Remember that time I was on deadline and decided to customize a bunch of animated talking avatars on Sitepal™ for no reason? And also name them and give them identities?

Of course you don’t. You didn’t know me back then. This was 2006, before I started writing for TV. Back then, my “deadlines” were mostly things theatres pretended to care about, like the environment and other people’s kids.

Just kidding. Theatres totally care about that stuff. My point is, my deadlines at the time were mostly self-imposed and driven by a desire to keep the initial writing impulse fresh.

TV deadlines are different. When you miss a deadline on a TV show it’s bad. You could potentially run up production costs, slow down the writer’s room, piss off the script coordinators who have to stay up all night waiting for your dumb draft to come in, etc. It’s poor form and ugly.

I don’t miss my deadlines. I do get very very very very close sometimes. Procrastination can be a small factor, but honestly a good chunk of my writing time is spent doing character research.

For example:

Myrna. Has degree in textiles and talks like a gansta when she’s drunk. She’s drunk right now. She wants to pop a cap in you.

Abigail. Has a third nipple and dreams sometimes about riding huge animatronic pickles. Not often. But enough.

Aubrey. Her girlfriend is a pastry chef and she’s allergic to nuts, a sad fact for them both. Because they both love nuts. Which is also how they insult each other when they fight in public.

Lourdes. The only one in her family who can’t sing. It’s a blessing. She’s gotta be bad at something. Right?

Sissy. Been married twice, no kids, has a hard time watching violent movies since the accident. Which we won’t talk about. (So many scars.)

Freakball. A man of few words, is tired of people telling him he smiles to hide the pain. Gets irritated when folks mistake “shininess” for “radiance.” There’s a fucking difference.

Freakball 2. Wonders if she can be programmed to feel heartbreak, wishes she had more hair. Spends a good deal of her day trying to look approachable.

Current luxuries.

I dunno why but my memory is a real dickwad. It always picks the angriest/mopiest tracks to play on my Greatest Hits album, which is what plays on repeat in my brain when my insomnia peaks at 3am.

For example. When I think back to those first few months after my son was born, I get mostly horrifying visions: a closet-sized Brooklyn apartment filled with shitty expensive infant equipment I will only ever use once; a tiny human who I have to try to keep alive except he’s TOO SMALL and I HAVE ZERO EXPERIENCE and THERE IS NO OWNER’S MANUAL and how the fuck did they let me out of the hospital with a BABY and etc.; the dread in my husband’s eyes at 9pm as we coordinate our iPhone alarms for the staggered night feedings; tiny mushy cold unidentifiable bits of things (food? poo? other?) in the most startling places (fingernails, eyelashes, various body cracks, the floor/wall/ceiling); trying to calculate how to carry a stroller, an infant, multiple shopping bags, and the mail up two narrow flights of stairs once a day while covered in wet snow; and etc.

Like I could go on forever. Those images are pristine.

The others, the joyful moments, are fuzzier.


Does fear encode more strongly than joy?

Is that what gives us our life force?

When we work harder to amplify our softer moments, do we value them more?

Is a dickwad memory something that can be fixed?

At any rate.

Thank god I have these janky basement tapes from my kid’s early days to remind myself that sometimes I’m more than just a sonic boom of pure terror. 😬

(Originally published on September 27th, 2008 at 11:12am.)

Current luxuries include: Sleeping. Cooking. Bathing properly and regularly. Seeing plays. [Note: I’m sorry if I am about to miss your show or have already missed it. I still love you very much and support you fully.] Laundry. Writing.

I am doing all these things, but doing them badly. Though I never really did them all that well before… I am a restless sleeper, a boring cook, a reluctant bather, and a grumpy audience member. I rarely do my own laundry, and my writing– well, I’m never happy with my pace and I have putrid work habits.

What else do you want to know? How my near-paralyzing fear of motherhood is playing out? Okay… while nothing could have adequately prepared me for the transition, like any other monumental life change you just go with it and it comes to you. But I don’t need to tell you that.

What DO I need to tell you? How blindingly in love with my baby I am? Do you really need to hear that? Isn’t it a given? Shouldn’t I just complain incessantly about how tired I am, how little time I have for writing, how I am constantly covered in breast milk, how I am terrified of dropping/scalding/humiliating the tiny new human who lives in the Pack-n-Play at the foot of our bed?

Well, these are of course true. And of course I am a member of that lucky breed of Perpetually Dissatisfied whose heart-ache is like a skin rash that never quite vanishes, even when the itching isn’t so bad.

But I have to tell you… I was also not prepared for the pretty calm that has settled into my pulse. Lying in bed in the morning with the wee one curled up on my chest drooling onto my T-shirt feels like nothing else in the world, except maybe a slow long kiss on the forehead from someone most deeply loved.

So yeah, that’s how it’s going. I am floating on a bamboo raft on an ocean of chill. It won’t last. But I’m going to close my eyes and enjoy it for a little while…

Boss lady.

Dumb rhetorical(ish) question. In our current cultural climate, is it cool to strive for forthright femininity AND a Nietzschean-level of achievement?

Hey! Why not.

But is it realistic? Can we dodge the qualifiers, judgements, contingencies? (You know the answer to that.)

“Lady Boss.” That term makes me wanna bash my head with a rusty shovel. Not only does it demote women to a subcategory of bosshood which is lesser than its root, but it often unwittingly ascribes traditional feminine characteristics to the job of bosshood.

I guess in a practical sense this isn’t a tragedy. Many of those qualities are helpful for people in management positions. And you know, I have maternal instincts and empathy and all that. I will happily bake you cupcakes. I also like mascara and manicures and shoes that click when I walk. But if I decide to not act like your mommy-wife, I’m not a shitty boss. I’m a regular one.

Slate’s The Waves podcast unpacked “Lady Boss” as a concept a few weeks ago. I dropped a little audio excerpt of it here (95 seconds) because I’m like, goddamn it.


…um… the “Boss Lady” is totally in command of her emotions, and she’s better than you at everything and she’s not apologizing for it, she’s not feeling bad about being… you know sort of leaving anyone in her wake, she’s, she’s not… um… she doesn’t need to read like management guides… ah… on like, how to, you know how to get a raise at work, she was—

Right, she might write one—

She writes them, yeah exactly—

Exactly. Is that, do you think that’s a fair assessment of the “Boss Lady?”


Ughk. I hate women. I don’t wanna be a woman anymore.