(Kevin cleaned out our second bedroom/office/storage unit so that I could sit here and write a story, so he will probably be very disappointed when he finds that I’ve taken a break to write this.)
(I’ve been superstitious about saying anything—once you say that something’s going to happen, nothing ever happens—but since it looks like it’s actually going to happen, now might be a good time to tell you that I’m going to be published in an anthology of short fiction, an actual real-life book you’ll be able to hold in your hands.)
(I don’t care what anyone says. I love Rose Tyler.)
What the Giant Eagle in My Pittsburgh Neighborhood Was Like Half an Hour Ago:
Rotisserie chickens being torn off the shelves. People in Steelers windbreakers running through the aisles with economy-sized bags of potato chips tucked under their arms. No 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke left. Every thirty seconds, someone comes over the intercom and hurriedly announces the time and a deal on pre-made buffalo wings, then shouts “GO STEELERS!” And I am tempted, too tempted, to cry out, “Is there anyone in this supermarket who would like to have a conversation about rape culture with me?”
“Ms. Portman can now claim what appears to be a unique distinction: She may be the only Golden Globe-winning actress to simulate sex on screen with two former members of the cast of ‘That ’70s Show.’”—Important Realizations, via A.O. Scott.
I’m planning to write a story from the collective consciousness of Team Aniston. Does this sound like something you would want to read? Because you’re probably going to have to, once I’m famous. It will most likely be taught in schools.
Jennifer Aniston has not made a movie I have wanted to see in nine years (with the possible exception of Rumor Has It, because the trailers for that movie were all, “We are banking on your memory of and love for a classic film [The Graduate] to generate interest in this really bland-looking romantic comedy,” and I was all, “Wait, Shirley Maclaine is in this?”), but I am still vehemently, passionately, on her side.
These days, it has almost nothing to do with a perception of her victimhood at the hands of Angelina Jolie, because I am no longer a teenager, and I have learned lessons like: even really good-looking people have complicated relationships; no one has any basis on which to judge these relationships except the really good-looking people within them; and, most importantly, there is nothing the world loves more than a narrative that pits woman against woman, especially when the women in question are really good-looking.
It’s more that Jennifer Aniston seems like a nice rich lady, who loves margaritas and yoga and knows her own limitations—and is that not a state of being for which to strive?
(Okay, it might have a little to do with the fact that Angelina Jolie seems like such a drag to be around. Did you notice how every time they cut to her after a joke at the Golden Globes, she looked completely bewildered, like the sound of laughter was foreign and frightening to her? Ugh. No. I do not want to get drunk with Angelina Jolie. There’s no way that experience would not end in a lecture about blood diamonds).
Anyway, these are just some notes on my upcoming Pulitzer Prize-winning short story “Team Aniston.”
In workshops with Julie Draper, I tend to underline most of her sentences and surround them with exclamation points and comments like “YOU’RE KILLING ME HERE, DRAPER.” This is Julie Draper’s first published story and I guarantee you that one day as a nation we’ll all be reading her novels and sighing and crying and writing “YOU’RE KILLING ME HERE, DRAPER” in the margins.
“The worst of Bath was, the number of its plain women. He did not mean to say that there were no pretty women, but the number of the plain was out of all proportion. He had frequently observed, as he walked, that one handsome face would soon be followed by thirty, or five and thirty frights; and once, as he had stood in a shop in Bond-street, he had counted eighty-seven women go by, one after another, without there being a tolerable face among them. It had been a frosty morning, to be sure, a sharp frost, which hardly one woman in a thousand could stand the test of. But still, there were a dreadful multitude of ugly women in Bath; and as for the men! they were infinitely worse.”—Persuasion, Jane Austen (via everythingiread)
Somewhere towards the end of 2010, I began to realize my own capacity for anger—not that I was angry all the time, or even particularly angry when I was, but rather how quickly I could become angry at things which did not really warrant my anger (I started to realize it once I started listening to my own internal monologue as I walked down a street, which usually went something like “WHY IS THIS PERSON WALKING SO STUPIDLY WHY IS THIS PERSON DRESSED SO STUPIDLY GOOD SPOT FOR THAT! GOOD SPOT FOR THAT!”). Anyway, it’s just not a good way to be. I do not want to always be hating everything around me. So I’m trying to take a deep breath, and empathize, and all that; I’m even using David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech as a point of reference, which is embarrassing to admit for some reason (because so many people feel that David Foster Wallace was Jesus? And I don’t believe that he was Jesus [no offense]? But using his words as a moral compass is kind of a way of equating him with Jesus a bit? But I can’t help it, because it’s such a good speech?). Anyway, what this all comes down to is that just now I listened to someone else speak, a person who is perfectly well-intentioned but whose thoughts and manner of articulating those thoughts create a boiling rage in me for some reason (I mean, I know the reasons; I could list the reasons), and I made all sorts of rude faces that this person couldn’t see, and sighed a couple of times but not loudly enough to indicate to this person that I was annoyed by them in particular, and then I remembered this resolution of sorts and took a deep breath and tried to tune it out. Which I couldn’t. In conclusion, being a good person is hard: the Katie Coyle Story.