Teen angst.

Is it possible to be born with teen angst? And when does it go away? Seriously. ‘Cause I’m still waiting.

I mean there’s a lot to be angry about right now, and sometimes I will discover a new pocket of rage that lives in my body and be like, oh, you aren’t mine, you belong to all the women who were sexually abused and are unable to talk about it, and then I feel ok rutting around in there until I have a enough of a grasp to yank it out and set it on fire and scream, “Everyone to go look at that fucking fire!”

Stuff like that.

But this morning… I dunno. I’ve been taking thyroid meds since I had my son ’cause sometimes the ol’ hormones don’t snap back. You’re supposed to wake up every morning and take one first thing, then wait 30-60 min before you eat.  This morning I got so angry and righteous about it. “Fuck YOU, asshole, I’m not waiting!” And I took my pill with some cold coffee and shoved three sprouted grain mini-muffins into my face.

Like, who wakes up and gets angry at medicine?  I wasn’t even hungry! I was just pissed that someone was telling me what to do before I even got out of bed.

And anyway, fuck who? Who am I fucking here, besides myself? The pharmaceutical companies for not making pills that can be taken with food? My kid for messing up my hormones when he came out? The Universe for giving women’s bodies the power to produce life and then punishing them for it at every turn?

It feels like the kind of hair-trigger rage that is typical in teenagers, in that it immediately becomes global without provocation. Like when your parents give you a curfew and your older sibling doesn’t get one, and you feel the Grand Inequity of it like a boulder in your heart– which, along with your cystic acne and the bitch at lunch who makes fun of your clothes and your choir director who gave you a shitty part in Guys And Dolls, acts as solid confirmation that the world is like, SO UNFAIR.

The entire world.

I remember as a kid feeling so distraught whenever I didn’t feel fairly treated. Adult Me can imagine Baby Me writhing around my crib at night thinking “Why am I behind bars here? I haven’t committed any crimes. I’m three months old!”

And as an adult, I can get propulsively furious at pretty much anything. At my fitness tracker for telling me I didn’t hit my goals for the day. At the lap desk I bought from Amazon that fell apart after a week. At my “Stand Up!” iPhone app for telling me to stand up. Never mind that I set my own fitness goals, bought myself the cheapest desk, and programmed the app to ding every hour.

I get angry about real things too, like social injustice and the environment and endemic misogyny and my own privilege. Especially that last one. I’ll get angry at getting angry. “The hell are you whining about, you dumb baby? Go on, pretend you aren’t lucky to have a crib with bars and a house with a roof and sprouted grain muffins when you’re hungry.”

That’s productive.

Obviously the world is not a “fair” place. But not because I have to take medication without food. It’s because of human greed / people with enlarged amygdalae controlling shit / the way we inherit abuse / normative economics / systemic racism / Choose Your Own Grand Inequity.

And it’s easy to get pissed at the carpet for tripping you. It’s harder to fix the carpet so no one else will trip. For me, the dilemma is this: I whiplash endlessly between “fuck you, carpet” and “fuck me, I tried to fix the carpet but people are still tripping.”

Maybe the carpet isn’t fixable?

Maybe that’s not a reason to stop trying?

Maybe righteous anger is a pre-disposition that is not always circumstantial?

Or… maybe if I dragged every pocket of rage out of my body and set them all on fire at once, women would stop getting assaulted?

In that case…

What if I have an infinite number of pockets?

(I guess we’ll find out… heh.)

Laughing alone.

No stories today, just a little plugola…

This play opens in Berkeley on Friday at Shotgun Players and runs until November 11th.  You were TOTALLY gonna take a trip to northern California soon, right? Lucky for you there’s a shit-ton of cool stuff being done there this season. Plays by Lucas Hnath,  JT Rogers, Young Jean Lee, Chris Chen, Cory Hinkle… no joke the Bay area this fall is 🔥🔥🔥.

You can read all about it in this non-firewalled article, if you can get past the dopey picture of that asshole lounging on a bed at the ACE Hotel in NYC while a ghost lingers in her window…

Prince (R.I.P.)? Is that you?


Growing up, we had three dogs. One was a cocker spaniel, the other two were lhasa apso mixes:

They were fun and friendly and we loved them a lot. But we didn’t walk them enough. Probably because my family’s default setting was “sedentary.” Instead, we’d open the back door for them twice a day so they could do their business in the yard.

But sometimes, business was slow.

Consequently, there were many indoor accidents. If we were home we could identify the culprit by the deep shame in her eyes. But when we were away, our house turned into a giant carpeted animal toilet. We’d arrive home and bee-line to the paper towels for the inevitable shit-piles and piss-puddles waiting for us.

Every. Flipping. Day.

I know my house reeked because my best friend’s mom stopped letting her come over. I had become inured to it; or rather, the smell from my parents’ ever-lit cigarettes was more egregious to me. Possibly because dog excrement doesn’t threaten human lives the way smoking does.

Still, we treated them as though they were tiny humans. They slept in our beds, ate off our plates, swam in our pool, slobbered on our guests. We coped with their bathroom quirks even if it meant never taking off our shoes inside our own home. Because they were family.



I don’t quite know how to make sense of what my mother did to our dogs when my father died, so I will just report it.

His death was sudden, a heart attack, and came on the heels of a pretty horrendous financial disclosure. We had to move very quickly to a place my mother could afford; a two bedroom apartment that didn’t allow pets.

I found out she euthanized our dogs after it happened. She brought them to the pound and had them put to sleep. She said she had no choice, she couldn’t find homes for them. But I know in part she couldn’t bear the thought of them living with another family. Eating off their plates. Pissing on their carpets.

And as shameful as it is to admit, I never got over it. I never even talked about it until now. I cry every time I think about it. I’m sure some of the pain is related to my father (we were unable to mourn him properly for reasons I may hopefully be able to talk about someday)… but also, for years I had to downplay their loss so I’d be capable of grieving with my mother instead of vilifying her.


I told myself I’d never own animals again. My adulthood would be filled with sweet-smelling rooms, spotless carpets, bare feet indoors, and zero pet heartache.

It was. For a bit. And then we had a baby. Who became a toddler. Who became a nine-year-old. Who wanted a cat.

Like many kids with two artist parents, he’s smart and sensitive. We often indulge his (and our own) desires to discuss topics that are slightly bigger than him. As a result, his conversational drive often has a kind of phrenic patina to it. Adults love talking to him.

Kids, however…

One time when he was seven he shouted this to an entire table of boys at lunch: “If any of you guys are feminists, raise your hands.” None did.

He sat alone at recess and read Garfield books. He rarely had playdates. I knew his desire for a cat came from his longing for soul who was as helpless as he felt. But I couldn’t do it. “No pets,” I said.

And while the citizen part of me was proud of him for his professed political leanings, the mother part felt like a failure. I was raising my child to be a responsible adult ten years too early.

We decided to send him to sleep-away camp, hoping the day-to-night kid rhythms would replace his premature adult ones. It would be his first time ever without a parent or grandparent.

He was going to be surrounded by kids he didn’t know how to talk to.

For an entire week.

While I was on deadline.


He came home from camp a week later to find two bewildered kittens and this contraption in the living room:

The D.I.Y. litter box ventilation system I built.


NEEDED: a piece of Plexiglass, a Dremel saw, a CPU fan, a laundry hose, vinyl & acrylic tape, anxiety, insomnia, and a light case of osmophobia.

I basically followed these instructions, except I used this litter box so I wouldn’t have to cut a hole in the side.

TIPS: Make sure your CPU fan faces the right direction so it’s pulling the stink out. And be careful when you use the Dremel to cut the Plexiglass; you’re basically melting plastic so do it outdoors and score it well first with a sharp utility knife.