01.06.24 [on the J train]

if eater posts an item about a delicately-braised writer turning up on a platform in queens later today, that's me; i took the clinic-escort volunteer leaders' email about extra-cold-weather layering too seriously and am sous-vide'ing myself in some zippy thing i bought in akureyri last year and snow boots that are bigger than the cat. i am not one of those people, alas, who thinks sweltering one's way to the great mixed-recycling bin would be better than freezing to death.

one of my milder personal nightmares came to life yesterday evening at this off-broadway riff on a mentalist show at which i was singled out for a bit of audience participation. this was my own fault, since the performer was narrowing down his field of targets by telling people to sit down if they weren't left-handed and so on—i could have just done that—but being compelled to lie is also a personal nightmare, so that was off the table. luckily the guy doing the audience work seemed to catch my awkward-collaborator psychic stink and moved on. i told my mom about the show and she sympathized—she once got plucked from the crowd at a penn and teller show in las vegas. my mother is a brutal disappointer of magicians—an occasion on which she did so at a southern california fuddrucker's is canonical in my family—so this fascinated me. are these guys (they are always guys) like cats who know when someone doesn't want them to sit in their lap?

i sent my first passion-project pitches for the new year earlier this week and—you might want to be sitting down for this—they are about birds. it's time to write a weird science piece about birds! the ideal weird piece about birds would be a deep dive on the state of sky burials, as caitlin doughty talked about in from here to eternity (her boss book about death practices around the world and why pretty much all of them are a better deal than what we do here in america); as i recall, it's getting tougher to do them in places like india because the necessary raptors no longer show up (pollution? habitat loss?), whereas here we have carrion birds aplenty but it's illegal. which reminds me: i wrote several pieces for a friend's end-of-life startup (heh) years ago and never bookmarked their eventual URLs; is my relatively mixed-company-friendly explanation of what happens when a body is embalmed still out there somewhere? what about the quaker funeral breakdown? (for what it's worth, i like the sound of quaker funerals: simple, pretty green.)

the bird pieces i pitched are about owls and flamingos, so no human-corpse-eating to report out, probably. if i pitch the owl idea to another outlet i'm considering mentioning that my enthusiasm for them is so consistent that the only smartphone lock screen i've ever had is a grainy old shot of the midtown hooters marquee. a little beside the point, maybe, but it's true, and i eventually landed that piece i wrote about collecting nineteen eighty-four because i emailed a stranger about the time a pigeon threw up in my mouth, so...maybe?


LPC said...

I am a fan of your hope. Happy New Year, L.

Anonymous said...

_M_D_F_ said...

Being bound by rectitude to speak truth to mentalist is such a specific difficulty.

Your magical Trader Joe hacks are written with a purity of design such that three and three-quarters of them seem like just real instructions. A reader is well into it before that "true and living infant" bespeaks the first (and only?) true inkling of irreality, and I can't doubt with confidence that Paimon shows up in accordance with your ritual...

How did you end up reading Schwarzenegger?! Such a zany member of your the recent dozen. :)

lauren said...

How keenly I feel it, MDF! (How keenly I feel it, LPC.)

It's possible that when I did a Trump-binding spell years ago I shopped components at TJ's; we all know how well that turned out.

The COVID-themed safety clips Arnold posted mid-pandemic charmed me, as did his miniature animals, and that was enough momentum to get me to sign up for his Pump Club emails via Twitter sometime early last year; the slogan appeals ("Come with me if you want to lift"), as do the surprisingly robust backup footnotes? I knew the book would not be for me, really (the self-help genre does not move me), but I love a rando celebrity memoir and I wanted to see what he had to say about California politics. And I was entertained! I was glad it was a library book, but I was entertained.