Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hello. Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I've been out of pocket, failing at my Lenten promise for days because I got involved in starting my own social media factory for Love Sick.  It meant combining two sitting duck Twitter accounts which were linked to email addresses I no longer had passwords for, then re-following followers who are still active and tracking down new people to follow.  It has wholly absorbed me from Saturday afternoon to yesterday, leaving me sore and wondering if I was going to throw a clot from sitting in the same position for twelve hours at a stretch.

So I'm sorry, guys, and I'm sorry, Jesus, if you're there.

I'll Tweet this post so I think it's time to introduce myself in more than 160 characters.

I was born, raised and earned BAs in English and religious studies in Missoula, Montana.  I went to Catholic school -- St. Anthony's -- so I have a thing about nuns, shame and plaid.  Lately I've had a lot of spring hymns running through my mind.

I went to graduate school in creative writing at Cornell.  Several famous writers were in my cohort.  We were best friends.  We are not friends any more.

I've had a long life of obesity.  In a 12-step program I lost 188 pounds and wrote a book that did well: Passing for Thin.

Then I gained a bunch back and wrote a book that was calledAngry Fat Girls in hardcover, promptly remainedered, and Eating Ice Cream with My Dog in paperback.  Please buy it because I have $95,000 of the advance yet to earn out.

When you have that much unearned advance you are lucky to get another book deal, even at a serious reduction in advance.  That book, Love Sick, publishes this June 6.  It's a funny, harrowing story of trying to get over Mr. Friends with Benefits.  I have and haven't succeeded in doing that.

In between Cornell and Passing for Thin I was a literary agent.  I wasn't very good because I was cautious about advances that wouldn't earn out.  I didn't listen to my own lesson.  Also, my bosses and I were at loggerheads all of the time.

You'll learn a lot about me if you read those three books.  Right now, I'm beginning work on a proposal about saying the rosary for a year.   I'm not a good Catholic but it's the only thing that sticks.   Why would I do such a project?  Because I live in despair, which is a sin, and because I have few trustworthy relationships.  I'd like to build one with, um, God.

So here's what you really need to know about me:

  1. I walk some dogs and do social media for some people.
  2. I suffer from dysthemic depression, anxiety and borderline agoraphobia.
  3. I don't believe in heaven but I do believe in hell.
  4. I am left of left politically.  I have insurance because of Barack Obama.  Thank you, Barack.
  5. I grew up with Labradors.  Now I am owned by one, Daisy.  She has Tourette's Syndrome and Joan Rivers-envy and can be a real asshole.  She's my best friend and has saved my life.
  6. I live in the crappy studio apartment with no natural light.  I call it the Bat Cave.
  7. I'm a Daddy's Girl.  My father is 96, in his right mind mostly, still interested in physics, blind, blunt and hilarious.
  8. I'm really fat.  I hate it.  I think I need to make peace with it because it is the metaphor, as it were, for hating my self.  And I don't deserve to hate my self.
  9. My self is slothful, envious, angry, without much hope.  My self is funny, smart, sees things and has a big vocabulary.  It is generous.
  10. I like Bach best.
  11. I like Victorian novels, World War II, anything about the Renaissance, 18th and 19th century Europe.
  12. I'm a terrible housekeeper and I am owned by too many things.
  13. Lately I'm obsessed by House, M.D.
  14. I'm lonely.
  15. I don't bathe as much as I should.
  16. I'm trying to pay off what started out as about $28,000 in debt.  I've cut that by about half.
  17. I hold grudges.  I don't get over men I've loved.  Menopause and Prozac prevent me from being very interested in intimacy however.
  18. I spent summers, until nine years ago, on Flathead Lake in Montana.  I'm afraid to go back there because it was the best place.
  19. If I had lots of money I would travel.  By myself.  I don't like museums.
  20. I'm also afraid of my hometown.  All the bodies are buried there.
  21. I miss my mom, my Uncles Norbie and Connie and my Aunt Claire.  A lot.
  22. I'm adopted.  This is a complex and icky way to start life.
  23. I'm nostalgic for large parts of my childhood.
  24. I have never read Finnegan's Wake.  I've never finished Moby Dick, Ulysses.  I like Tolstoy better than Dostoevsky.  I get frustrated reading Yeats, Shelley, Pound.  I don't understand a word of it.
  25. I used to feel that way about Emily Dickinson, but I grew into her.  That doesn't mean I read her though.
  26. I don't watch TV except for occasional reality TV binges when I'm really sick or really depressed.
  27. I don't know what Mad Men, Game of Thrones or any other cool TV is.
  28. I make annual donations to Planned Parenthood, Macular Degeneration, University of Montana, Spirit Animal, Democratic party, public radio and television.
  29. I miss the friends I've alienated.  Every day and achingly.
  30. I'm probably as close to my cousins as I am to my sibling.
  31. I'm tired of New York.
  32. I'm scared of when Daisy will die.
  33. I've been living on peanut butter and macaroni and cheese because it's cheap and because I need to get my kitchen sink fixed.
  34. I'm in trouble for not having cleaned out the washer and dryer well enough and leaving dog hair behind.
  35. I'm 57.  I smoke.
  36. I think I will not smoke from tonight until Sunday morning, in observance of the arrest - resurrection of the Christ I don't like very much.
  37. Blogging gets me in trouble at least once a year.  It happened recently.  And yes, I know it was you who left the nasty anonymous comment.  And I know you are at the heart of the snarl.
  38. There are Rules of Etiquette for walking dogs.  They involve crossing the street when one person has one dog and the other two or more, letting dogs decide who they want to meet and not bothering dog walkers.  I wish these rules were observed, as well as cleaning up dog shit.
  39. I intensely dislike 98% of the privileged spoiled princes and princesses and their mothers and nannies in this neighborhood.  Sometimes I hope they would get hit by cars.
  40. I am passive aggressive in the streets.
  41. I am nice to doormen, clerks, cab drivers, maintenance people.
  42. If I have money and you need money, I will give it to you.
  43. All I really ever want to do is go back to bed and hide.
  44. I speak really bad Italian and German, and worse French.  I'm better when I'm drunk but I don't drink much any more.
  45. You'd probably like me if we met.


Hilary said...

I laughed when I read the title of this post. It's been only five days but it does seem longer. I miss your posts when you get busy and don't write. But I understand completely. I love all the stuff you wrote about yourself. I'm so glad you now have health insurance because of Barack. I voted for him so that my daughter, who is also self-employed, could have it. Thanks so much for your honesty and your humor.

Elisa Ashley said...

I like you and we haven't met. No museums? I could live in them. I don't know what the attraction is, although with 8 kids I'm thinking it could very well be the cleanliness and quiet. Museums have a lot of corners for solitude and pondering the Universe.

You don't deserve to hate yourself. Sometimes you're the only one on your your best cheerleader!

Debra said...

I've never made it yet through a Lent where I kept my Lenten promise, a not so subtle reminder of how much I need grace and mercy in my life every day in order to do even the simplest thing. Enjoyed your post of randomized facts about yourself. Happy Holy Thursday, Frances.

E. Jane said...

I loved this post--so courageous and honest. You're a fine person, Frances Kuffel!

Kitty said...

I like you already, although we have never met. Your writing makes me feel as though I know you very well and I think it is because you write with such honesty. I enjoy noting the things we have in common such as a love of dogs, being in the second half of our lives, childless and self critical. I am so looking forward to your new book, I will know you even better then!! Wishing you all the best, I will keep you in my prayers

madeleine said...

I love you Francie. This was a terrific post.

Sue said...

When the women come to the tomb to mourn Jesus, the angels ask them, "Why do you seek for the living among the dead?" Reading your posts these last weeks, Frances, has been one long encounter with the living: with messy, unsatisfactory, improvised, difficult, tender, longing life. Thank you. I wonder how that stone got moved out of the way.