- I got done with English for a while. I couldn’t speak correctly for several days afterward, as evidenced by the fact that I initially wrote “I couldn’t talk right” in this sentence. I ended a lot of conversations with “Do you want to go to the… oh, you know, the place with the things… spit it out, Goddamn it, Chris… nevermind. I’ll talk to you in a few days.”
- Meg and I are a solid team, both for reasons you can imagine and because we managed never to be both having an anxiety attack at the same time. Every time one of us was on the verge of tears, the other one had enough fight left to say “Sack up, Agnes! Write your fucking chapter and be a tittybaby after the deadline!”
- "Tig ol’ bitties!” We said this a number of times – you know, to keep our spirits up – but Meg was so tired she kept saying “BIG OL' TITTIES! Oh, my goodness. That was surprisingly crass.”
- We’ve developed a little writing dialect. Most of it you probably had to be there for, but one phrase is relatively easy to explain and will give you the idea of how incomprehensible we got: “Play it again, Blanche!” refers to a transition sentence. It comes from my middle-of-the-night exclamation, “Damn it to hell! Every transition I write sounds like I’m Betty White hosting a Golden Girls clip show. ‘We’ve sure had our share of wild situations, haven’t we, Dorothy?’ ‘We sure have, Rose. Wild situations and CHEESECAKE. Play the clip, Blanche!’” So whenever one of us got hung up on a transition: “Meg! I need a play it again, Blanche!”
- The book will contain a reference to Anias Nin; lest you think we’re getting all highbrow, she’s mentioned in the phrase “doing a shot of absinthe out of Anias Nin’s cleavage.”
- I had a tig ol’ night terror the last night Meg was here, which resulted in this conversation:
Me: Did you hear me have that night terror last night?
Meggles: YES. I was fascinated. You sounded so frightened!
Me: Why didn’t you wake me up?
Meggles: I didn’t think I was supposed to. I thought it was like sleepwalking.
Me: So your response to seeing someone thrash helplessly on the floor and scream is to watch, wordlessly.
Meggles: It worked in Nam.
Dear readers: If you ever hear me have a night terror, wake me the fuck up, please.
And now, some musings on how my sexuality has affected my artistic sensibility.
#comingoutfail: I’ve never come out to the aunts-and-cousins peripheral members of my family because I can’t figure out how. I don’t care if they know, but here are my options for getting the word out:
1.) Casually throw it out over the Thanksgiving spread. “Can you pass the I like to fuck men in the ass? I’m sorry, I meant to say cornbread.”
2.) Solemnly throw it out over the Thanksgiving spread. Ting my fork against my glass to get everyone’s attention, then “I have an announcement. Um. I like to fuck men in the ass.”
3.) Come out to everyone in turn in the form of phone calls or letters. “Dear Aunt Zenobia, I hope this finds you well. Anyway, I like to fuck men in the ass. Thanks for the gift card. Love, Chris.”
As you may have gleaned from this blog, I’m not a feelings-in-public haver. Wasp men have their feelings under one of two circumstances: alone, in the bathtub, with no one else home, with a drink; or during the game. I would rather break a limb than make an emotional announcement at the dinner table, casually or no. As for coming out individually to each relative… I love my family, but I don’t confide in them. I confide in my friends, and then only in kind of frantic bursts: “Yes, let’s play some Xbox. I think about death all the time, and I’m worried it will begin to consume me. Do you want to get dinner now or play Xbox until we’re really hungry so we can like WOLF some fries?” Coming out is too much like a conversation about sex for it not to be nightmarishly awkward. I don’t know if this is true, but I suspect it is: don’t you think that every time you come out to someone, they go through this thought process? “He’s gay. That means he’s attracted to men. That means, presumably, that he has sex with men. That means that…oh, dear. I wonder if he’s the, uh… ‘momma bear’ or ‘poppa bear?’ Is there any way I can ask? No, there’s no way I can ask my nephew if he likes to ‘dish it out or take it.’ Oh, I just thought about my nephew having anal sex. I need an Advil.”
Now, I hear you ask, why can’t I just come out to them via whatever rote I’ve used in the past? Because this is how I’ve come out in the past:
To college friends, Group A: They saw me leave a party with a guy. Quick, brutal, effective, and extremely difficult to pull off at a family gathering.
To college friends, Group B: I drafted a memo and had it distributed. Even on seasonal paper, this is inappropriate for Thanksgiving.
To some guy named Nick: “You wanna fool around? No? Well fuck you then.”
To Dad: Blurted it out in the Love Field airport parking garage, because there were strangers around in the terminal; I didn’t want to do it on the road in case it was, against all odds, a surprise and he drove us into a median; and my stepmother was at home and I didn’t want it to be a “big thing.” Dad’s response: “Well, it’s not the biggest surprise…”
To Mom: Now… you all know I love her. She called me when I was in New Zealand because she’d watched an episode of “Oprah” (show of hands: who here has had a terrible conversation with their mother because of something she saw on “Oprah?” Everybody?) about transsexuals and their parents. She’d then had a dream that I was a transsexual and called me to “accept me,” forcing me to bargain her down to “just gay,” which seemed to be an enormous disappointment.
Mom: I wish I could hold and comfort you.
Me: I wish I could black your eye! These phone calls are expensive! It’s midnight here! Go have emotions at the dog!
She was angry with me for six months because I “hadn’t told her sooner.” This was not the first time she’d mistaken a dream for a genuine premonition. I won’t go into it, but we did once have a conversation about whether or not I was a member of a feces-eating cult that met in the neighbor’s house. I was not.
So that leaves me with option
4.) Telephone, telegraph, tell a woman. I have a cousin who talks a lot, and we exchange letters. I thought the perfect way to handle this was to mention it to her in a letter and let her do my dirty work for me. So I wrote her a letter… now, my cousin and I like to put silly return addresses on the letters, a la “Hill Country Syphilis Research Center” or “Mid-Atlantic Muskrat Eradication Task Force.” We like to think it zazzes up the mailmen’s lives. So, of course, when I found a dozen abandoned envelopes for the V--------* University Department of Arab and Islamic Studies, I used one of them to send this letter to my cousin Meg. Well, my letter to my cousin never made it to Texas, and presumably got returned to the V-------- University Department of Arab and Islamic Studies. I would have given my arm to be a fly on the wall when the office assistant opened that returned letter and called out to the office, “Okay, who’s been using the good stationery to come out to their cousins and exchange gossip about another cousin’s choice of baby names?”
So with the failure of 4) I’m leaning toward
5.) Publish the book, let them find the link to the blog, and the hell with it. It’s kind of crass, but…
Anywhozle. The first draft is done, and I’m looking forward to blogging again. It’s good to be home.
* Yeah, I know everyone knows where I go by now, but I don’t want the department to google themselves and find this and make a stink about their stationery being used to come out to my cousin and exchange gossip about another cousin’s choice of baby names. They shouldn’t have left it in the hall.