Tag Archives: playlists

for keep’s sake

Hey, fastballers. What’s your world looking like? My current zone: I’m lamping with my two foster tyke-kittens, both named Lorenzo ’cause they’re identical. Who has the time to suss out who is whom?


Another Renzo-based impossibility, aside from identifying them: getting two of them to pose illustratively in one photo.


What I can identify: One’s frenetic and loyal, and one’s very soft and looks at you with regal evenness no matter what you’re up to. If you want a perfect Renzo or two and are proximal to NYC: Hit me on my private car phone, or send a note to rushandpush@gmail.com.

Today, I’m working on pieces about (a) opioid regulation and addiction treatment, (b) the often-masculine conflation of violence and virtue, plus a proposal for my next book, which is about how disparate economic classes become experiential mysteries to one another. Who says this ol’ party-bod doesn’t know how to rage her hair right on down? “Keep it light,” I always say. Given this general attitude of mine, I bet you are downright shocked that the above portrait of my bedroom is unequipped with one of those “Don’t worry, be happy” fish plaques. “Keep it light…and keep ’em guessing,” quoth this international woman of ebullient mysteré.

Oh! Today, I realized that keep is the warmest word. It came to light that, unaware, I’ve been calling Jesse “Keep” as a pet name for some time. This seems to supersede even “you’re my favorite animal” as a heart-based encomium. Keep’s become someone and what I hope to do with them—a direct object and active verb, all at once.

Borf! ENOUGHA THAT HEART-SLOP. Here’s a Must List/How It’s Going hybrid for you. I once cross-bred irises—starting out with these Blue Oceans from 1939 and introducing stamens from other iris varieties, etc. to them—so I know what I’m doing, what with this mixing of strains.

(How to invent an iris of your own: “It’s important to “emasculate” the pollinated mother plant by pulling off its stamens, otherwise it could self-pollinate, resulting in seeds that are not the intended genetic mix.” Maybe the aforementioned masculinity piece (b) that I’m revising will benefit from this gendered-ass floral acumen, too.)

OK. Here’s what I really like—what I’m so glad of—plus what I’m getting up to.

1. I’m personally delivering Action, my recently published nonfiction TOME, to you on my first book tour, which commences in like two days.


I’ve got felicitous merch in the form of these fucking incredible condoms (!) and I might try to smuggle the Renzos onto the plane(s). The dates:

🌦 7/22, 7 PM, Books, Inc., Berkeley, CA
🍜 7/23, 4 PM, Book Soup, Los Angeles, CA, w/ Crissy Milazzo and Natasha Young
🏸 7/26, 7 PM, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL, w/ Diamond Sharp and Ernest Wilkins
🎟 7/29, 7 PM, Head House Books (@headhousebooks), Philadelphia, PA, w/ special guests

And another date in Toronto, on 8/3 at Type Books. Anne T. Donahue will interview me because I’m pretty lucky. I’ll let you know about the time—keep watch. And please come say hi how are you like your name is Daniel Johnston.

hi how.jpg

2. Unbought and Unbossed, Shirley Chisholm’s autobiography.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 3.04.51 PM.png

Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to hold a seat in Congress and the first woman ever to run for the Democratic primary. She is a certified don, and one who also wrote perfect, blunt sentences about how to run campaigns and also a life entire. Here are some exemplars, which coincided with a physically but not psychically debilitating surgery on a “massive tumor.” She discovered it just as her campaign to become Congresswoman really alit, but kept right on at her mission:

Soon after the primary, before the operation, a woman rang my doorbell, and when I answered it she pushed an envelope into my hand. “This is the first, Chisholm,” she said. There was $9.69 in the envelope, and I learned that she had collected it from a group of people on welfare at a bingo party. I sat down and cried. After she left, I told Conrad [her husband], “If I ever had any doubts, I don’t now.” My campaign was financed that way, and out of my own pocket.

Shirley Chisholm knew how to go about the world properly: with love translated into pragmatism. If you need a break from the noxious political palaver bearing down on us at current, this book is pretty restorative/galvanizing.

3. “Joanne the Scammer In: Stole Mink.

I made a playlist based on an imagined score for my favorite grifter’s imagined first feature film. It has Frankie Knuckles, Wyldlife (a scuzzy band from my scuzzy home state of New Jersey), Sean-A-Paul, and Kim Jung Mi (a lucid-voiced, Nico-ish 1970s psych singer out of South Korea—how she sounds on “Haenim” is saudade defined, albeit on a different continent, etymologically). Listen at the link above.

4. This interview with The Rumpus is my favorite that I’ve gotten to do yet.

That’s about it, lip kits.

Yours in light and in guessing, and definitely for keeps,


Leave a comment

Filed under How It's Going, Must List, Uncategorized

thrill patrol

Getting lifted at a recent Sisters of the Dick function. I spy Sarah, Belle, Haley, Hazel, Lai Guy...who else? Photo by Rosie O.

Getting lifted at a recent Sisters of the Dick function at Fort Consolation. I spy Sarah, BabyBelle, Haley, Hazel, Lai Guy, Bree, Kathleen. Photo by Rosie O.

What up, dandelion heads? The sidewalks and already-way-pale awnings of Greenpoint, where I type this to you, are scorched, and everything is pretty untenable i/r/t heat, sweat, y “why didn’t I bring sunglasses”–style regret. But, since I am (a) wearing my favorite linen jumpsuit (this red paisley deal-o that’s very Skank Joan Baez) and (b) undeterred as ever, I’m out in the world, staring loosely at a paper cup of coffee, and feeling mad aestive.

AND QUITE CLITERALLY PECKING AWAY TO YOU ABOUT THE GODDAMN WEATHER! Is this who I am now? I gently ask you to lead me out to pasture, should this meteorological bloviatin’ go unchecked for too much longer. At least maybe it’ll be breezy there!!!! (Seriously, my temple aches for a gun.)

Some stray addenda plucked from my recent-style lifezone:

– I wrote a Rookie essay about Mark Ruffalo/Sappho, crotchvasions, being a cool sex-haver in stylish denim jeans, and wanting to howl foul invectives at a stunning wonder of the natural world, which is to say, I wrote about the mechanics of sexual consent!

– If you would like to read my first Rolling Stone piece, you first have to guess what it’s abou—WHOA, quick draw, the answer is Morrissey, but maybe give the others a chance next time! You don’t always have to be the smartest li’l eukaryote in the room. (Aw, don’t give me that look—you know that’s part of what I like about you. Your arrogance, and your having-of-a-nucleus. Great work.)

– I cannery stop making playlists! This one has an overwrought name and an overwrought tonality, but what else are you supposed to do when your heart is a protean mass of carbonated slime, the Ramones cover of “Needles and Pins,” glacier shards, this poem by Marianne Moore, yawnin’ yearnin’, actual needles and pins, and discarded gum wrappers? I mean all that in a good way. (Kind of.)

To this end: Here are the jams I’ve been kicking out of late. If you’re not into Terry Reid, unfocused shoegaze, Ike & Tina (or just the latter, at the very LEAST, and if not: I ask you press a finger to one of your pulse points immediately—I’m concerned about your status as a living human person), ’80s coke-shimmy optimism, and/or Mary Wells, TURN BACK NOWWWW.


So that’s WHAT IT IS, your girl–wise, this restless aestivus. Consider my amorphous heart hot and pale, like the shredded awning of a second-rate pharmacy. Consider me “your obedient servant, but also, in this age of supermarkets, your friendly neighborhood grocery store.” Consider me yawning, yearning, slimy, and sunnily shredding.

ABOVE ALL ELSE: Consider me Skank Joan Baez.

Photo on 7-7-14 at 4.16 PM #5

I really do feel I’ve earned it. Wouldn’t you agree?

In diamonds and lust,


Leave a comment

Filed under How It's Going

MUST LIST: bulldozers in love edition

Can you find all the ghosts hidden in this picture? Hint: The first one is at bottom right.

Can you find all the ghosts hidden in this picture? Hint: The first one is at bottom right.

GREETINGS, EARTHLINGS! (God, do any of you still have, like, some uncle that says that? You have to have a talk with him about this behavior.)

I’m writing to you  from the heaven of my bed in Greenpoint, having just returned yesterday from the psychic used car lot/dirtbag Valhalla/dream factory that is my ancestral homeland, aka suburban New Jersey. I was there for a great many days, during which time I made a Christmas sojourn with my family to our favorite abandoned insane asylum (I totally pretended to see a poltergeist, see above), fucked up my nascent only-fish-and-cheeseburgers vegetarianism by eating ham almost exclusively during my stay, and tried to divine sorta-correct answers to when my little sister repeatedly asked me, “What’s trending in Miami right now?” I don’t know what’s trending in Miami, Madeline. Actually, you know what, now that I think of it? If you’re asking me, fibbing about the supernatural is really hot this season. That, or maybe neon. Pass the ham.

So! Now that I’m settled back in, I’d like to present this freshly-butchered MUST LIST for your perusal. I GOT SO MUCH I WANT TO LOB YOUR WAY, DARLING EARTHLINGS, so here are all the things that are totally trending in my brain right now:

1. Iron-on letters

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 2.42.02 PM

I bought tons of these deadstock rainbow iron-on letters from the 1970s so that I can gussy up all my gross old denims ‘n’ such with whatever ill-advised slogans my heart desires. Some ideas:

– BRUISER, the nickname I asked my friends to give me as my 18th birthday gift while knowing full well that you can’t ASK for a nickname and not even caring one whit
BILL THE CAT 2014  (Sidenote: Did you know there are two bona-fide recorded tracks credited to Billy and the Boingers? They were included on a record that came with a Bloom County book in 1987. Objectively, they’re not the most polished examples of songwriting or musical ability, but fuck a drooling cartoon feline if I don’t totally love them with all of me. Also, it’s looking like my daily struggle against getting a Bill the Cat tattoo is going to persist into the next calendar year. At this point, the best we can do is hope that I don’t opt for one that includes barf.)

I eagerly welcome further advice on this very pressing press-on matter.

2.  Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation


This is the best foundation in the world, although I understand if, after buying it, you hide the bottle when you have people over lest they think you’re super down with her aesthetic and are tryna become a similarly styled TAT-TOTALLY ROCKIN’ ROCK ‘N’ ROLL BITCH BABE-GUITAR. Personally, I welcome any gritty changes to my image, however hackneyed, that might help corrode the irrepressible wimpitude I unwittingly beam into the world at all times. Please, call me Bruiser.

This BADASS ROCK FACE SLUDGE is truly the most matte, long-wearing, and uniform in its coverage of any I’ve ever worn, so I’m attached to it for good now. In keeping with this new style direction, I guess I have to put off the Bill tattoo and get one of, like, a dumb old winged heart that’s somehow on fire. Or maybe one of those cultural-appropriation koi fish…that’s also somehow on fire. I’m gonna look so rock ‘n’ roll, I can’t even wait.

3. This playlist I made the other night when I was pretending to be a bulldozer pining for its unrequited object of desire (see last post for more context)

I’m still enjoying this mindset, so this one goes out to all the soft-hearted lummoxes who don’t know their own strength except for the strength of their lonesomeness. The Lennies of the world who can’t help but stay petting rabbits far too hard. The King Kongs who lie awake all night dreaming of how to look cool in front of Fay Wray. The heavy-handed true of heart and clumsy of limb. This is my ham-fisted beast-Valentine to you. Hope you like Abba and Gang of Four.

4. This Sheila Heti essay about what constitutes fiction and how that affects a reader (and whether God is dead)

I haven’t read the book that serves as the nominal subject of this essay, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s second volume of the serialized autobiography My Struggle, but I care deeply about the topics Sheila Heti covers in thinking about his work: the inherent impossibility of trying to truthfully commit the past to text, the “false distance” of nostalgia, the romanticism of presenting something as fiction vs. the supposed admirable frankness of framing the same work as nonfiction, and the differing degrees of power over the material that result from the outcome of a writer’s making that decision. Here, see for yourself, then get to reading the rest of this beauty:

Knausgaard has said that while he forgets painful stories told to him in confidence by the people he loves, and plots of novels he’s read, he vividly remembers landscapes and rooms. Writing, for him, involves filling these rooms. But before that could happen in the way it did here, he had to encounter the rooms and landscape of his childhood and past as auraless, ‘small and ugly’. Nostalgia is a false distance, we feel it everywhere, its ‘sameness’. The aura of nostalgia is akin to the aura of ‘the novel’. It brings life close but makes that life unreal. It turns the past into something it was not, the way conventional novels make of life something it is not. When nostalgia dies, our romantic stories about our lives die, our impressions of who our parents were die, and novelistic conventions also die. Also dead is the consensual safety that fiction brings with it, the presumably ethical veil behind which writers protect themselves from their family and friends: it’s not you, that’s not your name, your hair is not red, it’s made up.


Leave a comment

Filed under Must List