Monday, June 20, 2011

Is There Shame in Feeling Shame About Your Divorce?

I read the NY Times story by Pamela Paul yesterday about How Divorce Lost It's Groove. I wrote a response on my other blog/website, Femamom, because I really resonated with it.

I'm a strong, independent woman, and I'm so strong I don't even have to be explaining how strong and independent I am. But shit, divorce rocked me. And the idea of being divorced rocked me. In my Femamom peice I write about how it was like the Imperial March followed me everytime I had to explain and it took a while to really get past that feeling. What's the harm in admitting this, I ask? Well, according to another blogger, Ask Moxie, whose material I've always liked, being ashamed is shameful.

Moxie takes offense to the article on her blog (which she writes with her ex-husband LOD). She  thinks the article makes women sound like "sad rejected failures." Moxie doesn't like this take on it. But Moxie, there is an element -- a HUGE element-- of sadness and rejection when it comes to divorce. I wanted out of my marriage but hell, I'd still call it a rejection. I'd still call it (the marriage, not me) a failure. I'd still say that it made me feel like somehow I had failed - because of course, no one wants their marriage to crumble. You go into it thinking that you're going to be married forever - or at least hopeful of some semblance of longevity. I think Pamela Paul was interviewing people who are going through the mourning process. A surprising mourning process. That it's not all divorce parties and musical shindigs like Jack White is holding with his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Moxie says more:

"Failure is a badge of honor. Failure means you took a chance. Failure means you’re no longer white-knuckling it through life."
And while I did finally come to that, the process is not an overnight one. You do experience shame first, and there's nothing wrong with admitting it. In fact, I think I'm more badass for doing so.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Would I Tolerate An Internet Affair?

For the record, I’d like to say that if my husband had an affair, I’d kill him.
I’m not sure I’d be able to forgive him. I’m not sure I’d be able to have sex with him again. (And this is coming from a woman who enjoys having sex with her husband.) But more, I’m not sure I’d trust him. And since I’ve been through a divorce before, I know that a marriage can do without a lot of things, but it cannot do without trust.
Right from the get go, I told Andy that if he was going to have an affair, please refrain from telling me. That’s right. I said, “Unless you’ve fallen in love with someone else, I don’t want to know.”
“I just want to know one thing,” he said. “Who are all these women that are after me? Who are all these ladies that I’m having affairs with?”
For those of you familiar with my writing about my husband here on this blog know that while I might like him to look like Johnny Depp, he might be closer to looking like a cross between Robin Willams and John Denver. 
Okay, so there’s that.
I have been cheated on—twice. The first experience was at 20. My boyfriend was still in love with his ex-girlfriend and endlessly talked about her through our entire relationship. For a while I thought she was the third wheel, until I learned through multiple witnesses that he had been making out with her all over town and realized, Oh shit, I’m the third wheel. Took a few years to recover from that one.... 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Femamom and Kathleen Hanna

I have come to a full circle about my Golden Age.

I was having a moment the other day. Fantasizing about time travel like Owen Wilson did in Woody Allen's new flick, Midnight in Paris. My little dream world came to a halt when Ali, a commenter, told me that, nah, maybe 1978 was not so great for a 19-year-old in NYC. That I could have gone back a few more years and really got the goods and been surrounded by artists that were at the peak, not past peak. So, I appreciated this comment.

And then I ran into this video of Kathleen Hanna. (See below.) She is the original Riot Grrrrl. The OG of female badasses. More, she's married to my high school crush, The King Adrock. That is my name 'cause I know the fly spot where the got the champagne. Adam Horowitz. Beastie Boy. (Okay, my crush on Adrock, not so original. Because who didn't have a crush on him in 1986?)

But when I saw Kathleen Hanna's explanation of how "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came about (she talks about a drunken night together with Kurt and I don't want to give it away), I immediately went back to 1991. Lollapalooza. The first time I saw Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. When I saw Paw at Rock Candy in Seattle on my cross country trip with my girlfriend (we listened to Paw and the Chili Peppers that whole trip). We even ran into Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament the same night. When I saw Henry Rollins at CBGB's. (I was very into hard core rock at that time.) And I thought. Hey, you know what? My heyday wasn't so fucking bad. 1991 ROCKED.

Maybe I'll take this as good segue to introduce a NEW blog that I'm working on called Femamom, a literary website/magazine about edgy tales from parenthood. Another writer friend and I are working on it together--it's taken me 40 years to FINALLY do some groundbreaking stuff of my own. Maybe now I've finally become a punk rocker? 40 can be ground breaking too. This is what I'm learning. We're looking for lots of fringe voices--so please check us out.

Below is a video of Kathleen Hanna's story about that night with Kurt. Well worth watching the entirety.  Adam H. makes an appearance at the end.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Woody Allen Flick Update and Longing for My Golden Age: NYC 1978

If you're coming here from the lovely Maggie May Ethridge's blog, Flux Capacitor , because she mentioned my Woody Allen dilemma, thank you for joining me. (And thank you Miss Maggie. Wow, love that lady.)

So here's my Woody update. I did in fact go see the movie, Midnight in Paris.

It was wonderful. Especially if you're a literary junkie like I am, then you will fall in love it it. I mean, it's just remarkable. The movie is about nostalgia, and what happens if you visit another time period. Specifically, Owen Wilson (the Woody character) decides that the Golden Age of literature, when Hemingway and Fitzgerald were writing in Paris, was the best time. Like many of Woody's films, the line of reality is blurred -- Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali all make appearances. (Come to think of it, this era is probably when my grandfather met Dali - true story. Shameless self promotion, but I wrote about Dali wanting to paint my grandfather for Anderbo. You can read it here.)

It's original, funny, and it's SHOT IN PARIS. Sorry, there's nothing else I can tell you about my dilemma. I felt it. I wrote about it. And then I said, fuck it, and I enjoyed the movie.

Me, I'd love to go back to New York City, 1978. I was 8 years old at the time, but I wish I had been a rough and tough 19/20 year old hanging out at Max's Kansas City. Checking out Blondie. Seeing the Police. Bangin' my head around to the Ramones and the Talking Heads at CBGB's. Living the life of a poor broke ass artist/writer in NYC.

Crosby Street in 1978. Jesus, look at the street.

Why do I want to live in New York at this time? Why do I see this as the golden age? It makes no sense really. New York City was dirty, corrupt, bankrupt, dangerous place at that time. Rats and garbage in the street. People doing a max exodus to the suburbs. But there's something so raunchy and real. Something about living in a place no one wanted to be. That you were literally living on the edge when you were there. It forms you, that kind of place. It forces you to make decisions. Not like all these options I have now living in the suburbs.

I have fantasies of me and a boyfriend shacking up in an old loft in Soho. Maybe traveling uptown to see a Yankee's game for 10 bucks or whatever it cost then (even at the cost of getting a tomato thrown at your head, because that's really what Yankee's fans used to do if the boys played the game poorly. Fans threw fucking tomatoes.) Maybe taking a graffiti-riddled subway uptown to search for John and Yoko and instead seeing these people (in the photo above). This doesn't go on today in Central Park! Now the park is filled with nannies and crying kids!

What's funny is that I lived in Manhattan in 1989. My mother left our town in New Jersey right after I graduated high school and we booked our asses to the Upper West Side. Shakespeare & Co., the bookstore was there, just before Barnes & Nobles pushed it out. (Read Thomas Beller's essay on that here.) New York City was still in great transition. The Upper West Side had only "become" the Upper West Side about five years prior. It was Spanish Harlem until 1984! In fact, we didn't call the Lower East Side the Lower East Side. No, that was Alphabet City. As in You In Danger, Girl. They didn't take I.D.s' down there. Crack dealers on the street, for real. I remember wearing a college sweatshirt one night at a bar on Avenue B and my girlfriend saying, I wish you hadn't worn that sweatshirt. 

Guiliani had just become mayor and was beginning to do his clean up of the city, and for better or for worse, but probably for the better, he certainly cleaned it up. I was so unhappy living there at 20/21 that I left pretty soon after graduating college and moved to San Francicso.

Would it have really been so romantic for me to live in NYC in 1978? Maybe not.  But wow, it sure feels nice to dream about another time. Doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicken Coops, Susan Orlean, And My Chicken Envy

Susan Orlean loves chickens. (I love chickens too and wrote this new article about chicken coops, dog houses, and kitty lairs for Organic Authority. Check it out.)

Back to Susan Orlean. Can we also take a look at her patio? The bluestone terrace. Hello view.

Can we also talk about how she seems to know all of her chicken's names. Mary, who is so loud. I'm cracking up.

I follow Ms. Orlean on twitter and her obsession with her birds really does make me smile. She's like a little chicken lady. With her intricate stories. Her attention to details. Her chicks in a box.

I wonder how Elke would react if we had chickens. Scrambling around squealing about eggs. It's why I chose a specific nursery school for her next year. There will be a LIVE CHICKEN in her classroom. And while I find this adorable, who will clean up the chicken's poop? Will we ever stop talking about eggs? Maybe I'd write a story about a woman who collected eggs. She had so many eggs that she was afraid a few would break. Don't you feel that way on a day to day basis about parenting? I feel that way. That the eggs will all break sometimes. Or that I will be the one breaking them.

This morning I woke up and said to Andy, "I hate the hot weather." (It's 100 degrees here today in NJ.) Can we move somewhere cold? Somewhere with a farm and chickens? Somewhere like this--we escaped to the North Fork of Long Island in late March and ended up at this farm/vineyard called Old Field. Merlot, amazing. The North Fork is on the Long Island Sound and is known for its vineyards. We stayed at a bed and breakfast for two nights. Freezing but glorious.

Chickens to the left of me.

Water to the right. (Can you see the Sound at the end of the dirt road?) It's there.

Here I am stuck in the middle with you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Woody Allen Dilemma

(Read my update here. But first read this post.)

I've been a Woody Allen fan for years. I quote Hannah and Her Sisters. Hell, when I was in my indie movie making days, I plagiarized the scene where Michael Caine follows Barbara Hershey around a New York City block. I bought the screenplays. There's the classic Woody favorites like Annie Hall. But I've gone beyond the oldies. I love Husbands and Wives. Manhattan Murder Mystery. I've seen Crimes and Misdemeanors over 20 times.

(Alan Alda as the callous egomaniac, Lester, trying to explain the definition of "funny" in Crimes and Misdemeanors.)

But Woody's affair and marriage to his daughter/not daughter Soon-Yi Previn left me feeling jilted. I knew this man was crazy--look at his work. But to be so morally compromised is a different story.

So after reading Laura Miller's essay today in Salon "When Bad People Write Great Books" I wondered how I'd approach Woody's new movie, "Midnight in Paris." How can I not see this movie people? Isn't there a point where you say about an artist that you respect and love--as an ARTIST--I love your work, but you're a vile, despicable, twisted human being?

Miller writes:
Learning the truth is disillusioning at first, but enlightening in the end. Part of the sadly underrated process of growing up is realizing that people, the world and life are no less beautiful and amazing for being imperfect.
Isn't this the truth though? Somewhere, I can draw the line between Woody and Roman Polanski. Raping and drugging an underaged girl ain't ever going to fly with me. Like, ever. Right? But with Woody and Soon-Yi, they've been married for some time. Have two children. Is it possible that he could have looked towards another person besides his own family for love,  yes. Is it possible that they were actually supposed to be connected? As in fate? I don't know. Even my own reasoning sounds like a load of crap.

And then I think back to what Miller wrote. Artists aren't perfect. And though Woody Allen might be void of any moral code, his work inspires me.

Call me a wuss, and please forgive me Mia Farrow, but I'm going to see Midnight in Paris.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Embracing the Jersey Shore

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I left for years. Went to San Francisco. Boston. Israel. Manhattan. And though I fought a lot of my Jersey roots as a kid--all the hair, the language, the guidos, the accents--I somehow returned only 10 miles from my childhood home and more, I spend summers in a place that I poked fun of as a teen, the Jersey Shore.

It's a fascinating experience living as an adult in the places that you grew up. Your perspective is entirely different. As a kid, I rejected the Jersey Shore. My friends had to drag me to the boardwalk. But then, one summer, my mother rented a house. Large front porch. Rickety floors. About five blocks from a quiet beach. And that was my first taste of how the Jersey Shore can be different than... The Jersey Shore. No Paulies. No Snookies. (Not that there's anything wrong with those folks--seriously, I love Jwoww.) But when a stereotype is broken, it can open your eyes to possibilities. 

Long Beach Island has now become my happy place. I've surfed there. I've roamed the beaches. I've sat on the docks eating fish tacos. I read a book near the sand dunes. This area of Long Beach Island is quiet. There's a few lobster shacks. An ice cream parlor. Lighthouse. Kids riding around on bikes barefoot. Do I have to wait until August to go? Here's a new article on Healthy Livin' at the Jersey Shore I wrote for Organic Authority. I was very proud of my "livin'" -- a little ode to Jon Bon Jovi. I think I also got a dusty beach road lyric in there as well. Believe it or not, there's more to the Shore than just fried pickles. People are selling TOFU MEATBALL WRAPS people! They're making their OWN GRANOLA. LOCALLY CAUGHT FISH TACOS.

It's a beautiful thing.
(Above are pictures from our trip last summer to LBI.)
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