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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
2. Unbought and Unbossed, Shirley Chisholm’s autobiography.
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.
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.
That’s about it, lip kits.
Yours in light and in guessing, and definitely for keeps,