January 2nd, 2009 | Uncategorized

Whew! Thanks for all the menopausal remedies. I’m gonna go chug some Barlean’s flax seed oil, insert a hormone pellet in my, my, …you know, my noun, then massage some neutral Kiwi shoe polish into my scalp.

Look, I just got the latest issue of Granta. This is a very fancy schmancy literary journal, to which I have contributed a short graphic essay.
Photo 13

See my name on the cover? Right there with Siri Hustvedt and Ali Smith and Jonathan Lethem? There’s also a clever story inside by the wonderful and terrifyingly prolific Emma Donoghue.

Meanwhile, Holly decided we should move the birdfeeders closer to the house. Dr. Winnicott thinks this was a splendid idea. Click the below picture, it’s a video. I still haven’t figured out how to make my videos show up with that handsome, graphically lucid and self-explanatory “play” arrow on ’em, which would make this entire sentence, as well as the last one, unnecessary.

66 Responses to “2009?!”

  1. The comment box wasn’t showing up! Is it now? Can you read this?

  2. Big thanks to NLC who just showed me how to make the YouTube arrow show up.

  3. Mad Scientist says:

    I love that the only (almost) dialogue is….

  4. Mad Scientist says:


  5. Ginjoint says:

    I’ve been lost for the last hour and a half at Granta’s website. I’ve read about life at the Chelsea Hotel as well as a beautiful old lamp factory here in my city which closed a couple of years ago. Oh, words, words, words….

    One more thing about hot flashes: the radiators in my building are, shall we say, not shy about their function. They hiss, spit, gurgle, and glug loudly. Sometimes there’s a slosh, slosh, slosh sound of water splashing within. Anyway, last night I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and when I had a major hot flash. I felt its creeping approach, and then it hit full force. At the exact same time, my radiators were kicking in. A small hiss at first, then some louder gurgling, finally a loud PSSSHHHHHZZZZZTTT sound as they blasted away. All in exact tempo with my hot flash. I felt like a cartoon character, with steam coming out of my ears.

  6. Ginjoint says:

    And why is that man on Granta eating that poor little girl?

  7. JoVE says:

    Well, when I clicked through from my reader there it was with the very graphically useful play arrow. Magic. You have created cat TV. (Mine managed to find a mouse yesterday and tried to bring it in the house.)

    Congrats on the Granta piece.

  8. Calico says:

    GJ – what a cool (haha) hot flash description!
    I miss radiators. Love those gurgly sounds. Reminds me of good things in my childhood.
    Damn, I’m getting nostalgic too. Those hormones…
    I drank some good green tea this AM and I got a hot flash after a biiiiig sip. Might have been the “die off” as well, as I have a cold too.

    Here’s a cute broccoli eating kitty vid.
    Will Dr. W. get her own channel soon? : )

  9. June says:

    More signs of the coming lesbian rapture: Four women writers’ names on the Granta cover, and at least two of them are openly lesbian!

    That’s Sid James in the picture on the cover (for Americans, he was a great British comedy actor, probably best known for the Carry On films, but he also did a lot of television work). Reina James is his daughter–and her book is about undertakers.

    How small is this world?

  10. Ginjoint says:

    No kidding, June. That’s freaky.

  11. Finsbury Parker says:

    Sid James certainly was great, but he was South African masquerading as a Cockney geezer in the Carry Ons.

  12. R says:

    Wow Alison to be published in Granta is a very high brow accolade indeed. Will now have to track down a copy. Have you seen those bird feeders that you stick onto the glass.

  13. Donna says:

    Granta rocks!

  14. Donna says:

    Too funny: “I’m gonna go chug some Barlean’s flax seed oil, insert a hormone pellet in my, my, …you know, my noun, then massage some neutral Kiwi shoe polish into my scalp.”

    I need to do some back-reading to understand what’s going on here…but even not knowing the context it’s funny.

  15. The Cat Pimp says:

    I call stuff like that bird feeder, “dinner theatre” for cats.

    Congrats on Granta! You’re definitely in the Bigs.

  16. Alex K says:

    Publication in GRANTA! That’s literary apotheosis. Dang.

    Titmouse? Huh. I thought “female cardinal” but a bit of image Googling has moved me into your camp.

  17. Donna says:

    Just finished reading Paul Auster’s Collected Prose yesterday, which I read because of I Thought my Father Was God, which he credits Siri for coming up with the idea in the first place, who is, along with Alison, featured in this month’s Granta. (I kept wondering what kind of name Siri was–he mentions her in Collected Prose several times as well. <–that book made me glad to have a stocked fridge and nice warm bed. Talk about suffering for one’s art. An onion pie?

  18. Sophie in Montreal says:

    Best hotflash remedy IMHO is homeopathic Lachesis:


    Not only does it stop flashes cold, haha, it also makes them weaker with time until they just vanish. Then I stopped. After a few months they came back, but less bothersome than before, I started taking it again and I’ve had several peaceful nights in a row, no heat, no sweat!

    Happy New Year to Hot Crones Everywhere!

  19. Donna says:

    ^ Oops, I forgot to close my italics.

    Both books are fun reads. And easy reads if, like me, you skip over the denser essays in Collected Prose.

    The book I Thought my Father Was God closes out with an essay by Ameni Rozsa. I so enjoyed it I Googled the author to see what I could see and was surprised to find out she’s a writer (and I’m pretty sure a lesbian from reading this personal essay of hers she submitted to the newspaper–it won some sort of prize): http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A196871

  20. Elara says:

    I have that exact same carpet in my living room. Oh, and it was a nice video, it’s great that you can get the birds to come so near the house. Birds won’t get that close to our house, I think it’s a combination of the dogs barking and our cats trying to catch the birds when they’re outside.

  21. smctopia says:

    Is Granta available in any stores? I just looked for it in Bunns & Noodle and had no luck.

  22. Dr. Empirical says:

    On Nouns:

    I often tell my girlfriend “I’m going to… the place… to do… the thing.” To which she usually replies “Could you pick up some… stuff?”

  23. Ian says:

    A bird feeder outside the window? Food porn for cats …

  24. cybercita says:

    @smctopia, i live in manhattan and there are several magazine stores that carry it. the public library subscribes to granta, but my branch didn’t have the latest copy when i checked this afternoon.

  25. smctopia says:

    I’m in the Chicago burbs cybercita. Maybe I can find it in the city. I doubt my library carries it.

  26. little gator says:

    ok, some tmi-i was quite skeptical of hormone pellets in my noun, but my endocrinologist said they’d prevent urinary discomfort caused by dryness and she was right-they do have a very adjective affect.

    I just wish each one didn’t come with a plastic applicator stick, not labelled by type. I throw it in the recycling anyway but i wonder if they take it. My town only accepts platic with a recycling number-in-a-triangle on it.

    You see what Holly’s done to me since I read her blog?

    MY flashes drive Mr Gator crazy, since he’s hypothyroid and heat seeking. he’ll be shivering under a blanket by the space heater, while I wander comfily about the house barefoot with bare arms. and I get warm form very little exertion. I can work up a sweat folding laundry.

  27. Heidi says:

    “I’m going to… the place… to do… the thing.”

    My girlfriend says this sort of thing to me all the time. What’s frightening is that 90% of the time, I know exactly what she’s talking about.

  28. Amyx says:

    Aparently, single issues of Granta can be purchased from Powells–go Portland!


  29. Anonymous says:

    My friend pam gave me the Essential DTWOF for my birthday. So after an absence I log on and wht do I find ? Granta. Blimey.

  30. Juliet says:

    Ahhh you’re in fine company there Alison. Siri Hustvedt’s ‘What I Loved’ is still in my lifetime Top 10 and I love Ali Smith’s short stories. magic.

    What with Emma Donoghue as well as you that’s three lesbians in one issue…

  31. Ian says:

    Granta can “grant a” happy new year? Must look out for this although I have a feeling I’ll have to visit the British Library to find it.

    I was wondering why Sid James (the man with the filthiest, dirtiest laugh in history) was on the cover of such a mag. I can imagine his daughter would have quite a bit to say about a father like that!

  32. NLC says:

    Concerning getting a copy of “Granta” here in the US:

    1] I know there are at least a few bookstores that carry it –at least when I used to live down in Cambridge one would see it around in shops.

    (On the other hand, looking at the journal’s website I see that a one year subscription is $45.99 for four issues. Consequently extrapolating how much a single issue will cost “off the stand”, I would imagine that this fact alone would probably limit the number of American newstands that carry the magazine.)

    The website doesn’t mention any provision for ordering single issues by mail.

    2] Alternately, check your local library. From their on-line catalogue I see that our largish regional library (Brattleboro, VT) carries “Granta” (and reports that they have the “Winter 2008” issue in the reading room!)

    And even if your local library doesn’t carry it, see if your city/region/state does “Inter-Library Loans” [ILL]. (However, you may have to wait a couple of months. Many libraries won’t circulate the most recent issue –and many don’t circulate periodicals at all.)

    [P.S. ILL is a wonderful resource; especially if, like some of us, you find that the book that your looking for occurs just once in combined catalogues of all the libraries in your state. I couldn’t survive without Vermont’s ILL system, which has access to many of the state university/college libraries. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my beloved is the assistant librarian at our rather small town library…]

  33. Alex K says:

    Press clippings: Today’s TIMES (London) includes Jeannette Winterson’s confusion when attempting to order four copies of AB’s most recent compilation at her rural bookstore (http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article5424661.ece), in which she says of the cartoons:

    “….for a high-minded kind of a girl like myself they are the literary equivalent of lounging in a hot tub drinking gin sling.”

    Well. Since I harbour the fantasy that Jeannette will one day show up on my doorstep, this comment sent me a-Googling.

    2 oz Gin
    1 tsp Water
    1/2 (Juice of) Lemon
    1 tsp Powdered Sugar
    1 twist Orange Peel

    Dissolve Powdered Sugar in mixture of Water and Juice of Lemon. Add Gin. Pour into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes and stir. Add the twist of Orange Peel and serve.

    In hot tub. With copy of THE ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR.

    Why, Jeannette! Come on in! I’m about to run myself a bath while I mix myself a drink…

  34. sk in london says:

    oh, just about to dive into the Saturday edition of The Times here and looking forward to finding Jeanette’s piece in there Alex K. Thanks for the tip…..

  35. Ginjoint says:

    A Gin Sling. Why, that sounds utterly delectable.

  36. Laura Anne in VT says:

    The bird feeders being that close to the house might put the birds at risk for flying into the window. Chickadees seem to have more skill at detecting windows than other birds, but if you have other species visiting the feeders you might have to take precautions. Last year we had multiple redpolls hit our sliding glass door so we hung ribbons in front of it outside. That seems to have helped.

    Congratulations on Granta. Very, very impressive!

  37. Nathalie says:

    Got DTWOF and the New, Improved! as a christmas gift and I’m really liking it. Good stuff!

  38. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint: I have water heat in my house (which was built in about 1940) that runs hot water throughout the house in pipes that gurgle and hiss. It is awesome heat, turn it on and the house instantly feels warm…or, turn it off if a hot flash is approaching!

    Congrats AB!

  39. Pam I says:

    @ Alex K, I note this aside in the Winterson piece: “[Woolf’s] essays are delightful in the way that serious play is delightful. She is enjoying herself, and reading her gives me that leaping sense of being in excellent company.”
    Do I read that as, Winterson and Woolf are of equivalent value? JW does rate herself fairly highly.
    Nice piece tho, and I love the idea of it being in the Times, so beloved of colonels everywhere. Their wives have now been sicced onto this blog too. Hi there.

  40. R says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the Times article. I might order my copy from my local bookshop, rather than from the comfort & anonymity of my sofa/computer.

  41. The Other Andi says:

    @NLC: Re ILL — most libraries can get a copy of an individual article for you from another library, so you don’t necessarily have to request the entire journal issue. You just need to give them the citation so they know which article you want.

  42. Donna says:

    What would life be like without libraries? I shudder to think…

  43. Ted says:

    Ian, Good spot on Sid James. Carry on.

    I guess when you’ve been with someone a long time you can guess what they are saying. My wife: “you know that actress on TV, who’s she married too?” Me: “What show, what actress?” Wife: “you know, the one with the long hair. On ABC I think.” The scary part is usually that’s enough for me to know the answer.

  44. Kate L says:

    About birdwatching: did you know that sparrows are an exotic species in North America, having been imported from England? Blimey!

  45. Pam I says:

    Sparrows are exotic here too now. I haven’t seen one in London since I was at the zoo, where they seem to have a flourishing colony. Maybe they are tucked away in hedges so I don’t spot them, but this reduction in numbers is now a classic whats-happening-to-the-world topic. Pigeons and starlings are about it now. But yesterday I saw a pied wagtail at the bizarre Bluewater shopping city, I did a detour there to take pics of crazed Sale shoppers. So some yin to the yang.

  46. Maggie Jochild says:

    I did not know that about sparrows. It makes me wonder, were they imported by the same moron who brought in starlings? He was on a quest to introduce to North America all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare. I don’t recall his name, but I’ve heard birders rain down curses on him because of the starling issue.

  47. Antoinette says:

    Sparrows are fluffy little bundles of aggression. If you have sparrows at your bird feeders, it’s unlikely you’ll see other birds.

    I can’t help it. I like starlings.

  48. JO says:

    What, no squirrels?

  49. Alex K says:

    @Pam I: Well, erm, that reading isn’t out of the question, not at all. The chord that the cited lines struck in me was, though, that of being a little kid allowed to sit under the table and listen to the grownups talk. All those I-want-to-understands! And my delight when, yes, I really DID get that one!

    A half-hour with an essay by Woolf is like a half-hour spent among really clever good friends. It lets me imagine, for a little while, that I could perform at their level. Maybe that’s how JW feels too.

  50. Xena Fan says:

    I saw a copy of the Granta issue today at ‘Bounders’ during my lunch hour. The Alison Bechdel ‘article’ was only two pages long; some drawings (including her father) compared to some pictures.

  51. Donna says:

    I got the impression that Winterson wasn’t doing any comparisons, but rather complementing Woolf. I mean, I read this blog and get a leaping sense of being in good company as well, even though this board can be intimidating what with all the brainiacs that post here and stuff. I agree with what Alex said, “It lets me imagine, for a little while, that I could perform at their level.” That’s how I also interpret JW’s comment.

    JW’s local title cracked me up: “Well, in my village, down from Stow, my humble collection of cottage-plus-ruin-plus-outbuildings-plus-wood where I live is often pointed out by a rather grand lady near by as the abode of ‘our homosexual authoress’ (the only one in the village). I suppose I should be writing racy novels in a tweed skirt and brogues, but then everybody else around here wears those.” I wish there were grand ladies and gents living near me in L.A. so they could dub me with some antiquated eccentric title like that–but not exactly like that since I’m not an author. That’d give me a kick.

  52. Ready2Agitate says:

    OK I picked up Granta today in Harvard Square as a gift to my spouse (birthday on Thursday – very convenient). I read AB’s essay in the store (it’s quite good) and then decided the whole thing seemed worth reading ($16.99 fyi).

  53. R2A says:

    I only just got the humor of our own Ginjoint commenting (somewhere above) on the delectability of a bevvy called a Gin Sling. Hee!

  54. Ready2Agitate says:

    (Aw shucks, AB’s removed the “slowdown cowboy” msg, prolly in deference to our various whines abt it) (Anyway, if I change my nomenclature slightly, I don’t get the msg., which is now, a much more subdued admonishment.)

  55. Daniel Ted says:

    Is your Granta contribution available online. I can’t find it on the Granta site.


  56. NLC says:

    Ready2Agitate: … as a gift to my spouse (birthday on Thursday – very convenient).

    Jan 8, an excellent day for Birthday! (Which we share with David Bowie, Larry Storch, Soupy Sales and Stephen Hawking)

    R2A: Be sure to send along my best.

  57. LizGig says:

    Someone should write some Bechdel/Donoghue slash fic.

  58. Ready2Agitate says:

    and Elvis!!!! Happy Birthday (or HBD) to NLC! 🙂

  59. NLC??? Is it your BD???

  60. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    The Chickadee. Nature’s Little Speedfreak. You never see them doing anything slowly.

    When I was a kid in New Hampshire (circa 1960) we would get Evening Grosbeaks at the feeder.

    Startlingly yellow against the snow.

  61. ksbel6 says:

    The little girl I used to babysit when I was in high school, who is now turning 23, also has a birthday Jan 8 🙂

  62. Ginjoint says:

    Happy Birthday, NLC! At least you’ve got fun people sharing your birthday. All I’ve got is Patty Duke and Morey Amsterdam. Morey Amsterdam!

  63. --MC says:

    Ginjoint, Morey Amsterdam is all right. Buddy!
    Speaking of whom, I only just got around to reading the acknowledgements page of “Fun Home” — I suck, I know — and discovered Alison’s shout-out to Amy R. as “..my Buddy, my Sally.”

  64. Yasso / Bora says:

    See, now I’m going to go buy Granta. The power of blogging.