Progress Report

For a while you are not okay and then you are more okay and then you are not okay again, or waffling continuously between the states of okay and not okay, this is pretty reasonable, I think, right now. I was okay this weekend until I found out about Shaima Alawadi and you know, that should never happen to anyone, to anyone, but I have friends who look like Shaima Alawadi and I think about those friends and the fact that there is no way for any of us to keep safe the people we love, and some awful things are harder to take than other awful things. I keep thinking my heart can't break any more and I keep being wrong. Yesterday my friend took me out for a drink because I needed one and in the bar, a very normal business-y sort of bar with one of those walls made out of frosted glass that is also a water feature, not the sort of bar I usually end up in but midtown is weird, in the bar there was a news channel with the closed captioning turned on and there was the news person, solemnly informing us all that one time Trayvon Martin's locker smelled like pot, and I started shouting "What the fuck! WHAT THE FUCK!" and all the businessmen turned to look at me and then looked away and like what do you do? Do you not leave your house? Sometimes it is better not to leave your house. Everywhere I went yesterday I kept seeing a poster for a new TV show about people who made some Terrible Mistake and then were murdered gruesomely, probably also with titillating sexual violence; the poster features a wide-eyed, pretty white lady peering around her door with the motto "If I hadn't opened that door I might still be alive today." Great, thanks, just what I needed.

But thank you to the people who sent me very kind emails and twitters and messages this week and last week. And I am sad, I am not going to lie, I am really, really sad most of the time, but there are a lot of great things in my life right now, too, there is a particularly great thing that I will tell you about pretty soon and some other great things that are less interesting maybe to the general public but involve, like, especially delicious dinners or meeting people whose books I have loved for a long time and those people turning out to be even more fantastic than I could have imagined, things like that. And I will keep writing about books I promise and I will try and think of some funny stories for you because sometimes when things are bad you need a funny story--oh, here is one, I was at a reading last week with a friend of mine who is dating a Very Important Writer, and she said "You will never believe this but I had dinner last night at that restaurant across the street with Very Important Writer and Jonathan Franzen," and I said "DID YOU ASK JONATHAN FRANZEN WHY HE HATES WOMEN," which I thought was about the most hilarious joke of all time, but she just looked sort of startled. "Does he really? I thought he was very nice," she said.

So keep hanging in there, okay, and keep fighting and keep being pissed, and keep loving yourself, and keep loving the people around you, and remember it is okay sometimes to not leave your house, and cry all day or drink too much or not drink at all, or do yoga, or not do yoga. Make yourself a good thing to eat and read a book you love, smoke cigarettes or quit smoking, dye your hair funny colors, whatever you need to keep yourself okay. This is advice for myself also. And thank you always for reading and for reminding me I am not alone, we are not alone. And please tell people about Shaima Alawadi, and please remember that the language we use matters and the stories we tell matter. Who tells the story matters. Please remember that. I keep thinking I will have the right thing to say one of these days and I never do, I never have the words to repair the damage that is done, but you and me, we're not going to keep quiet; that is the least we can do and we will keep looking for ways to do more.