Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Aug 01

Ten Thing Thursday: Best I Can Do Edition

1. Dear authors: Just because you are famous and successful doesn’t mean you don’t need an editor. Editors are your friend, even if they do kill your darlings. Embrace that friendship. Lean into it. Particularly if you write literary mysteries set in Dublin.

2. Someone I know was featured on a 40 under 40 list today, and I spent some time mourning the fact that I will never do that. Then I reminded myself that the people who make those lists work like dogs and claw their way up the ladder and generally wear uncomfortably pointy shoes, and your pal CF…does not. Then I heard a NPR piece on the way home about the 37-year-old mayor of San Antonio who has been tapped to speak at the Democratic National Convention and I got very sad again. Think how awesome my convention speech would be! I would have a humorous PowerPoint running in the background. Obviously.

3. Scene: An elevator in an office building on K Street. Characters: My sister B, her friend K, an unknown woman and an unknown man, traveling separately.

K :(talking about a recent date) I don’t know, he just didn’t ask me ANYTHING. At all. As in, I know everything about him and he might not even know what I do for a living.

B: God, why do men so that? It happens to me on 90% of the first dates I go on. I try to model good behavior by asking questions myself, but they never catch on.

K: I know, and all my friends who are dating say the same thing. I can’t tell if DC is extra full of blowhards or if all men are like that (ed. note: both are correct) but it’s  awful.

B: There should be some sort of campaign to make men aware of this issue. It’s costing them tons of ass.

(Unknown man gets off elevator)

Unknown woman: (Breaks well-known rule of acting deaf and blind in elevators. Clutches K’s arm with a wild look in her eye.) I really, really hope you just changed that man’s life.

Solidarity, sister!

Of course there are well-mannered men who would never do this. But ask any woman who is dating — those men are a surprisingly rare breed.

For everyone keeping track at home, it has now been over a year since I have been on a date. Holla.

4. No particular reason I’m asking, but...if your eyesight randomly became incredibly blurry, to the point that you could not see your computer screen in the afternoon, and then mysteriously cleared up after 20 minutes or so, would you think you might be dying? Hypothetically.

5.  For my mid-Atlantic peeps: Do any of you have suggestions of  a place I could go in September(ish) where I could hole up and write for three days without interruption, but not be so remote that I would be  (a) terrified of ax murderers; or (b) not able to find a sweet little place to eat lunch or dinner  if I got lonely? Only real requirement is that it’s within four hours of DC.

6. August always makes me think of going back to school, and this year in particular it makes me think of how much I HATE being in school. I fiercely, demonically resent every second and every penny I spend on schoolwork. I am learning NOTHING that is of any use to me in my life. If I could just buy a degree, I would gladly whore myself out to pay for it. (I mean, as gladly as one can whore onself out; not really a joyful business, I’d wager.)

7. Related to nothing at all, I’m going to show you some pictures of myself as a child and add witty commentary. Ready? was a good year. Look how young my parents were! My mother was 22 -- I'm lucky she didn't accidentally kill me. As you can see, they thought I was the most fascinating creature on earth. And they were correct.


I'm on the right, with the cruel, cruel spectacles. We all put that same hands in our mouth. Genetics, yo. Also note my hair--I used to rock myself to sleep by getting up on my hands and knees rubbing my head in my pillow. I believe in today's world that would have earned me early intervention and an IEP. My hair was a dreadlocked, knotty mess.


Me on the right, with the mullet. My sister is the angelic blond sitting next to me. Don't let the curls fool you.

AAAAGGHHH! How did the relatively cute child from that last picture turn into this monster in just a couple of years??? A home perm administered by my aunt in her kitchen certainly did not help, but in general, the early 80s were a strange time.

Guess which one is me. Hint: I'm wearing sequined yellow spandex, I'm eight inches taller than everyone else, and I have jazz hands. Jazz hands were my best move as a dancer.

This LOOKS like a mullet bathed in golden light, but it's actually a pixie cut with a rat tail that you can't see. Oh yes it is.


My sister and me and our mall bangs. And yes, that GUESS! shirt and those plaid shorts were my favorite articles of clothing, so wearing them together made perfect sense. with fanny pack! Because what 15 year old didn't have one in 1990?


8.  Do we even need an 8, after that?

9. Have any of you read Richard Ford’s newest book, Canada? Should I?

10. Do you read Kate Christensen’s blog? She is living one version of my idea life, and it’s a good combination of life stuff and unfussy food stuff. I love her.  Plus she is one of my very favorite authors.

To recap for your commenting pleasure–Authors and editing! 40 under 40! Elevator man! Blurry vision death sentence! Writing retreat suggestions! Back to school! Bershon! Canada! Kate!


12 Responses to “Ten Thing Thursday: Best I Can Do Edition”

  1. Swistle says:

    I love that elevator anecdote. LOVE it. I’m going to start telling it at parties.

    There are several reasons eyesight could blur. For me, if it were a certain kind of blurring, I would assume it was a visual migraine. If it were not in fact like that, I would first assume I was going blind, and that I was experiencing an event I would write off with a little laugh NOW, but later remember as the last of my innocence. As I sat petting my guide dog, I would wish I had looked around me more often—had observed more birds, more sunsets, the dew on a blade of grass.

    Third option: brain tumor / impending death.

  2. other c says:

    Holla!! Nice mullet. Nice jazz hands. Nice doting parents in 70’s swag. You were one cute kid, yo.

  3. rooth says:

    Do you bring back the jazz hands often? Because you definitely should if you can. They already brightened up my day

  4. Kristin H says:

    I have this theory that people from the same generation all have the same pictures, just with different faces in them. That picture of you on the striped couch? I SWEAR I’m in that exact same picture. Same couch, same hair. Only I took my glasses off first.

    I was going to say the same thing Swistle said about visual migraines, only she said it better.

  5. meridith says:

    Love the jazz hands! You might consider Charlottesville. 2 hours from DC, tons of Bed and Breakfasts in the surrounding area and Thomas Jefferson found it idyllic enough to make it his home. You could even pop by Monticello and see his writing room for a little break. Staunton also has multiple B and Bs, is the same distance away and boasts the Blackfriars theatre, an excellent place to get Shakespeareized in your spare time. No axe murderers! Promise!

  6. MJ says:

    Yes! Charlottesville is my suggestion, too. Great farmer’s market, good food, lovely B&Bs, pretty in fall. Maybe somewhere in the Outer Bank as well. (That would be pushing the 4 hour mark, but just barely.) Deep Creek Lake near MD/PA border is ok, too.

  7. angelika says:

    Uh to #4 – I would have been worried about a stroke or possibly mixing up my flask and my water bottle at my desk.

  8. Alice says:

    i get optical migraines, and it’s usually a weird wavery patch in my vision (like when you look across really hot blacktop). but i, uh, don’t get a lot of them so who knows how they are for other people.

    in other words, you are mostly likely going blind. definitely.

    i think we would have been friends as kids. i had those glasses (and would have been MAJORLY JEALOUS of those shorts).

  9. Nicole says:

    That elevator scene is all kinds of awesome.

    I am unlikely to ever be a 40 under 40. I mean, I guess it COULD happen, I’m not 40 yet, but I just feel that it is not to be. Maybe it’s my whole lack of career.

    Those photos are great. I had a home perm/mullet in 1985 and I feel shame and resentment toward my mother to this day. Later I cut it off in the manner of Madonna’s hair in Papa Don’t Preach. GOOD LORD WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

  10. Val says:

    Nicole’s comment above–“I mean, I guess it COULD happen, I’m not 40 yet, but I just feel that it is not to be. Maybe it’s my whole lack of career”made me laugh. At 35, I feel much the same. I love that Lily Tomlin quote, “I always said I wanted to be somebody. Now I think I should have been more specific.” :)

    I would suggest somewhere near Lancaster, PA for your September getaway, especially anytime through the fall. It’s a beautiful area.

  11. Ally says:

    I had that same Guess shirt and many of the same memories. I feel compelled to ask if you pretended to like Zima too?

    Holla on the jazz hands!

  12. Grace says:

    You are freaking hilarious, as I grip your arm and my wild eyes shine. I nearly woke up my napping toddler when I burst out laughing at your TC article on Craigslist dating and clit geography. Full disclosure: I met my now husband on Craigslist, and yes, it was totally in 2004.

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