Snapshots

— I’m going on a vacation next week. My first big vacation in 10 years. Well, I went to Memphis a couple of times. But this one’s out of the country and – for a change – I am NOT going to Ireland. It’s kind of an awkward time because 1. it’s the week of the press screenings for the New York Film Festival and 2. I’m job hunting. I have no job. And I’m taking this gigantic trip. But oh well, it’s been booked for a year, so off I go. Why do I find going on a vacation stressful? I’m annoyed by this tendency. I think it’s part of the freelance-life vibe. It is very very challenging to step out of the stream/river of work/potential work and unplug. It’s not like you get any set vacation time that you can count on. You have to decide to do it. At any rate, I’m headed to a place I’ve always wanted to go to … for decades. I mean, it’s ridiculous. I’ll post all about it once it’s over.

— It’s been beastly hot and the city has been RANK with humidity and the stench of garbage. Today it’s grey, rainy and cool. My kind of weather.

— Yesterday I got together with Wade (I wrote about him here). I have not seen him in … we were trying to figure it out … 10 years? He reached out, randomly, last month and it’s taken us this long to finally see each other. He was one of my best friends in grad school. He kept me sane in grad school. I have missed him. We met up and talked for hours, sometimes roaring with laughter, sometimes deep discussions, and then we had a long conversation about Burt Reynolds. Everything. It was so so good to see him. I love “reclaiming” people. We didn’t have a falling out. We just kind of lost touch. He’s not on Facebook. I love him. I’ve missed him.

— My great friend Alex is making her Broadway debut this month in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of The Nap. Words can’t express how exciting it is, how proud I am of her. I went to a preview last night. Packed house. GREAT show, hilarious, terrific cast (Johanna Day! Heather Lind!). Alex plays a character named Waxy Bush. Because that’s the kind of script it is. Waxy Bush is the linchpin to the entire plot. A trans gangster diva, with one artificial hand (you better believe Alex got so much mileage out of that fake hand) and a tendency to speak in malapropisms. She KILLED it. It was so fun hearing that huge audience experience Alex’s funniness for the first time, to hear those rolling waves of laughter through the theatre. We had a rapturous reunion backstage. I haven’t seen her in a while, a year and a half maybe 2 years? Too long. So yesterday I hung out with Wade for the day, and then went and saw Alex on Broadway at night. Not too shabby.

— It’s been a tough year for my family. But we’re coming through it.

— I have to work ahead to file all the pieces due before I leave on my trip. So this coming week is going to be insane, with viewing and with writing.

— Despite all the stress of this year, I have had a good year for reading. I’ve read a ton of books. Including the entirety of Finnegans Wake for that piece I wrote for Film Comment. I had a long enough lead time to get through the book, which took me three months. It was such a soothing experience, almost like a morning meditation, reading a bit every day. So I’m proud of that. And grateful for it. But I’ve been reading widely and well, lots of fiction, lots of re-reads (Shirley Jackson, James M. Cain), a Tom Wolfe binge, a Christopher Marlowe binge. And I’ve barely bought a thing. This is all from my capacious library.

— Hope’s lip swelled up alarmingly. It looked like a big black balloon. Everything else seemed fine. She was sleeping, eating, following me around. I took her to the vet and she was so stressed out by the experience it took her 2 days to get back to some semblance of normal. My vet is so amazing. He looks like a cross between ZZ Top, Rasputin and an Old Testament prophet. He is the gentlest vet imaginable. He’s so popular it’s hard to get an appointment with him. I lucked out. He lets her sniff the stethoscope, or any of his other instruments, before he does whatever he’s going to do. He respects her. He respects that she needs to smell things just to be like, “Oh. Okay. Here’s this thing.” I so appreciated that. She hissed and howled when he gave her a shot, and the whole thing was incredibly traumatic. He gave me some meds I had to give her and her lip is now back to normal. She’s such a good girl.

— Been making my way through all of Richard Linklater’s films. I’ve seen them all but I’m re-visiting them all. I’ve seen a couple of them many many many times (School of Rock, Dazed and Confused, the Before trilogy) but some I’ve only seen once – like Tape. I saw that one in the movie theatre. He didn’t write it, but it’s such a good script, even though you can tell it was a play. But it’s fascinating and the way he filmed it was intriguing and kind of ahead of its time. It’s not “found footage” but sometimes it feels that way, the invasive camera, the “caught” moments, the feeling that some event is unfolding in real time right before your eyes. And honestly, Robert Sean Leonard has never been better. Uma is amazing too. It’s been a fun “escape” project in the middle of a really really busy month.

— Wade and I, it was like no time had passed. No wonder we became fast friends almost instantly. His Texas no-bullshit and my New England crankiness. There was this exchange from yesterday.
“Yeah, I went on a couple dates with him.” (someone we both know who had just come up in conversation)
“You went on a couple dates with [man we both know]”
“Yeah. And you know me. I’m pretty fast. Like, let’s get to it. And he was all, ‘Oh, I think you’re so interesting, Sheila, I find you so damn intriguing –‘
“Oh gimme a break.”
“Right? Like, you don’t need to romance me, just stop. But here’s the hilarious part. You know [famous feminist writer]?”
“Wait, who is that? Oh wait, yeah I know her.”
“A couple years ago she came out with a book about how she couldn’t have orgasms anymore because apparently the world going down in flames hasn’t engaged her feminism but her orgasm history does. But anyway, she wrote about a guy who helped her get her groove back, who gave her orgasms all day long and you’re never gonna guess who that guy was.”
“NO.”
“YES.”
“You know why? Because she loved the ‘Oh you’re interesting and intriguing’ thing.”
“That’s gotta be it, right? I read a thing in the NY Times about the book, saw his name and was like ‘You have GOT to be fucking kidding me.’ What are the odds? Now I feel like I missed out on his amazing prowess since he was so busy finding me fascinating.”
“His loss.”
“They met at an Occupy Wall Street rally.”
“Oh fuck them both.”
Like I said. Like no time has passed.

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