate, which I keep because it reminds me of her, and it just feels so peaceful and serene.

Oh! And there’s also a tiny little bottle of Lancome Miracle eau de parfum — it reminds me of my mother, and also of the time when my old roommate in San Francisco bought me a bottle in the first few months of me living there. I was struggling to establish myself and joked that it would take a miracle to find steady work. (The whole dot-com bubble bursting was happening at that time.) She, being the kind soul she is, bought me a bottle to lift my spirits, and lo and behold, a few weeks later I found a client that I still have to this day, actually. So I like to keep a tiny bottle of Miracle to remind me of generosity and the universe’s largesse. And finally, there’s a picture of me and my sweetheart, well, because love is transcendent, and where else are you supposed to put bits of transcendence in your house if not unintentional altars? You should never be far from what you love, and I love that these are the first things I see in the morning, and the last things I take in before I wander into dreams and sleep.


Everyone, just a quick note to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to those who bought , linked to it, tweeted, liked and all the other Internet-enabled gestures that people do to support things these day. I truly appreciate it and feel so surprised and humbled by how kind and generous people are! Please keep your eye on the blog this Thursday or Friday, where I have something fun to announce

The Summer 2013 To-Do List

Happy Summer Solstice! My whole thing lately is trying to make summer feel like vacation when I was a kid, when I had a huge, beautifully aimless stretch of time to do whatever I wanted. “Whatever” then meant taking lots of naps, playing outside, reading for hours. Starting a lemonade stand, cutting up catalogs to make “special picture books,” recording songs off the weekly top 40 show and making up dances to them, classes and lessons at the Y — all mundane yet gloriously chilled-out childhood summer things. You could sort of just exist and enjoy life in a more sensory, visceral way. You didn’t feel a pressure to make time feel anything more than what it was. Summer then was just freaking fun, and fun is definitely something I’m into these days.

Of course, I’m a grown-up now and that (sadly) means I have to work. And so far this June has been full of all kinds of social obligations, too, everything from birthdays to recitals to weddings to out-of-town visitors. I’m down with that, but it’s not exactly the leisurely aimless vacation feeling, you know, especially for a highly sensitive true-blue introvert like myself. I’m so out of practice in being social. Plus, it’s the weeks before my birthday, which have always been peculiarly tiring for me; I call it “twelfth-house time,” because astrologically, the sun is in the 12th house in a chart, being all hermetic and introspective and chilled-out. But I’m looking at the rest of the season and I’m getting my plan together and keeping my game tight, and this is what I want to do with the rest of the season.

Ride Horses

So, yes, I periodically talk about horses. And it’s been hard, because for a long while, I lived in places where riding was mucho, mucho expensive — talking like $100-150 an hour expensive for a private session or lesson. But now I live in a place where it’s not, and when it gets nice out, I take advantage!

Riding is pretty much my jam. It is by far the most peaceful, relaxing, Zen-communing thing I do. It makes me feel both gentle and fierce inside. Plus, it works your core in way less of a neurotic way than Pilates. Plus you get to hang out with beauties like this sweet lady:

I’ve been riding every week since late spring, and it is kind of the best thing I’ve done for myself. For the horse-curious, I ride both English and Western. I am not a fancy dressage person or a hunter/jumper; I really just want to pleasure-ride, do a little flatwork and hacking. Trails are my aim, just me, a horse, some forest or fields and a horizon in front of me. Bliss.

Lounging Poolside

I was slightly scandalized recently to find out that the pool I went to as a kid — the one where my parents would drop us off every Saturday afternoon for hours on end — was the place where gay men in my city went to hook up with other gay men. I mean, whatever, people do what they do — I was just surprised that I was a kid and SO OBLIVIOUS to the party in the changing room! These days, my gym has a pool that is pretty ace, and I like to go there just to sit in my swimsuit and read books. I knew I grew up the day I realized I was fond of adult swim, because then there’s no little monkey grabbing onto me randomly when I do venture into the water — I’m like the type of person that kids love to climb on. Maybe I look more like a jungle gym than I think.


A Champagne Moment, Because My Book is Out!

Time to break out the champagne, my beauties: Yes, All Things Glorious and True is officially out in the wild, ready to kick up its heels and cause a good-natured ruckus. I’m so stoked, and relieved, and nervous, and proud, and all kinds of other big, beautiful book mama emotions. After the tumult of losing a good chunk of NOGOODFORME to the dark overlords of the Internet, I feel happy knowing it lives on in some form of another.

(By the way, the Kindle edition will up very soon as well! This is all very new to me, but I’ll let you know and update it here as well, but I’m told it will be up by tomorrow for the U.S. and by mid-week for other sales territories.)

ANYWAY! Order it up, dear friends, and if you feel compelled, please review it on Amazon. Reviews are mucho important, especially for indie-published efforts like mine, and I would so appreciate and cherish it. And if you could share via your Facebook, Twitter or other social media playthings you have, I’d so appreciate that as well.

And if you do order it, please save your e-receiptI have a lovely special something-something around my birthday time (June 27) for peeps who buy the book. Keep your eyes peeled!

I’m going to have myself a delicious raspberry lambic and a piece of fancy cake to celebrate tonight! Please have some with me in spirit, and thanks so much again for all the support and encouragement you’ve given me along the way during this sexy little literary adventure.

On Life Vs. Blogging

I’ve been thinking lately about tempo, about the rhythm and pace of things and how some things don’t sync up. Bodies vs. minds, heart vs. head, that kind of thing. And lately, as a runner, I’ve been working on getting my speed up, and it’s going really well — I seriously feel great about running the fastest I’ve ever run in my life, especially as I slide down the dark side of my thirties. So the idea of speed and pace is a literal concern of mine a few times a week as a running nerd.

But I’m thinking of pace and rhythm in relation to more abstract things, like the rhythm of blogging and the pace of life. Like how in blogging you feel compelled to do it regularly and consistently if you want to have some modicum of “success” at it — and yet, as a personal blogger, tiny revelations and insights about life don’t happen regularly and consistently at all, or at least at a scale to warrant being documented in writing.

It was easy to write a lot and all the time when I was writing NOGOODFORME — for one thing, that blog covered areas that change all the time. There will never be a shortage of music, style, food, and all that to write about. It’s easier to be regular and consistent as a blogger when you have a thing and a schtick — even if you’re writing about deeply personal issues like grief, there is a compass there, a focus that guides you when you sit down at the screen to write.

Here, though, it’s a bit more diary-like, a bit more personal and yet diffuse. I decided to write here more often because I wanted the challenge of writing more intimately, from a more heartful place — something that feels more honest, kind and, yes, sincere. The problem is that I don’t have personal revelations every day, or even every week — I wish I were that wise, but I’m not. I don’t have a fabulously decorated apartment; I’m not much of a consumer anymore, either in clothes or music or anything that people love to read about. I sort of just live my life and keep my game tight and love like crazy. I re-read and re-listen to things again and again; I try to engage things at a slower, deeper and (what feels like to me) richer pace. I like that a lot; it feels good.

But it doesn’t make for great copy, I have to admit. I worry about being mundane. I worry about being boring. So I don’t know. I want to tell you that I started writing a new novel this month and it’s going really lovely; I sit at my kitchen table early in the mornings as the sun streams through the window and I visit a world set in Old Chicago, and I get to rhapsodize about perfume, about glamour, about dresses by the Callot Soeurs. It’s fun to write a historical novel, using a part of my brain I often don’t get to share. (Fans of 19th century/Gilded Age history, please raise your hand!) I’m very, very into writing as if I am trying to be Edith Wharton or Henry James, though, since they’re masters, I will settle for ending up like Theodore Dreiser. There’s a pretty yellow finch that sits in the tree outside my window. I perfected my egg strata recipe. My summer fashion concept is making me super happy these days. I like how summer in general slows everything down beautifully, and finally thoughts and impulses have time to catch up with me, ready to be shaped and sculpted into more concrete things.

It all exists at once, these pieces of life. When I write here, I sometimes feel like I’m placing them in an order and harmony that I think I know, but the full song has yet to reveal itself fully.