- Called me over, while I was hungry and cleaning, to his apartment, where he had a SURPRISE Five Guys burger and an episode of The Office waiting for me.
- Finished checking his e-mail and handed me his laptop with the Tumblr window already open.
- Left an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place on for a few seconds longer than I think his natural inclination would have liked, in order to satisfy my obvious curiosity.
I have a really serious apartment-cleaning situation on my hands (there are six empty Diet Coke cans on my desk and that is just one example of fourteen hundred), and while I take care of it, I am going to listen to Jim Dale’s dulcet tones as he reads aloud Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Here in this MFA program, I have had to stand listening to my boy H.Pots be openly maligned by some of my peers (which, whatever, I’m sure that J.K. Rowling is pausing mid-backstroke in her champagne pool wondering if a bunch of unpublished writers in Pittsburgh are questioning her artistic integrity). Most of these people are older than me, not by a lot, but just enough that they probably did not pick up the first book on their last day of the 7th grade, ruing the C+ in Science on their report card and anticipating a summer of boring, only to be initiated into a literary experience that would last them through their junior year of college. It is also true that many of them dislike magic. Anyway, I am fairly tired of feeling like I have to weakly defend things that have brought me years of nerdy happiness—even the excuse “I was twelve when I started reading them!” feels like a cop-out to me, because it does not acknowledge the fact that to this day, maybe once every two months, I have a dream that relates in some way to Harry. Usually the dreams are that another book is coming out, and I am scared that someone will tell me the ending, and then suddenly the anticipation segues into the actual plot of this non-existent eighth book, which, a couple of nights ago, seemed to center on Trelawney trying to marry Harry? God, I don’t know. What am I saying? I am saying that I’m about to have a really enjoyable cleaning/listening experience, and anyone who wants to denigrate my choices can just suck it.
- Full disclosure, since everyone knows how highly I value the ethics of blogging: I know this man. He was my creative writing professor at my undergraduate institution. This may require the further disclosure that I like him a lot. I am not alone in this. English department events at Marymount Manhattan College were never not preceded with furious discussions as to whether or not Jerry would be in attendance, because if he was not, most of us would not consider them worth attending. This was probably emotionally unhealthy! But you will understand how we all felt after watching this video. All twelve minutes and forty-four seconds of it. I mean it. Watch that, right now.
- Now that you’ve watched that video, you might understand why I—in a way that was emotionally unhealthy, I realize that now—categorized and subcategorized in my head all the advice and praise and criticism he ever gave me. To have this man on your side is to really feel like you are maybe possibly something special.
- That feeling is magnified when you read his poetry, which, shit, guys, it’s so good. I got this book in the mail yesterday (it arrived! unbidden! on my doorstep! And I was filled with a confusion and delight quickly deflated by J.D. Salinger’s death!) and am sort of embarrassed that I’ve already finished, but mostly not, because of things like
- “Whenever love metastasized, I ran over it with my lawnmower for you.”
- “Dying is like paying off your debts/with money you found in the trash./No expectations, no grudges, no noise—/just the low-toned gurgle of the living/as they conduct their underwater interrogations/in a language all covered with scars.”
- “Her eyes said cramps.//Her eyes said I don’t think I can stand the shedding/of my insides a minimum of 425 times/over the course of my life.//Her eyes said you worthless piece of shit.”
- This is also the only book you will ever read (ever! in the course of your life!) that contains the name “Osama Bin Zeta-Jones.”
- Do you guys like poetry? I don’t care. This book is funny and crazy and wonderful and it will occasionally bring pinpricks of tears in your eyes that you will have to hide from your fellow tutors of student-athletes as you read it in their presence. Buy it. Or buy this. Or buy this.
- (I get nothing out of these endorsements but the joy of letting others in on Jerry Williams’s particular combination of brilliance and insanity.)
J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey
Is it cool or uncool to unabashedly love J.D. Salinger? I don’t know and I don’t care. Thanks for everything, Jerome David.
Hello! It is 12:56 on Thursday, January 28th, and from where you lie in your boyfriend’s bed in your pajamas, you are comforted by the sight of a thin layer of snow on the branches of trees and the sunlight streaming in through all the windows and the sound of the water of the shower. You are going to have a really good day today, even though this morning you’ve been thinking about the irrefutable fact of your unemployableness, even though you have a tendency to create words like “unemployableness” because you are too lazy to take a moment to consider what actual words or phrases could convey the same meaning. You’re going to wash your hair! And bring a can of Diet Coke to the library! And you’re going to write! Like your life depends on it! Because—here is the kicker—your life seriously depends on it. Happy Thursday, Katie Coyle. Try not to cry today.
Alan Alda, Conan O’Brien, Tina Fey, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, George Clooney, Matt Damon, J.K. Rowling and others I can’t remember.
Happy divorce-iversary, Braniston!
Pittsburgh is the only city in the world in which I have lived (this is a joke, because I have only ever lived in two cities) where two large groups of people stand on either side of an intersection, staring at the forbidding red hand of the crosswalk, perhaps scanning the road and determining that there is no car in sight, and yet, never moving. In New York (or, Back When I Was Super-Tough), I always considered the red hand (or was it that little red walking guy, ceasing to walk? How quickly we forget) a useful tool for weeding out crowds of tourists, while I gauged the speed of an oncoming taxi and thought, “Yeah. I can make this.”
Just now outside the Cathedral of Learning, there was total stillness at an intersection—no cars, and, despite large crowds of students on either side of the street, no crossing of said street. Because the hand was red. Then I locked eyes with a girl directly across from me. We looked both ways. And then we crossed, red hand be damned. I heard no gasps from the students surrounding us; I assume that they were too stunned. At the point that we passed, it took everything in my person to keep myself from crying out, “Do you know of any twenty-four-hour bodegas in this fucking city?”
A bad workshop is one in which anyone, at any time, distributes a story where each character has the name of someone in the class, and then at some point, all these characters start to have sex with each other. A bad workshop is one where the professor has the students go around in a circle, each saying one good thing and one bad thing about the piece in question. This result of this system is that everyone who did not read your story is immediately identified by feeble assertions of “What Karen said!” and “Right here, in the first paragraph? I didn’t like this one sentence.” And in turn this will only lead you, if you are a vindictive person, to wish to systematically destroy everyone who did not read your story, with really mean and eventually regrettable criticism. If you are sitting in your workshop thinking, “Next week I am bringing a flask full of vodka with me,” you are unquestionably in a bad workshop.
Who gets excited for the Golden Globes anymore? It’s just me and middle-aged homosexuals, I would imagine. But I have loved the Golden Globes all my life. They proudly replace the quasi-dignity of the Oscars with bottles and bottles of alcohol. And if I were an actor—like a real actor, with a capital A—I think I’d need that to take the Golden Globes seriously. Did you guys know that along with her two current Golden Globe nominations (as White Lady With a Big Heart in The Blind Side and Bitchy Lady Whom Only a Ryan Reynolds Could Love in The Proposal), Sandra Bullock has had two other Golden Globe nominations in her extremely illustrious acting career? And that they were for While You Were Sleeping and Miss Congeniality? Do you guys remember that time that Elizabeth Taylor started opening the envelope for Best Picture before the nominees were announced, and Dick Clark had to come out and reign her in, and then she said the word “Gladiator” in the funniest way I’ve ever heard the word “Gladiator” said? But really the Golden Globes for me was summed up when a couple of years ago, Harrison Ford came out to present some award or another (probably Best Jim Carrey Performance of the Year) and didn’t even try to hide the glass of whiskey he’d brought onstage with him. Celebrities!
For some reason, however, my beloved E! network has cut down their preshow this year to just one hour of Countdown to Live From the Red Carpet (in which E!’s lesser stars talk about what kind of tooth-whitening services Penelope Cruz may or may not have used this year) and two hours of Live From the Red Carpet (in which Ryan Seacrest and that skinny lady will most likely have to field inane generalities about Haiti from famous people who wish to appear above these frivolities). That’s not enough time to consume all the snacks I have planned for tonight’s festivities: those Flips pretzel-crackers with port wine, garlic and potato puffs, and for dinner, buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. Oh yes! Tomorrow I will be twenty pounds heavier and thirty percent more vapid. This is my favorite time of year.
A crazy lady just walked into the computer lab. I describe her as “crazy;” perhaps that’s not fair. She merely felt it necessary to announce that she thinks it’s a good sign that she’s wearing a t-shirt with an illustration of Medusa on it. It’s perfectly acceptable to walk into a room and opine on your own clothing, so I retract my evaluative description of her mental state.
Then she asked the other woman in the room what that woman’s name was. The woman answered that her name is Katharine (Katherine, Catherine, Kathryn—she did not specify the spelling), but that a lot of people call her Kat. She doesn’t ask them to call her Kat, but they do.
Medusa says she calls people what they want to be called, unless they want to be called something like “Your Majesty!!!!” HAHAHAHAHAHHA
Kat said she likes the nickname Kat better than other nicknames for Katharine, such as, (her example, which she sounded disgusted by), Katie.
Medusa agreed that it is a horrible nickname. “‘Katie’ sounds pretty cheerleader-y,” she said.
“Why don’t you both just go die?” I suggested in a friendly conversational tone.
Have you ever had the experience of looking for a condom commercial starring a girl you went to college with, only to stumble upon a condom commercial starring a guy you went to college with? No? Is this just me?