The Year of Susan Springs Along

Guess who got motherfucking fan mail from The motherfucking Moth.


That’s right, kiddies. Susanita here just got herself a little old email directly from the Senior Producer of The Moth telling me what a great job I did at their StorySlam back in March.

I loved it and have thought of it quite often since.

Shut the front door. The story was about one night when I had to wake my mom up to take me to the hospital. It was an emergency situation and a pretty intense, kinda hideous time. Erica shot a video of my performance, but I’ve been hesitant to share it with you guys. Not that I wouldn’t tell you anything I would tell to 300 strangers in the West Village, and I’ve actually told you the same story before, I just was a lot more explicit with the details in the live version so … I’m being weird about it. I don’t know. Anyway. Back to this email.

“Very beautiful and honest, and a POV that we don’t often get to hear. I truly appreciate that you shared it.”

Actually, my Moth fan mail came in yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t even process it. I read it on my phone while I was tutoring at The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, and I am pretty sure I went into shock. It wasn’t until I re-read it today that the twitterpating excitement set in. But I’ll be honest, there was a bit of “you know that’s right” in there as well. (Shout out to Dr. E, my current therapist for helping me work out that self-confidence thing.)

The thing is, I’ve known that something like this was coming for a while.

(Seriously, you guys. If you have not signed up for these emails yet, you have not lived. You also have not lived if you’ve never shelled peas, but that’s another story.)

In the month since I received this email from my pal The Universe, things truly are blowing up. I’ve been working super hard on Tell It: Brooklyn (Last month was SRO, bitches!), I’m writing and performing new stories each month, I’m going to other storytelling events, making local writer pals and harassing nice bloggers on the B69 bus.

"Hey, I follow you on Twitter. Have a Tell It: Brooklyn notebook."

And now, I’ve gotten fan mail from The Moth. But here’s the problem.

There’s a typo in the subject line.

It’s not like the capital O is all I can see, but I definitely took note of it the six or seven times I read through the email. The thing for me was, it reminded me of how when I was a kid, Mom would buy my sister’s and my holiday gifts in pairs. One would be pink (my sister’s), one would be blue (mine) and the blue one would always be flawed. Always.

Whether it was a rip in the teddy bear’s seam or a chip in the porcelain doll’s leg, there was always something wrong with the blue one. So much so that it became a running joke on holidays. It even began to spill into my non-blue gifts. Over the years, I got tons of presents that were marred in one way or another, but I loved them just the same. I mean, I was bummed out that I never got a flawless gift, but I still enjoyed them.

You can tell he's a solo present cause there's no blue.

What his good ear looks like.

What his right ear looks like.

What his left ear looks like.

What his left ear looks like.

It wasn’t until years later that I thought Mom’s mean ass might have been doing it on purpose. Seriously, what are the odds of years’ worth of blue gifts being damaged AND my other presents too? Come on …

Anyway, the point of all this is that in my excitement about The Moth’s email, I kept getting distracted by the stupid, insignificant typo. When it made me think about mom’s flawed presents, I began to understand that in a way, this fan mail is another one of them.

I thought about all of my stories and realized that my best, most moving, most powerful ones are about my relationship with Mom – my broken, flawed, could-have-been-but-didn’t-quite-make-it, relationship with the person I loved more than anyone else on the planet. In fact, the story I told at The Moth is about one of the toughest experiences she and I ever shared together.

The truth is, if I hadn’t had my broken, flawed, could-have-been-but-didn’t-quite-make-it, relationship with Mom, I would never have been on stage at The Moth in the first place. So, that’s why I’ve decided to embrace the capital O and think of it as a little wink from Mom who I know is a lot more supportive of me from wherever she is now, than she was ever able to be when she was here.

So, I’m dedicating this Moth performance to Mom – who had a pretty hideous experience that night too.

Here’s the video.

Why I Love Brooklyn: Getting Personal

Live Storytelling

Location: Prospect Heights

Tell It: Brooklyn is the live storytelling series where I first began my live performance career way back in November. (Remember?)

Tell It’s held the third Wednesday of every month at this groovy little steampunk bar out in Prospect Heights called The Way Station. Originally co-hosted by the amazing Victoria Scroggins and Chloe Sehr, the co-host line up now includes ME!

We’ve now completed six entire months of Tell It: Brooklyn nights and are really ramping up for the next six. The bar’s great and super supportive, the audience and participants are unbelievable and we’re all having so much fun. I can’t believe that just 7 months ago I thought, “Okay, it’s time to take things to the next level,” and since then I’ve already done my first storytelling performance ever, signed up and performed at The Moth and now I’m officially a co-host of a Brooklyn storytelling series phenomenon.

And now, I would like to present the Internet-wide debut of me, performing my own story live at the last Tell It: Brooklyn. (Thanks to Erica for filming!)

Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to embed it. You’ll just have to click the link: Tell It: Brooklyn, April 2012

Why I Love Brooklyn

Live Entertainment for the Hole Family

Location: Cha Cha’s, Coney Island

Erica and I were hanging out with some friends at Cha Cha’s and this drunk dude totally photo jumped* me mere moments after a woman in bloody short-shorts threw a huge garbage barrel at some other drunk dude who was harassing her.

Coney Island: LITERALLY the greatest show on Earth.

*Photo Jumping: To make a last ditch effort to jump into a photo, intentionally to wreck and/or mess it up,” as per

You Can’t Spell Lame …

without LA.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone from Los Angeles is lame, but I can tell you that only five weeks after a friend of mine moved to Brooklyn from there, I somehow ended up on a cleanse. Coincidence? I don’t fucking think so. Especially since it all started one night at her new apartment when we were drinking wine with another friend (from Ohio, but who lived in Colorado for a while — another one of those hippie states).

Oh yeah, that not drinking thing? Yeah. It didn’t work out. These days, we’re going for moderation and so far, so good. But back to this cleanse thing.

I was over at CC’s house with A – the same girl who loaned us that busted up Honda with the bad clutch, btw – and we were having some wine and chatting. Well, next thing I know, I have agreed to a 5-day vegan cleanse and a pre-cleanse group shopping trip to Whole Foods in Manhattan … on a Saturday.

In fact, I believe I may have been the slightly intoxicated mastermind behind the group shopping trip. Though I did not and would not under any circumstances, suggest going into Manhattan on a Saturday, much less to Whole Foods in Union Square.

CC: It has to be organic.

Me: We have organic in Brooklyn.

CC: I don’t trust them.

As frequent readers know from my constant whining, I bartend Friday nights until 4AM Saturday every weekend. And since I still do my day job of writing/scheduling for clients during the days on Friday, that’s a 19-hour day, 9 of which are spent on my feet. So, by the time pre-cleanse Saturday afternoon rolls around and I’m getting texts from A and CC about making a whole day of it by including pedicures, manicures, brunch AND shopping at Whole Foods, I have no problem telling them I’m out.

Me: Well, you kind of lost me when you created an entire extravapalooza day of it with brunch and nails.

CC: An extravapalooza of relaxing things. Sorry for trying to make you relax.

I think the problem is that little miss LA forgets that in order for us to relax in all those places, we’d have to walk or take a train to all of them. I was in for the one shopping trip, but I had zero interest in traipsing all over lower Manhattan. So, I send them off to Manhattan, promising to do all the chopping and cleaning in phase two of pre-cleanse set up, and tuck into the sofa and my remote control.

Later we convene at CC’s and make big batches of organic sweet potato puree and hummus in preparation for our cleanse. We divide the food into three bags and because we’re exhausted – me from bartending and them from the monster that is Whole Foods in Union Square on a Saturday – we all call it a night.

The next night, I start my cleanse.

That’s right, Smooth Move tea, a blatant rip off of some very good childhood smack talk, but not a bad tasting tea I imagine, if you could put some sugar in it. Of course on the LAme cleanse, sugar in any refined form is verboten, as are most other delicious treats. You know, rather than give you the run down of all the things I couldn’t eat (everything I would usually want to eat), let me tell you what I did have.

Since Sunday, March 11 at midnight, I have only had:

  • Smooth Move tea
  • Kombucha
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Pureed sweet potatoes with cinnamon
  • Yellow bell peppers
  • CC-made Hummus
  • Baked sweet potatoes, sprinkled with cinnamon
  • Self-made guacamole (with 1/2 a can of chickpeas thrown in so I’d have something to chew on. I don’t recommend it.)
  • Dried figs
  • Raw Almonds
  • A sip of almond milk
  • Grapefruit
  • Ginger tea
  • Tulsi tea
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • And a half a cucumber.
This was my lunch on Tuesday:

And you know what? It’s not so bad. As long as I stay full, I don’t really have any cravings, but I do admit that now that I’m on the last day, I’m getting a little detox senioritis.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There was a solid 24-hour period back around Tuesday that suh-uh-ucked. Uh.

Before that point in my life, I had never gone without refined sugar and caffeine for more than a day since I was eating out of a bottle. Seriously. And when that caffeine withdrawal kicked in, I was miserable. My head pounded for almost 8 hours straight, even after I broke the no-Advil rule.

In addition to the migraine-level pain in my head, the Smooth Move had really started to take effect that same day. To get totally way too graphic (but if you’re considering a cleanse, this is the kind of stuff you should be warned about) I pooped almost every time I peed that day (which was a lot thanks to the tea and the water and the kombucha) and each time it looked exactly like the pureed sweet potatoes. It’s surprisingly not as messy as you might think (you know what I mean), but it is disarming.

Other than all that, it’s been a breeze.

I know. I don’t know who I am anymore either; the LAme is getting to me. But don’t worry, I’ll be back safe and sound with my large double shot latte, and my ham and cheese croissant first thing tomorrow afternoon.

Further proof that it’s an LA thang:

Why I Love Brooklyn

Free to a good family.

Location: South Slope

The note reads: I work, please take me home

Guy in Van: Yo! Funny, right? I just put it there.

Me: I love it – I’m gonna put it on my blog.

GiV: What about me? I wanna be famous. (Stop van. Smile big for photo.)

Me: (Taking the picture.) I’ll do my best.

So, you guys go out and spread the word, okay?