Sunday, July 26, 2009


Last night I was thinking about a pair of pants I used to have. They were a very deep black, soft, wide-ribbed corduroy. I bought them from the Gap.

I didn't buy much at the Gap when I was growing up, so when I did I would cherish the iconic blue plastic shopping bags with the chord tie enclosure. I would use the same bag for my lunch, or a change of clothes, or whatever other plastic bag type necessity I could fulfill. I would use them until they were worn away, until the blue had been scratched out and faded to a dull grey. One time I noticed that Cory Baskin, one half of the Baskin twins, a kid who was very smart and nice but also really really cool; all the girls liked him, he always had the newest Michael Jordan sneakers, his hair was black and spiky and he had a swath of freckles and a cute little button nose, but anyway I saw him carrying a white, plastic TJ Maxx bag, a variety of bag that even if I used a different one every day, I would barely dent my mother's supply. This may have been my first understanding of the difference between being and trying to be, and that the really cool kids never had to try.

But the pants I refer to came later. I bought them when I was at home from college to wear while in Europe. They fit really well, and had a nice bell at the bottom, and they were so warm and soft. I loved them alot.

That's all. I was just thinking about those pants.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Most of the time I like who I am, but a lot of the time I hate who I am, and that's why people meditate I think.

Here's the source.

Monday, July 20, 2009


A few years ago, Graffiti took a kind of hold over my imagination.

I don't know any graffiti writers. I grew up in a suburb of strivers; we were none of us risk takers when it came to the law. We chose government-approved paths towards recognition: grades, college. Networking. Auditions. That's me. I throw dinner parties, I go to sample sales. I would sooner move to Madison, WI than write my name on the side of a bridge.

I am afraid of heights, for one. And toxins. And the law.

But I got into graffiti anyway. Not the products of it, because really, I couldn't care less, but the motivation behind it. Because while some of us are content to lead basically happy lives, hoping that the triumphs outweigh the setbacks, job, spouse, home, etc, others of us suffer from the plague of grandiosity. Those of us in the latter category, and I say us with a head shake and sigh at my own unfortunate inclusion therein, picked up the notion somewhere that we were meant to live a large, bubble-lettered life. So we get MFAs or don't. We make things in our basements, in coffee shops. We have ideas for screenplays. We get the kind of jobs that could never be mistaken for a serious career: Art Handler, Barista, Personal Assistant, passing time until we are launched into the stratosphere.

And the project of the graffiti writer is just a simplified version of that exact desire.

Look at me. That's a tag. Know my name. I am alive.

I was going to write this blog about Dash Snow, an "artist", famous for doing a bunch of drugs and sleeping with a bunch of women and letting his friend take naked pictures of him. He died last week. He's an admittedly annoying figure. Heroin overdose at 27, he has a daughter named Secret, he would do go into hotel rooms and shred a bunch of phone books and do fistfuls of ecstasy until he felt like a hamster, his family is one of the richest in the country. A friend told me that his original proposal for the Whitney Biennial was to display drug paraphernalia: needles, coke, straws. Irritating, right? The whole mess. It just makes you roll your eyes.

But he was a graffiti writer. He started out trying to get famous by writing his name boldly all over town. I feel like that says something.

His friend, Ryan McGinley, who is actually a legitimately badass photographer said this about him, which I thought was interesting:

One of my favorite things about Dash was always his unconscious moving hand. He would be sitting there smoking cigarettes, writing his tag in the air without being aware of it. I would just smile and watch the smoke twirl into the letters S A C E. That’s how I’ll always remember him.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Picture our heroine, along with her partner and their friend, Ravi, who is leaving New York for Washington DC where he will be starting a new job. Picture the three, the rain coming down in torrents as they wait outside a pizzeria, hoping that the forty-five minute wait time estimated by the proprietor is closer to accurate than it seems like it might be from the sizable mob of would-be patrons huddling alongside them, under the awning, trying to stay dry. Picture Ravi, impish, with the Brit-like accent of his native Sri Lanka, making conversation about his future life in our nation's capital.

RAVI: I like Adam's Morgan. Or Dupont Circle. They're nice.

Gregory nods.

ILANA (Naming the only place she's heard of in DC): Georgetown?

GREGORY: Georgetown!

RAVI: Oh, yes. I would like to live there. It is so beautiful.

GREGORY: But there's no subway stop there.

RAVI (looking forlorn): That's true.

ILANA (straining for a cheerful solution): You could always get a bicycle!

RAVI (brightening): I suppose...

ILANA (feeling quite pleased with herself): You could bike to work!

RAVI: But the weather is so hot there. It's so humid. It was a swamp you know.

ILANA: Ravi...

RAVI: Yes, the weather in DC is just terrible. Too damn hot.

ILANA: Ravi, you're from Sri Lanka!

RAVI: Yes?

ILANA: Isn't that country basically jungle?

RAVI: Well, why do you think I left? Twenty-five years was enough for me!

GREGORY: It wasn't the war?

RAVI: War? No! It was the humidity!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I am visiting Chicago for a few days, my hometown, and last night I had the great pleasure of reconnecting with a few friends who were, during an earlier period of my life, a part of my daily existence. To see the faces of these friends, to embrace them, made my heart leap; I was joyful. Like a grandmother at a graduation I held their familiar/unfamiliar faces in my hands and I looked deeply at the adults that they have become. The women have grown beautiful and grounded. More secure. Stronger. I see them older in a way that is probably not much different from the way they see me. We know who we are, we women in our thirties. It is a gratifying thing to be an observer and participant in that process.

But what struck me last night was not the changes in the women, but the changes in the men. Because they are men now, and I found myself saying that so often last night. "You seem like a nice man," I said to my friend's boyfriend. "You've turned into a man!" I said to another friend's brother. Is it their seriousness? Their respect? The way they can be counted on? The way they say what they mean? One man, my old friend, who was so young once, emotional and naive and unsure of his footing, his manhood should not surprise me, but it does, nevertheless.

Soon we will be old. Soon I will look back on this time as my laughable youth.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Don't know why. Thought I'd share.