Dinner Party

Lately my life has been exhausting and amazing and sad and complicated and huge and thrilling and making me cry for a lot of reasons I am not going to talk to you about, but sometimes everything is different all of a sudden and then it is really different, and there you are, in the middle of all that difference, wondering what happened to your old life and missing it and not missing it. Last night I went to a dinner party and everyone at the dinner party was a real artist, like the kind of artist who is working on an installation in a park, but a legitimate installation and not the kind of installation people I know would install, which would be "drive up in the middle of the night and leave a bunch of shit there." Or the kind of artist who made a movie about a genocide and the movie was so good that people still call her now from that country whenever something bad happens. Or the kind of artist who is a Fellow of something. Or the kind of artist who owns property. You know what I mean? The nicest people ever but "I have a blog" doesn't really hold up. Like always I was shy and my clothes were weird and on my way to the train a homeless man laughed at me and yelled "Vampire be happy!" and I thought that would make a good T shirt. No comma after the vampire. "What is your story," said the filmmaker to me, and I had no idea. What is my story? I don't know. Which part? I don't like telling it unless I'm trying to charm you and then I just tell the one about running away with the circus. Everyone loves that story.

Nobody likes talking about their work but everyone always asks you about your work at dinner parties of artists because that's the only thing artists can think of to talk about, but my work is I don't even know what. I am mildly famous on the internet which is hard work to take seriously even though I like all of the things I write for the internet, and I write about teenagers and myself, which sounds dumb when you are talking to someone who made an award-winning film about genocide, "My work is talking about myself," right, that's a dumb thing to say. My work is collecting plastic pants and band shirts I am too old to wear. My work is not letting myself look at the internet too much. At the dinner party I got drunk, but quietly, and I ate three helpings of lemon tart and part of a cookie and this was after I ate all the olives that I brought and also three bowls of pasta or maybe four bowls of pasta, and I took extra sausages out of the pasta dish when no one was paying attention and ate those too. Sometimes at dinner parties I think, You have a little bit of money and I don't have any money so I am going to eat all the food. It was a cold night and I didn't have a warm enough coat, because I gave away all my coats, because I have developed this inexplicable aesthetic objection to coats. You see? I'm talking about myself.

Or people will ask me about my work and I will find a way to talk about someone else's book instead, or I will ask them where they grew up, or I will fall over and die, anything anything anything to not talk about it. What is the point of talking about it. You make it or you don't and it's good or it isn't and if it isn't, well, that's embarrassing. Like when you meet someone and you like them and then you listen to their band and you think, Oh my god, and there is a part of you that can't like them ever again no matter how hard you try. In real life I don't like talking about myself at all, which I guess is sort of funny. I like talking about books and things to eat and I like talking about kinds of whiskey and I like talking about music a little bit, but not with people who are the kinds of people who know all the track names in order and what year the original drummer quit.

Books I don't like and why I don't like them is one of my favorite things to talk about, which has gotten me into trouble on the internet before--jesus, internet, so sensitive, fucking loosen up a little. In real life you just get into fights with people about books and it is the greatest thing ever and you can tell that way if you like them, how they fight about the book and what books they will go to bat for, and how they react when you say "I don't read books by men anymore really." Just so you know, if you ever meet me in real life, this is a test. I mean, it's true, but it's also a test. And if you get it I will probably like you. And if you do that thing where you throw up your hands and pretend to shake me when I hate a book you love I will probably like you, too, and then when we find a book we both love together it will be an extra kind of triumph, and we will go into the night like friends. Bonus points for you if you read weirdos and queers but we can meet halfway at The Master and Margarita also, see, that's a book a boy wrote. I'm not narrow-minded, although I am definitely a bitch.

At the dinner party we didn't talk about books, I tried not to talk at all. People talked about AA meetings they had gone to--with friends, not for themselves, we all drank a lot at that dinner party. I forget what else we talked about. Places you live in New York. Real estate, this is a thing everyone talks about here, it's sort of charming. Where is your apartment and how big is it and how much is your rent and how awful is your landlady, oh my god, she goes through your trash, are you serious. I looked at all the books on the shelves, which is another thing I do. This year, like every year, I resolved to be less hateful, and this year, like every year, I am failing. My friend Mary read my chart and told me that this year will be a banner year, a year full of successes, and I thought What if this year is the year I am not poor anymore, what then. I have spent so long despising people with money; what happens in the unlikely event I turn into one? And then I thought of a friend I haven't talked to in years, who used to say that the thing he did whenever he had any money was to get it away from himself as soon as possible, which still seems like the best strategy to me. When I make it, I'm buying.

When I was at my fancy artist residency I started working on a goth mix for someone who had never heard of Bauhaus and I listened to it one night, alone in my studio, to see if it was any good, and it was so good I had to turn it up all the way and get out of my chair and start dancing. You know that LCD Soundsystem song. Dance with me until everything's all right. Never change never change never change never change. Curtains open, whatever, it's the woods. Dancing for the deer and the stars and the beech trees, arms flailing. Love is a murderer but if she calls you tonight everything is all right. I can change I can change I can change if it helps you fall in love. That feeling I get sometimes, that feeling that this is my life, my real life, my life I made. Dancing until I was sweaty and breathless and full of light, my own light, a light that was for me and me alone. That's the work, the best work, the only kind.