If you’re a long-time reader you already know about the book I’ve been working on for the last eleven years. I don’t usually mention it here because writing a book when you have severe ADD is hell, and writing a blog post about writing a book is like multiplying dead kittens by more dead kittens. Or like dividing dead kittens by angry rabbits. I don’t know how kitten-algebra works.
Victor just pointed out that I don’t actually have “severe, crippling ADD”, but I do have mild ADD and access to the internet, and that’s pretty much the same thing. People with severe, crippling ADD might disagree, but luckily they’re too easily distracted to write hate mail. Also, I seriously just forgot what this post was about and I had to go back to the top to reread it to remind myself what it was about. That just happened. This is exactly why it’s taken me eleven years to finish a single book. Well done, me.
A few months ago I took a dead mouse on a plane ride to New York City. This probably happens inadvertently to lots of people (who have infestation problems and might be hoarders), but the difference is that my dead mouse was wearing clothes, and was traveling on my tray table (much to the chagrin of the man sitting next to me). My mouse (Hamlet von Schnitzel) and I were going to New York so that I could have some meetings, sign some things, and convince my publisher that a dead mouse was much more photogenic than myself and should probably be on the cover of my book.
I was going to write about all of this at the time, but then I got distracted, so instead this post is stolen from my journal and twitter stream. I apologize in advance for confusing the hell out of you. This will all make sense at the end. Probably.
September 11, 2011
The man sitting next to me on the plane just suggested that my dead mouse might be more comfortable in my purse. I explained that Hamlet von Schnitzel has severe claustrophobia. Then my seat-mate stared at the mouse skull in Hamlet’s tiny mouse paw and I explained: “He’s an aspiring actor. We’re going to New York for head-shots.” And then the guy put on his headphones and refused to speak to me. It was a good choice.
I get to New York late so the publishers put me up at a hotel down the street from their office. This is the fanciest hotel I’ve ever brought a dead mouse to. I feel Julia Roberts in the first half of Pretty Woman.
The prostitutey half.
The porter (let’s call him Bob) offered to bring my bags up, but I’m a super-light traveler so I just had one big purse and a dead mouse. He chose to carry the purse.
In the elevator, Bob explained that this is a “transient hotel” and I was all, “Like a flophouse?” He just looked at me and I assumed maybe he didn’t know what a flophouse was, so I clarified, “You mean, like a crack house?” He was still quiet, so to fill the awkward silence I said, “Because this is the swankiest damn crack house I’ve ever been in.” Then more people got on the elevator and they stared at me and I assumed they were staring because they only heard the last part of our conversation, so I further clarified “Not that I’ve been in a lot of crack houses, I mean. I was just being polite.”
In hindsight, it’s possible that they staring at me because I was carrying a dead mouse and because the hotel porter had a hot-pink purse on his shoulder, and not because I was bragging about all the crack houses I hadn’t been to. It didn’t really matter though because we got off on the next floor, and then Bob explained that a “transient hotel” is one where people stay overnight. I explained that normal people just call that “a hotel.”
Bob tried to show me how to work the complicated panels of buttons that operated things normal people don’t need buttons for.
Things like curtains. And the curtains behind the curtains.
me: So the curtain’s curtains don’t have curtains? What kind of a shoddy operation is this?
Bob: I’ll be sure to bring that up to Mr. Trump at the next meeting.
I’m not entirely sure he was joking.
WTF? I just found the “PILLOW MENU”.
It’s a menu of the six types of pillows they’ll deliver to your room if you don’t like the 11 pillows already in the room. I couldn’t even make up 6 different types of pillows. One is made by Tibetan mountain healers and is “fortified with natural, organic fertilizers.”
This is exactly why no one trusts rich people.
I am missing a toilet. No shit, y’all. There is no toilet in this room. Apparently, rich people just hold it. Or pay someone else to go for them.
I still haven’t located a toilet, but I did find what I assume to be a leather, sex flog in the closet. It’s disconcerting. I miss Motel 6, where they leave the light on for you and you have to supply your own sex flog. And also, they have toilets.
me (via twitter): Seriously, this is a crazy-fancy hotel and there’s not a toilet here.
My friend Maureen: In really nice hotels, they send someone up to hold a bucket and you pee into it.”
I’m pretty sure she was just fucking with me, but at this point I question everything.
I call down to room service, but everything on the menu is confusing or unpronounceable.
Me: Do you guys have hamburgers?
Room service: Did you mean Lamb burgers?
Me: Not even remotely.
When the guy from room service (Not Bob) came up I asked him if this room comes with a toilet. Apparently this is a pretty common question, as he immediately opened a door that I thought was part of the frosted glass wall.
It was a relief, but also disconcerting, as there was a phone in there with “MS. LAWSON” written on it. Which was weird, because why would anyone need to be reminded of who they are while using their own toilet?
I took off my dress to avoid spilling anything on it. And that would have been fine except that when I hit the button that I thought turned on the lights I realized that it actually opened the curtains and I was suddenly mostly naked in front of a wall-sized window over Soho. Then I hit another button to stop the curtain, but that just opened up the second, filmy curtain. Then I was just wildly slamming buttons, and lights were blinking on and off, and the curtains were slamming back and forth. From the street I assume it looked like I was attending an unpopular disco-orgy.
The next morning.
I didn’t steal any towels, but I did take all of the soaps and lotions. I’m taking the phone too, because it has my name on it.
Never mind. I am not taking the phone. Because that would be wrong. And because it is nailed to the wall. Which is a little untrusting, if you ask me.
Meeting with the publishers.
They’re all very awesome and professional. I placed a dead mouse on the board room table and instead of freaking out they all excitedly said, “OH! Is that Hamlet von Schnitzel?!” because they’ve all read the book and know his backstory. It suddenly dawns on me that all of these strangers in business suits know more about my childhood than my therapist does. They also know far more about my vagina than of most people I have professional meetings with. It’s both unsettling and comforting all at once. These are things no one ever warns you about when you write your memoirs. This is probably why Stephen King never writes about his vagina.
The book is available for pre-0rder. I open up my computer and stare in awe at the cover.
It’s been one hell of a strange journey. Thank you for making it with me.
Hamlet von Schnitzel and I thank you for your support. We couldn’t have done this without you.
For real. Thank you.