The Best Entry Ever
So, here’s a sentence I’ve been waiting all my life to say:
Today I got a book deal.
An awesome, awesome book deal.
Cringe is going to be a book, an awesome, awesome book. A hardcover book. Published by Crown Publishing Group/Three Rivers Press. They do, among other things, the Onion books.
THE ONION BOOKS.
I am so happy I feel faint.
Today, for the first time in my life, I cried in the bathroom at work in a GOOD way.
And now I’m going to celebrate this book deal the traditional way: by flying to Tulsa for my cousin’s wedding.
I’ll be back Monday, and then we’ll get down to brass tacks. Prepare to be called on, Internet.
And seriously: thank you.
Me: ... this is getting next level. I mean, hell, bring ‘em all in! Let’s get some cobras up in here too!
Him: [eyes widening with glee] Ooh, yeah!
Him: Wait, what are cobras again?
Me: Snakes. They’re snakes.
Him: Oh. I was hoping it was some new thing I hadn’t heard about yet.
Stupid All These Years
Last Saturday night I had plans with Blaise and Sarah Kelly to go to a party in Manhattan. We met at the Old Carriage Inn in Park Slope to have a drink before the party, but the people inside the Old Carriage Inn were people I have never seen outside of Tulsa circa 1997, people with cell phones clipped to their belts and M.C. Escher shirts tucked into their black jeans, people who karaoked Matchbox Twenty songs, so of course we never made it to the party and instead sat at the bar and people-watched until it closed at 3:30 am.
At one point, a girl got up to karaoke “Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos. I’m not sure what part of her brain told her this would be a good idea, but she got up there and belted it out, and the whole time I made this face. It reminded me of the summer I was fifteen, and how I would stand in front of my bedroom mirror, singing along to this very song myself, practicing my tortured expressions and making big troubled eyes, just in case, you know, there would come a moment in my burgeoning adult life when I would be called upon to emote someone to death.
I was not entirely sure what this song was actually about at age fifteen; I just knew it was about HAVING SOME FEELINGS and maybe some other people WERE NOT APPRECIATING THOSE FEELINGS, and probably a guy was involved. Also, Neil Gaiman. That pretty much summed up my life at fifteen, so I felt a real affinity with this song, and, sadly, with Tori Amos, so much so that I would spend my downtime at my summer job in the pool concesssion stand writing the lyrics on my shoes, my cut-offs, the book of sno-cone receipts; whatever was not bolted down or alive, really. I could not come up with my own words for my feelings, so I just wrote Tori’s, over and over again, sort of like tracing a drawing you really liked, still not entirely sure what either of us was feeling exactly, but painfully aware that whatever those feelings were, they were POTENT and SERIOUS and much deeper than anything any of the lifeguards had ever felt, ever, especially Jenni because she wore a pink ruffled bikini and that was against everything Tori and I stood for.
To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what this song is about, although I’m roughly aware it’s about a breakup, and that at one point she makes an allusion to maybe being pregnant. And I am ashamed to say that even though I was a smart girl and good with words and eventually got a college degree based on interpreting literature, I was not aware of the pregnant bit until the very moment that a cute lifeguard picked up my receipt pad, read the lyrics, and said, “Boy you best pray that I bleed real soon?” Then he looked at me, horrified, and walked out of my concession stand and life forever, while the words still hung in the air between us and the lightbulb over my head was just warming up to OH HEEEEEY THAT MEANS BLOOD LIKE MISSED PERIOD OH SHIT WAIT!
Unfortunately, this was not the first time in my life that I took on someone else’s words as my own mistranslated or misunderstood mantle. This is not a simple misheard lyric; this is not goinked up in Hennison. This is more like Science = Death.
I would not be fifteen again no matter how much you paid me.
I sleep alone
More than a few people have asked me whatever happened with trying to talk to this guy. My answer was that I hadn’t seen him since the day I wrote that post. Until today. I stepped off the Q train at Canal, and he rounded the corner, headed straight for me. I stopped, looked him right in the eye, he looked right back at me, I opened my mouth to say, “Tulsa?” and then I froze, turned, and walked up the stairs.
If you’re interested, you can download the mp3 file of the conference call with Gloria Steinem. My question comes about 33 minutes into the conversation, and I only make up one fake word while asking it. Ten points to the first person who can find it.
Maximum Lady Time
Last week I took a conference call with Gloria Steinem while sitting in a Taco Bell. That event led to many wonderful things, not the least of which was being hugged by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. The least of which was probably Deborah Norville asking me if she could “squooch past” me last night. She was wearing a tweed blazer festooned with tiny rhinestone shards. I was drinking green champagne and trying not to sweat through my dress.
A few weeks ago, I was asked if I’d like to have the chance to talk to Gloria Steinem, you know, just ask her a few questions. I said yes immediately, before realizing that I had no idea what to ask her. What can you ask that woman that hasn’t been asked before? I figured I’d get my feminist card revoked if I’d asked the first one that popped into my head, because it was about being Christian Bale’s stepmom. So I polled my friends and family, had three questions ready, and then five minutes into the call abandoned them all and had at least ten new ones on the tip of my tongue.
I am not really one to gush or get starstruck, but this woman was incredible. She was smart and funny and kind, and answered my question about women avoiding conflict and confrontation to their own detriment so well I wish I could call her for advice whenever I needed it. The thing that stuck out the most to me was how un-didactic she was. I feel like very few people, having spent a lifetime being such a trailblazer and lightning rod as she, having been heralded and criticized and debated for so long, could maintain such a refreshingly un-preachy manner of speaking. There was no script to her answers; they weren’t cut and pasted from other interviews or discussions. You got the feeling that she was right there with you, genuinely interested in the conversation, and wanting to know what you thought as well. I realize this sounds so forthright and aw-shucks, two things I’m usually not when I write, but I’m having a hard time conveying how honored I was to be a part of this conversation. I got chills several times. It was one of the most amazing things that’s happened in my life and I will never forget it.
Anyway, so: Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. Getting to that.
I was on this call with nine other women writers, and it was all in honor of GreenStone Media, the new radio network Gloria Steinem has co-founded. Last night was the launch party at the Museum of Television and Radio here in New York. About every third person in the room was famous, and so everyone spent their time sipping the complimentary green champagne and pretending not to scan the room for famous faces. Everyone except Heather and Michele and me. Heather would grab my elbow and hiss Look, it’s Emme! or Look, Jane Fonda! or OH MY GOD IT’S THE PLASTIC SURGERY CAT LADY!, to which the dapper man next to us spun around and said, “Where? She bankrupted one of my clients!” Only it wasn’t her (because, really, why would she be there?), but then we had someone new to gossip with. And then we got to actually meet Gloria Steinem in person, and she was lovely and amazing and looks better at 72 than I do at 29, and not to be a total Milhouse but she smelled really nice.
But the best story of the evening was when the photographer came up to me and said, “Hey, you’re Sarah Brown! Would you like to get a picture with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister?” Hello friend, are you reading my mind? And god bless Dee Snider, because I think he thought he was supposed to know who I was, because the photographer just introduced me as Sarah Brown and said she’d like to get our picture together, and he was a pro and hugged me and chatted and posed, and the whole time my brain was blaring his song from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure that goes You’re gonna burn in HELLLLLLL!
As soon as they send me the audio from the phone call, I’ll post it here. Until then, here lies the most surreal set of party pics on the planet.
Cringe: Jerkin' off about you in the bathroom
There’s an article about Cringe on page 16 of the September issue of Venus Zine, which includes a direct quote from me where I use the phrase, “jerked off about you later in the second-floor bathroom.” Accomplishing these life goals has just been like peeling off dead skin lately.
The next Cringe is Wednesday night, featuring almost completely all new readers, among them an actual professional comedian and an actual published author. We’re getting fancy on you, Brooklyn.
Also, a global Brazilian news network will be there to film. Wha? I know.
Wednesday, September 6, 8:30 pm
Freddy’s Bar & Backroom
Dean & 6th Ave.
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
2/3 to Bergen, any train to Atlantic/Pacific
Cost: as always, free dollars.