I’ve Been Weaned: Girls and Freud

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As a writer, the single most helpful thing I have ever done is Freudian therapy. It’s not even vaguely like sit-in-a-circle-and-bitch therapy. There are no donuts or coffee. This is you and another person, the same person, for years and years, in a small room, taking out your icky parts and letting them run around on the floor. This is one person who listens to you, week-in-and-week-out, and does not run away. This is one person who hears about everything you’ve ever thought or done and tries to fit it into the grid of your larger life.

This is the one who points out your themes. This is a person who looks at your life as if it were literature, teasing out chapter titles and enduring topics that run through everything you do. The Freudian connects the latter part of the story with the beginning of the book. As you understand what drives you, you name it with your doctor and let it leave. Healing is slow, steady and timeless. A knife cannot be plunged into that wound again because that wound can no longer be found. 

I’ve been weaned and it feels great. I don’t want what anybody has. I want what I have in all it’s roughed-up glory.  And now I have themes to visit in books, themes of living I didn’t understand before I met the Freudian. 

And every once in awhile, if he’s been good, I’ll talk about sex.

Hell, it makes him happy. 

Psssst…….it’s the girls doing ugly ugly stuff

As I’ve said often, when you are 6’2″, people rarely stab you in the front.  A few men have, and I respected them for it. Just before I destroyed their World. But it was direct and it was in the open and it was fair. We were both armed. Lines of fire were established. Rules were followed.

But what to do about the furtive “women”? I use quotation marks because lying and scuttling are not the work of women. Lying and scuttling have no place in our march to fairness. Lying and scuttling other women is the last gasp of Girls Gone Bad. 

My scars are real over this issue. My scars are deep. I had an assistant who created a website, taking credit for all the books I acquired and edited. She got a free trip to a writer’s conference in Australia. I was informed and shown her website by another colleague. As she traveled, I sat in my office wondering why this could be.  I was also working on a book that sold over 1.5 million hardcopies. I was laid off just before the book hit the bestseller list, my former assistant and her female boss – who was also my boss – taking credit.

Oh, did I tell you the female boss had given her a fur shrug for Christmas?

No, you can’t make this shit up. It’s real. I had bumbled into some sort of love-fest between assistant and authority and I was out. She was in favor until she spent 1.2 million dollars on a complete stink bomb of a book that every publishing house wanted to buy. Then, all those sandwiches and coffees she had brought the boss, all those nights of website building, came to naught.

Yeah, it’s gross. Yeah, it’s wrong. But people have strange impulses and publishing is dying. They struggle and it’s every man for herself.

And I am so ashamed of them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Green Smoothie for My Bitchy Bloated New York City Girl”friends”

I live in New York City and the women I know there are mean, except for Suzann of course. They over-compete. They over-dress. They over-want. They over-diet.  Their handbags have too much hardware on them.  I’ve had a lot of trouble with women in New York City and didn’t meet the right ones. This Green Smoothie I made up for the wrong girls I met. It’s tryptophan-rich. That’s the amino acid in foods like turkey that will relax you. Come on, New York City girls, take a few sips. Relax. You deserve it. 

Bitchy New York Girl Green Smoothie

Serves 1

5 kiwi fruit, peeled and chunked

1/2 avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out

Sparkling water to taste

1 bunch beet greens, rinsed and leaves chopped (save the beets for another dish)

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Juice of 1 orange, lemon or lime

Ice cubes to taste

1. Put the kiwi and avocado in the blender jar. Cover with sparkling water and blend.

2. Add the chopped beet greens, chia seeds and citrus juice. Cover with more sparkling water.

Process until smooth, dropping ice cubes through the top of the blender to make it thick and cold.

 

Sip at bedtime. Arise less bitchy. 

 

 

It’s Good if You Say So and Other Thoughts of Living with a New York Times Critic

It’s good if you say so and other notes on living with a New York Times critic
I married a fancy man. I myself am not fancy: I used to ride horses and drink beer out of the bed of the truck. But some how, some way, a fancy man from New York City went into the wilds of Texas and pulled me out of the bushes, dusted me off and said, “hey gurl, drop the reins and come on with me.” And I went.

I went to work for a publishing company and by sheer proximity to all that thought and sophistication, I too started to become fancy. I read books everyone blathered about so I could blather too. I hung out at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with the fancy husband. I was great yahoo country muscle when an unhappy reviewee would want to attack him in the aisles. I’d stand up, all 6 feet 2 inches of me, and say in my yahoo voice, “fuck offffff, little buddy.” It worked out.

My fancy husband showed me his office. We were with Ben Brantley, the king of Broadway and funniest man alive. When we passed the sign that said “NY Times Critics” at the door, Ben said, “it might as well say ‘throw bombs here.” Their offices were all chaos and paper, just as you would imagine. Whiny notes about recording thefts abounded. Dilbert had arrived at The New York Times.

Shortly thereafter, on a trip to the Santa Fe Opera, I saw my fancy husband’s true colors. His sedition would have rocked that gross, dirty office of “NY Times Critics.” All his fanciness dried up in a second when I heard his response to the question, “was this opera good?”

The fancy man looked out over the theater into the hills of New Mexico and said to the music-affectionado, “It’s good if you thought it was.”

And there you have it, people. You don’t need affirmation. Art is good if it’s good for you. Period.

 

TODAY IN THE TIMES……….

Working in publishing, there is a certain type of person that doesn’t believe something happened unless it was reported in The New York Times. My conversations with these types of people went like this:

“Palestinians ate Settlement children,” some nerd would say

“Where the fuck did you read that,” I’d ask. 

“In The New York Times,” the nerd would say.

“You believed it?” I’d say.

“Yes, of course. It was in the Times.”

“Did you also read it in the News?” I’d ask.

“I’d never read The Daily News,” the nerd would harumph.

“Why not?” I’d ask. “It’s the same news, only shorter,” I’d say.

“No one reads The News,” the nerd bullied.

“I do and I like it,” the big Texas yahoo would say. That’s me.

<Big sigh> the nerd. 

“Did you read it in The New Yorker too,” I’d ask.

“It’s not out yet this week,” the nerd would sigh.

“Michi likes the new Doer collection of linked stories,” I’d say.

The Nerd would beam: “So do I!”

 

 

 

160 Million Dollars of Books that Didn’t Get Made

 

After Federal Judge Denise Cote got through with publishing, the assessment was horrific: 160 million dollars, spread across several large corporations, all accused of price fixing (the SEC crime) and lying (it made Federal Judge Denise Cote mad.) How did all those “lovely” smart people get into THAT predicament?

If you think “arrogance”, you’d be right.  But I know what their arrogance is fueled by….a stinky animal fear that sent them over the edge like wildebeests during The Great Migration. Books doubled in page size to meet inflated prices with bloviating texts that turned back in on themselves, ever tightening the authors love song to him or herself. The “B” list, as they call it – that’s the place you discover new talent – was left to die. Celebrities were the new buzzword. BRiING US YOUR A -LIST they screamed.

Did we need Arnold Schwartzenegger to  tell us he was so lazy he wouldn’t leave his own house to have an extra-marital affair? Do we need another Rachel Ray book written by an editor? Did Brandi Glanville’s vaginal rejuvenation take?

So, from 2008 – 2013, the library went empty, the lawyers got all the dough, and we got Paula Deen, Arnold , Brandi and those Duck guys . I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad publishing lost 50% of its market share because it’s about CREATIVITY, not booking a celebrity on a tv show.

Publishing, you spent 5 years not-publishing. You built a library that doesn’t have books.