The Gossip Pages

or: A Few Thing I Learned in New York About Writers For The Nervous Breakdown, with Greater or Lesser Emphasis on The Truth. The last time I was in New York I had morning sickness and spent the entire time holed up in my hotel room wishing that room service wasn't so all-pervasive an odour. (Although I did meet a bunch of people that I had met online through MetaFilter at a little place called Three of Cups where we ate dinner and had beers in the basement. I pretended I drank really, really slow; I believe I pulled a "pour the beer in a fake plant" maneuver.)

Anyway, not having morning sickness in New York is much preferred, thank you very much. So this time I met a bunch of people I had met online through The Nervous Breakdown in a little place called Three of Cups where we ate dinner and had beers in the basement.

The Three of Cups is apparently a lightning rod for people people meet on the internet.

They also played Fear's "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones," which has been stuck in my head ever since.

But I met several writers there, all of whom were gracious enough to chat me up, even though at moments I felt like a fan instead of a writer.

For example, Will Entrekin is the person from whom Jack Bauer's coolness factor is directly lifted. There would be no Jack Bauer saving the world if there was no Will, and for that we have Will to thank. Thank you, Will! Jack Bauer doesn't even know why Jack Bauer is so cool, but it is, and will always be, Will. (Although as far as I know, Will is not loose and easy with the torture. We didn't discuss it; maybe it's classified.)

And did you know that Zara Rose Potts has been trying to shake that groupie Charlotte Gainsbourg for years? Ugh. Like a disease that little French tart has been plaguing her! Copying her certain je ne sais quois, but now you know: Zara, not Charlotte, is the international phenom. Also, comes from New Zealand which is an island. And works for good, not evil, making her the same sort of superheroine you suspected of her but could never pin down. Is confused that agents of all kinds exist, from the literary to the real estate. I agree with her on this point.

Simon Smithson, Australian man of a million grins has taken out classified ads in the papers of every US city he and Zara passed through, searching for future wives as a means toward citizenship. I told him he probably wouldn't want to settle down in Nebraska, but he's so committed to living in the US he doesn't seem to care. He's an enthusiastic and passionate patriot for the Old Stars and Bars; I recommend that the US government just let him in so he isn't saddled with a farm wife outside Topeka who will actually make him milk cows.

Greg Olear loves Ray Davies and now knows that someone I know mailed Ray Davies' nostril hair to someone else. Loves his Nervous Breakdowners like a protective father, and although he didn't ground me, he probably should have. Without trying, he managed to work out my old family secrets, so he has what they call "THE GIFT." Be careful around him for this reason lest you divulge a great deal of grist for his upcoming novel.

Stephanie St. John Olear brought her porch with her, so generous and welcoming is she. And despite the crack whores and legless pimps blocking her path to the mail room of her old Village apartment, she was nostalgic enough to want to find it again in the muggy night. We bonded over plastic, lack of recycling options in New Jersey, our children and our mutual enthusiasm for being surrounded by writers we admire. I'm waiting for her to bring her porch to the Northwest, but Greg must approve airplane travel first. (We could argue the point of whether or not Stephanie is a "writer" per se; let's just give her the honorary TNB doctorate and call it good.)

Marni Grossman is more lovely in real life than in her Gravitar. Also, even more penetratingly clever than she is online, which is tricky but she manages. She tolerated me; by the time we got a chance to talk I was fed up with the DJ and decided to bribe him to turn down the music. Twenty bucks apparently doesn't do the trick, at least in New York where a twenty buys you a cup of coffee. But Marni tried to understand me through the butt rock and my hoarseness which had by that time become entrenched. I sound like Marlene Dietrich now which ain't half bad, but on the other hand I'm a week out of NY and I'm still croaking. Maybe you TNB'ers actually ruined my vocal chords.

Not that I've ever really had anything to say. Marni knows. All she heard was babble.

I hope these superheroes of our own Nervous Breakdown will have the time and inclination to visit Cascadia, which, though plunked on the other side of the world/country/universe is known to welcome superheroes. It was a night too brief and filled with great gaiety and light, except for the sofa across from us which exuded pheromones and cooties.

I won't even go into what the bathroom was like. I believe Stephanie called it, "Shoot-Uppy."