Writing every day on 750words.com – This site designed and run by Buster and Kellianne Benson is the best way I’ve found to write every day. It’s one of the best emotionally-aware designed sites I know. The feedback and nudges helped me a lot. Writing every day and coming through for myself has changed my life more than just about anything else that happened this year. If you join and want to follow each other for shared accountability (just one of the features of the site) let me know.
No more overhead lighting, and make everything warmer – Edison bulbs and other warmer yellower colours and this fantastic app which automatically shifts the color of your laptop screen by time of day help with minimizing headaches and helping sleep. Plus, you just feel more relaxed and strain your eyes less. I’m a middle-aged lady now. You will be too if you’re lucky. Everyone should be a middle-aged lady at some point. You stop giving a shit about a lot, but caring more about your eyesight.
Kenrick Lamar – This appearance on Colbert introduced me to him. Brilliance. Poetry. Theatre. A novel in 3 minutes. An opera? Performance art. Hip hop. Categorizing is the opposite of the point. He is a thrilling artist and art at it’s best grabs you by the heart and the hairs on your arms.
People are speaking up and telling their truth – #JianGhomeshi #Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter #BillCosby #RapedNeverReported #GamerGate #ThisTweetCalledMyBack #RealLiveTransAdult The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segerra the whistleblower about Goldman and the Fed on This American Life. Twitter has been huge. So has twitter (at least while it’s still a platform that lets you see who you have chosen to see, that may change next year). This is not things getting worse. This is things getting better.This is people speaking up and to each other, people who have not been heard in the main stream media.This is about ending shame and gaslighting and respecting our own experiences. This is about people seeing authority in themselves. This is about surfacing the epidemic abuse our culture has been mired in for ages and the role our silence played in enabling it. This is a big moment. Dominance is not a sustainable way for the culture and economy to continue. Dominance has roots in abuse. Dominance tells a damn good story. Dominance requires denial. I believe there’s a different way down deep.
Transparent – The best television show I’ve ever seen. Also the most Jewish television show I’ve ever seen. This series shows the layers of character and family, the contradiction and the gray and in between of sexuality and gender. It shows where comedy comes from while showing you great comedy with profound heart. This show is like the best lover you’ll ever have. It will show you places you’d forgotten you wanted to be touched. Jill Soloway continues to be an inspiration to me. A conversation with her last year led me to think, for the first time (quite seriously) about directing.
I worked on a series that got nominated for an Emmy – The Future Starts Here is Tiffany Shlain’s doc series on aol. This is pretty amazing.
I got divorced. It finalized-after 4 years and 2 months-this year. I did a performance piece, Divorce Vows, at the notary when the paperwork got finished. I’m working on a full-length show called Everything Is Subject to Change that it’s part of and made good progress on it this year in workshops and performances at various venues and living rooms. Thank you TMI, La Pena, Stage Werx, Bruce Pachtman, Gina Gold and Rusty Blazenhoff. I also wrote this related piece people have seemed to like: So, You’re Getting Divorced?
Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company – I read this book and enjoyed the picture it showed me of life in France during this artistic era. It was a pleasure to see queer life at a time other than my own. One of the most notable things to me is how relentless Stein was throughout her life at promoted her work and perception of her as a genius. Most every artist in the circle promoted themselves a lot, including Picasso. She never really had popular success until she wrote something that was more accessible and about the social space she made for so many writers and painters. Everything, no matter how profound and beautiful in and of itself, needs someone to speak for it at times, or at least to offer it attention.
Morning Jew – I did a year of this video series with comic Katie Halper whom I enjoy talking with every week. We had some patrons support the show and the interest of an agent piqued. Mostly I just really like talking with Katie. It’s fun to make each other laugh. We are working on shifting the show to an audio podcast.
Instagram – I enjoyed it above all other platforms online. It reminds me the most of the old web at this point.
Wild – was the best film I saw this year. And we saw quite a lot of films. I did not expect this film to be so good. The adaptation of the book is terrific, the direction raises the level of the film and Laura Dern is just phenomenal: my favorite performance of anyone in any film this year.
Maleficent – is a radical feminist film. Shifting archetypes for young children is an amazing thing to do.
Robin Williams death – affected me greatly and that surprised me. It also showed me that, like it or not, I am a comic, even when I feel unsure about it.
Jerry Seinfeld – Perhaps the thing that surprised me most this year was that I went from someone who really had disdain for his stand up and didn’t think about him much, to a mild obsession to learning from his work and his approach to work and a complete love affair with his brilliant online talk show which I’m linking to a second time because really, if you haven’t seen it, you are missing out. I even went so far as to go see him live in Oakland. My strange Jerry Seinfeld distaste to obsession shift and what I’ve learned from studying a lot of his stuff is worth its own post or podcast episode at some point. The 2000 year old man is never wrong “we mock the thing we are to be.”
Della Fatoria – I ate there. It was so insanely good I made a point to get to Petaluma and eat there a few more times this year. The best bread I’ve ever had. Search out your own link if you’re motivated because I’m a bit torn and I flatter myself. I don’t want the place overrun.
I got paid to act – I never really saw myself as an actor, but I began to do it this year. I shot a few spots including a really funny Portlandia-esque take on Whole Foods for the supermarket. If you want to see it, email me.
I’m so sorry. Congratulations. It likely doesn’t feel like congratulations time if you’ve only just discovered your marriage is not going to work. But at some point, however far in the future it may be, it will. This might be hard to believe, but it’s true. This is just one of the things I’ve learned going through my own divorce. Here are some other things I learned or wish I’d known at the start.
1. Welcome to Divorce Club. It’s a little like getting a motorcycle. You’re going to find out there’s a little wave and an understanding people flash at each other. We find each other via uncanny emotional cruising we might not realize we’re doing. You’re entering or have been through the shit. We know. We’re there too. People who haven’t been there have no idea. Those civilians probably aren’t going to be very cathartic to talk with.
2. You will need a new emergency contact for your doctor’s office. This will hurt.
3. There is no reason the person you’re divorcing is going to make more sense to you or behave in a way you think makes more sense during divorce than they did during the marriage. If they did, you wouldn’t be getting divorced.
4. Holding onto anger and resentment about your spouse’s behavior is only going to make you, your friends and definitely your kids miserable. Of course, it’s a good idea to feel however you do feel about things. Be as angry as you need to be when you feel angry. But nurturing anger long term is just going to make the divorce process harder. You have practical shit to deal with now.
5. You are going to be a teenager for a little while. This part can be fun, especially if you’ve never been one before.
7. You get a sex life! Only have sex with people who are unavailable for a relationship for a good while.
8. Make a friend under the age of 25 who can talk sense to you about texting and social media as they relate to online dating, pick ups and their aftermath. If you haven’t dated in a while this shit might be new to you. If it’s been a really long time, learn how to have safe sex.
8. Have some friends you can fall apart with. Divorce Club members are good candidates. Unless someone has been through hell, they won’t be very good at being with you while you’re in it. Walk away from advice givers (this included if it bothers you).
9. Divorce is like a death. It’s the end of your idea or dream of a future you made decisions and compromises for. And like any death grieving isn’t linear. Be very gentle with yourself. A friend told me “when someone dies you get a year.” Your life relationship died. You deserve to be forgiven for whatever weird stuff you may do this year. See number 4.
10. You thought planning your wedding was time-consuming and expensive?
11. If you can avoid hiring divorce lawyers, do it. It’s a cliche because it’s true: the lawyers will do better than either of you will financially in the split. You will often end up having to manage and fight with the lawyer as much or more than your ex.
12. Don’t hire a lawyer without an endorsement from someone who’s been in Divorce Club a lot longer than you.
12. Nothing emotional is accomplished or gained in a lawsuit. You will never feel better because you sued someone. You should take care of yourself and if this is necessary to do financially, then it’s necessary. Just know that it is often a second emotionally painful thing to deal with in an ongoing way. And it makes closure take much longer.
13. If you die while you are still married, your ex is your next of kin. At some point you will be motivated to do whatever you have to do to end it.
14. You will want to be divorced more that you ever wanted to be married.
Look here for more on this show in development, Everything Is Subject To Change, Email if you’d like to bring it to your living room.
Written in partial reply to a post by my friend Susan Mernit about an experience at a tech event in Oakland. Real estate coasts are pushing tech businesses and workers to Oakland. I already live in Oakland and love it.
There is an incredible opportunity to learn from the rich history and amazing people who have made up Oakland long before recent transplants. Oakland was a Black city. It’s been a pretty lesbian city for a long time. I still have a lot to learn about it and it’s history. It’s a very diverse city. The tech business in general has some real room to grow around its social environment and vibe. It was a much more nerdy, inclusive happy-go-lucky vibe (unsurprisingly) before it became such a big money driver full of people who aren’t focussed on ideas first and dollars second. It seemed more Woz than Jobs. I think the challenge of tech’s actual business and products and the challenge of Oakland now aren’t that far apart. It’s learning how to humanize and keep people and our needs and selves seen and met. Not re-arranged to meet the needs of algorithms. Because the machines are getting smarter every day. And eventually they will need us less and less if we don’t recall why we built them in the first place.
We taped this as Joan was dying. Katie makes some deserved criticisms of Joan but I don’t want that to be the entirety of how our show remembers her. I will miss Joan Rivers. She had incredible guts an incredible work ethic and was a true “disruptor” and “innovator.” Meaning she didn’t get help. There was no path she walked down. A ton of people stood in her way. And she did it anyway.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I have that she helped make possible. May your memory be for a blessing Joan.