The Protect Our Children Act

The most horrific episode of Oprah ever aired last week. Internet predators have organized and developed handbooks and guidelines for molesting children. And by children, I mean infants. Seriously. Infants.

They have come up with, and are publishing, ideas like new uses for pacifiers. These are horrible, evil people and there is actually something we can do about it.

The police have the technology to find and track these guys, but they don’t have the financial resources. Congress is voting on the Protect our Children bill this week. This bill will: Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation, mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding, and allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators. Take the time, go to Oprah.com, write your senators. You can even just cut and paste her letter. It takes no time and it has the potential to help so many people.

Thanks.

Oprah Does It Again

So. I’m in my pit of despair today. Just feeling really shitty and worried and morose and wallowing in it. If I had been at home alone, I swear I would have put on an old Cure album and cried into my pillow. I am completely at a loss with what to do with the current family situation. Again. I swear. If she weren’t my mom, I’d be like, “This chick is nothing but drama, and I don’t need it.” And I’d be out. But she’s my mom. And there are different rules for moms. Frustrating.

A friend of mine, DP, from Fitzgerald was in town recently and she has known my mom for years. I was going through the saga and she said, “You know. I always felt that there was just something not right with her.” I’ve had another old friend tell me the same thing. Honestly, it makes me feel better — like I’m not crazy. When DP told me what she thought, I started squealing. “Right? Right? It’s not just me!”

Now my sister and I are getting a lot closer and of course I am addicted to my niece so I can never get fully away. Though, it just occurred to me that maybe this is what Mom and Amy need. I’ve always been in the middle of their bullshit one way or another. Either Mom was telling Amy to be more like me, which made Amy hate me. Or, Mom was telling me what a piece of shit Amy was, making me hate Amy. And I am pretty sure that Mom’s conversations with Amy were very similar to the ones she had with me. So, Amy has really never had much of a leg to stand on. It’s like Mom’s been gaslighting her into believing she’s incapable of any amount of success or happiness for that matter and Amy has just been beaten into submission. The family was really just the three of us, so it was kind of two to one. Not that I wasn’t being duped as well.

Now that I’m out of the picture, they have to deal with each other. Mom is very aware of my stance on all issues at hand, and therefore unless she meets my conditions (a recovery program) she and I have nothing more to say to each other. I still speak with Amy frequently, and do my best to support her. It’s nice being on her side. She’s nothing like what Mom said.

Sorry. I tend to go on tangents. And that one seemed like a good one — a breakthrough for me in a way. Thanks for sharing the moment.

Back to Oprah. This is what I wanted to tell you about and it does relate in a way. So, I’m watching Oprah and it’s a rerun of the Cris Karr interview — the woman who did the Crazy, Sexy, Cancer documentary. Cris is talking about how she’s learned to live in the moment and she says, “Isn’t worrying praying for what you don’t want?”

And a lightbulb went off. Bells started to ring. Whatever cheesy metaphor you choose … the point is, I had a breakthrough. Worrying is praying for what you don’t want. I swear it’s so brilliant, I’m going to put it on a T-shirt.

Justice in a Can


I have another book for McSweeney’s/The Believer. It was in the hallway when I came in today and I didn’t even hesitate. I got my mail out of the box and scooped the package right up with it.

This one is from Amazon. I feel a little more at ease about opening this one because it’s from a corporation who is probably mistreating their employees and eating fresh monkey brain on their fifth trip around the world because they saw that gross guy on TV do it. Right? Fuck Amazon.

Yet. It is mail fraud. So, I’m not going to do it. However, I do want to draw on it again. And I intend to include the blog address. But, I need a new design for the blog first. Something custom and snazzy. And still kind of literarily dorky — you know. You have to consider your audience.

The audience I’m trying to attract is the same audience who enjoys buying (or selling) cans of Justice (No Pulp) after saying the Superhero Oath to a person in a booth eight feet above their heads. (“I [state your name] also known as [state your superhero name] …”)

So, I want the design to be cool and fun, but at the same time I want it to say, “This shit is brilliant. You should totally read it.” (And you should totally talk about it on your show.)

I’ve got to get this done quickly because my new mission in life is these envelopes. I plan to snatch, decorate, and forward every single one I see come in the building. I will write my blog name on them so many times that the McSweeney’s staff will have to check it out — if only to ask me to stop defacing their mail.

Needed: Lenient Expense Account

Ok. I’m figuring out how this thing is going to work for me. Erica found an article in the Times today on blogs that are being turned into books. For serious money. From serious publishers.

This is what I want. And not because I want a book deal. Because I want to be able to get Random House to pay for my Past Life Regression session with Shala Mattingly.A session with Shala is $300. But. If I could convince Random House (or McSweeney’s. I don’t care) that it was necessary for my research and that it should be covered under my expenses … how cool would that be?

Me: You know Dave. I’m really inspired to write right after a day at the Four Seasons Spa.
Dave Eggers: Susan. You are fantastic. I want you to write a lot. So, go to the spa for a week and put it on the card!
Me: Yippee!

And I will write. And I will seek therapy near and far. I don’t care how many therapeutic ranches I have to be pamperd in to get my stories out, I’ll do it. If it takes a million foot reflexology sessions to recall even five sentences of a story, I don’t care. A hundred visits with wacky mediums and seers on Oxford Press’ dime — Bring it.

Shameful Truths

So, I’m reading Elizabeth Wurtzel’s book, More, Now, Again. I picked it up off someone’s stoop around the corner from my apartment. I was walking Chulo and Eliot, the Miniature Pinscher who shit all over our new rug this past weekend, and I saw this pile of books. Then I realized that it was the trash of someone with whom I could be very good friends.

I walked away with five books that day. Three of them were memoirs about drug addicts. The other two wore the Oprah sticker of approval. I almost grabbed one more because it was this mangled and obviously dog-chewed copy of Don’t Shoot The Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training and I thought it was funny.

I also think this is funny:

Anyway. I love this book. It’s got super tiny print and it’s making me crazy because it’s the size of a book that I can usually get through in a day or so and this one is taking way too long. But not because I don’t love it, I do. I really, really love stories about addicts and stories about addicts recovering … or not, and stories of the outrageous things addicts do for their Drug of Choice. (It’s an industry term.) And, as I was sitting here reading I realized that I have group therapy envy.

There’s a passage about one of Elizabeth’s first days in rehab where she’s in group therapy and she describes the “feeling wheel”. In group, you discuss your issues, but you can only use six feeling words: peaceful, mad, sad, scared, joyful, powerful. I love the idea of that. I love the structure of it and the idea that I could identify my basic emotions — which I rarely do. Though I love sharing the gory details.

When I was younger I never talked to anyone about my problems. I’d cry to my friends about teenage dramas with boys I loved and who didn’t love me back, but I never talked about not having a father or having a mother who slept most of the time. When I got pregnant at 19 and didn’t know anything about the father of my fetus other than he was a sailor named Chico, I didn’t tell anyone. But that all changed when I left home. No. When I left Georgia.

I started telling my stories to almost anyone who would listen. But, they couldn’t be people who were too close to me. And their behavior had to be what I considered worse than me. Or at least as bad. I could be really honest about my drinking, say, with someone who I believed to drink as much as, if not more than, me. But, with people who were casual drinkers or who never found themselves throwing up for the entire day after a night out (or two if it was from tequila), I’d play it down, or not discuss it at all. Basically, I edited my stories based on how I believed that my listener would react.

It didn’t start all at once. I let things slip little by little — testing my friends to see if they still liked me after they knew shameful truths about me. Once I did it a few times, and they did still like me, I couldn’t shut up. I had packed in years and years of stories that I had covered up because I thought if anyone knew what a horror I was, they’d desert me. After that worked out, it was as if I forced more and more terrible stories onto my friends as if I were daring them. Or as if I were pushing them to abandon me — I’m not sure.

In group therapy I could tell my stories without any ulterior motives. I’d be surrounded by people just like me — at least as far as our common issue goes — and I could simply work it out. Erica’s mom stayed with us this past weekend and we got into a conversation about group therapy after she overheard me suggesting to my friend D that he get a copy of, Co-dependent No More. Turns out she knows a great program in Pennsylvania that works wonders for the co-dependent lunatics. (I know that’s redundant but I couldn’t think of another way to put it besides calling them “co-dependents” and that sounded stupid. Okay. Who am I kidding? I meant, “besides calling US “co-dependents.”)

I think I’m going. It’s a week-long program full of emotional breakdowns and stories from other people who just might have more issues than I do. Who could ask for more? It’s weird, but I get so excited thinking about possibly working through some of my shit. I mean, I’ve worked through a lot. Seriously. A. Lot. (You should have seen the list I had to get through …) But there’s so much more. And the thing is, now that I have worked through some things and I know how much better I feel about those issues, I just want to get on with it. Let’s solve more problems! And if it takes two grand and a week off of work with a bunch of mopey co-dependents and living with a (eek!) roommate, then by Smoking Baby let’s do it.

Pretend I’m in Mexico.


Hi people. I fell down again. Honest to Smoking Baby, I fell down. Again.

This is my knee:I was walking home from my Al-Anon meeting and I stepped on one of those plastic folder things you put in a Trapper Keeper. It was just like the skating incident but slalom. A nice boy poked his head out of the bodega door to ask, “Lady. Are you okay?” (Fucker. It was like when I went back to Italy and the waiter called me Signora instead of Signorina.) The three kids behind me giggled for about three blocks. Not the point of the story. Just thought you’d like to know.

So. I get home tonight (with my broken head, ass and knee, in order of altitude) and I’m in a pensive mood. A and V left today after a four day visit. We spent almost the entire time not speaking about Mom, except for E’s occasional slip up about something crazy Mom did or how we had a wacko family or something. Something about V makes you forget that she’s a kid. She’s acts as if she’s much more mature emotionally than she is and you start to talk around her as if she’s an adult. Then there are times when you’re talking to her about how crazy things have been lately and she’ll break your heart with, “Oh, I’m so used to it by now. I’ve seen it all.”

Sorry. Is that too sullen a thought? I had a friend tell me recently that my blog was too heavy for him. (But without the hip verbiage.) I can’t help it. And I don’t think of my stories as sullen or morose. It’s just what’s going on.

Anyway, I came home tonight after my meeting and I asked E for a night alone. I assured her that it was only because I just needed to process some stuff on my own and I took off. (It’s my first time ever asking for some space in the five years we’ve been together. I am learning so much!)

“Pretend I’m in Mexico. I’ll see you later.”
“Okay! I’ll watch the L Word.”

I do have to admit, I was disappointed in her lack of disapointment.

Anyway. I grabbed a bottle of wine, my laptop and I headed for the loft. I’m at the end of this seven-engine train of family shit and I’m tired. I have gotten through the intervention and the sister visit. I just left an eye opening Al-Anon meeting and I wanna just be alone. With all of you.

You know. I’m writing down all of this stuff you’re reading, and I recognize that when I post here, I’m not making a journal entry. I truly know that I’m writing for an audience (of millions), but there’s still this sense of anonymity that comes from the fact that instead of speaking, I am typing. And it is more anonymous than physically writing because you hit save or send and it’s over. There’s nothing tangible left over to prove it ever happened. And there’s something about that that allows me to write freely about things I would usually never broadcast. Especially considering the fact that there are already members of my family reading on a regular basis, and as soon as that Oprah deal comes through (Oprah, can you hear me? Oprah, can you feel me in the night?), Mom will find out (if not earlier) and there’s a part of me that is terrified of that. But there’s also a part of me that feels that, as Dr. Drew said on Celebrity Rehab, “You are only as sick as your secrets.” And, my people, I am tired of being sick. When I was in Georgia for the latest drama, I opened to my Mom up about things I’ve never confronted her on … and in front of her brother.
It rocked.

Mom later told me, “I remember what you said in the hospital. I can’t believe you would talk to me like that. And in front of B. I am so embarassed.” I, enlightened Princess that I am, replied, “I am sorry that I hurt your feelings, but that doesn’t mean what I said wasn’t true.”

Right on, Princess.

People, I am taking care of myself these days. And, to be honest, it’s a fucking chore. Not only do I have a lot of family baggage to deal with, I am unpracticed at self-love … however. Watch out! I’m on a crash-course and it’s only a matter of time before I’m writing (and performing) cheers for myself.

So, thanks for reading. And, to those friends of mine who are only finding out what’s happening to me through the blog although you’ve called and written, I’m sorry. I’m a little overwhelmed right now but am working it out. I’ll holla at ya when I’ll be more fun to talk to. (Or when I get the cheers ready … Guh-oooohhh PRINCESS!)

I’m a Stalker.

The following blog post was originally posted on www.HRHandthePrincess.blogspot.com.
Written by The Princess

Know what sucks about living in a building filled with professional writers?

Leaving notes in the hallway. I just caught myself in the doorway thinking — out loud, no less — i before e except after c. Then I couldn’t decide whether it was inconvenience or inconvienience. I knew it was the former but I kept saying, in-con-veei-nence. in-con-vee-nence. I finally convinced myself they weren’t going to care — or notice most likely. But then I thought, “I would totally notice and I would totally care.” (Though I apparently would have to check my assessment in a dictionary.)

You’ll be relieved (i before e) to know I got inconvenience right. Thank god.

So, have I told you about my building? I have real, honest to god, published, book on the Barnes & Noble table writers living in my building. One more step closer to Oprah. (Oprah can you hear me? Oprah can you see me? Oprah can you find me in the night?)

How do I know this you ask? Obviously, I am stalking my neighbors. Rather, I am stalking my neighbor’s mail. My building is one of those with two front doors with the mail box in the little room between them. If someone gets packages that don’t fit in the box, they’re left on the floor in the doorway.

99% of the time, the package is for Tom. Tom is a book reviewer. I know this because I always check. (I always hope it’s a surprise for me. It rarely is.)

I covet Tom’s mail. Tom gets piles and piles and piles of books delivered to the hallway. And I come in and I see them and I tell you, it is hard not to steal Tom’s mail. I’ve been in his apartment and I have seen his book collection. Tom has good books.

So, as I’m checking to see which publisher has sent Tom another book, I recognize a different name. Mainly because it is written above the name of my all-time favorite literary magazine. Someone in my building is getting mail at our address for my favorite literary magazine.

Her Name
Magazine’s Name
Our Street Address
Her Apartment Number

If you’ve ever read HRH’s and my profile, you will have noted that HRH and I strive to be friends with Sarah Vowell in order to get closer to our favorite writers (she is the key to all of them) and become friends with them — Nick Hornby being one of the top 5. The woman who lives in my building is, by way of editing the literary magazine that he writes a column for, Nick Hornby’s boss.