There’s an epic musical opening tonight in the East Village and I’m in it because of cake.

Sometimes there are too many storylines you can’t pick.  In this case, the threads keep getting longer and more entwined.  I better just get started now and end up where I end up because the information is too good to keep it to myself.  Although, if you know anyone who knows me, or if you know me, you know that I don’t shut up about it.  It’s what I do everyday.  I eat cake.

Sometimes I just call it Survival Cake (not the sexiest of names).  Or what about Fun-Fun Anti-Inflammation Cake?  Listen, this cake by any other name would keep you alive and pain free enough to be jumping around with kids half your age and double your talent in a joke-folk musical about the epic tale of Gilgamesh written by your genius friend, Phoebe Kreutz.  This is my present reality, and it’s made possible by many things, including my ever-evolving recipe for turmeric cake.

It can look like this:

 That’s the lemon/vanilla version.

I make chocolate/cinnamon/cayenne too:

Is that a car dashboard in the background of that landscape of chocolate turmeric cake?  Why yes it is.  It’s part of my turmeric journey.  The turmeric journey includes an actual road trip that illustrated to me via bucket seats in a rental Kia the importance and effectiveness of this substance to my daily functioning.  I laughed that on other tours, it was pot brownies that were the medicinal snacks of choice in the minivan.  This time, it was turmeric cake and tons of it that I wouldn’t share with Charlie, because his back is fine. The ones I made on the road were pretty hardcore — made with whatever we could find at the Safeway.

But I want to give you my basic recipe before we go further, because it’s important.

  • 1 carton of eggwhites (or 10 eggwhites equivalent in whole eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed (meal or whole seeds.  I like Trader Joe’s golden toasted)
  • 2 Tbsp  chia (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour (also kind of optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Turmeric (heaping… heap it up)
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa (raw or what have you)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla if you want
  • pinch of cayenne to taste
  • sweetener of choice – sugar, maple, agave.  I use tsp or 2 of powdered stevia (the straight stuff is best, like from Trader Joe’s. Don’t get it cut with anything like dextrose if you can avoid)
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • shake or 3 of baking powder

For lemon version, just use lemon juice from one lemon or lime.  And I like to add about a tsp or so of whole pepper kernels.

You put it in a bowl, usually dry ingredients under the wet ones, and then you blend the shit out of it with a hand immersion stick blender until the batter is a batter.  Like pancake batter.  Thicker or thinner depending on your taste.  If it’s thicker, it’s likely to come out more like biscotti which is also great.  Put it in a small-ish baking pan or pie pan at about 350 for like 15-20 minutes.  Go take a shower.  Come back and press on the surface to see how done it is.  It’s usually done when you can smell it.  It smells great.  It’s the smell of anti-inflammation.  It’s the smell of pain-free mobility!!  Which, to an arthritic accordion player, drummer, singer who once missed a gig because standing up made her cry, smells pretty fucking good.

The thing that I learned about turmeric is that you have to eat a shit ton of it.  The dumb capsules say like one or two of these pills with a meal.  I don’t know; maybe that helps Barbie’s arthritis, but for my degenerative disk disease-aggravated sciatica, I had to start at two big honking tablespoons a day until I noticed a difference — the difference being I would spend less and less of my days in exhausting pain.  And now… like I said, I’m singing and dancing and acting with this very exuberant cast of Go Go Gilgamesh.  And my midtown chiropractor misses me.  We just don’t see each other like we used to.

And of course, turmeric you can take in so many different ways.  Teas, milk, curries…  You’ve heard about the golden paste?  Another sexy name.  There’s just no way to make “paste” sound like something attractive that you’d actually want to put in your mouth.

I find that the cake is the way for me, because cake is actually something I do want to put in my mouth.  Just about any time in fact.  And I love coffee.  So now I can have coffee and cake.  Also, sometimes I do an unsweetened, savory version omitting sweetener and sometimes adding an herb, like cilantro or rosemary.  The recipe is versatile and travels well.  Look, here it is with me on this bus to Washington D.C. for a gig I played there (three hours solo accordion playing Russian and cowboy songs – it’s a living).

I will write more about my initial road trip (Lusterlit West Coast BBC tour!) that opened my eyes to the effect of turmeric in my life and on my body in my next post.  It will make sense, sort of.  But I wanted to get this out there.  Get it started.  Let the tale be told.  My tale includes my participating in the telling of this one:

Go Go Gilgamesh! has five shows as a part of the 2017 Frigid New York Festival.  We open today.  TODAY.  8:50 pm at The Kraine Theater in the East Village.  85 E. 4th Street.

Get tickets here: http://www.horsetrade.info/event/67153edafbf86148a1617559c8cd08ba

I know that second picture doesn’t make any sense to you, but it was yesterday morning as we were going to the theater for our 9am tech rehearsal.  Wake up and make the art!!  You don’t even know the super-human feats of maneuvering I did with two bags of costumes and two instruments on that morning commute from Bushwick to the East Village.  There was one moment when I looked at the guy behind me who wanted to get out too, and I just said, “I don’t know how to do this.”  And then somehow, I had the lip of my drum and the handle of my accordion case in one hand and 2 bags in the other and I heaved myself out before the doors closed.  It was like I was some new kind of superhero or something.  New kinds of superheroes are born everyday as new circumstances create them.  I became Remarkably Agile Overloaded Multi-Instrumentalist Actor Girl able to maneuver morning rush hour commute without killing or being killed!  And it’s not radiation that gave me my superpowers, but cake.  Mmmm… cake.  And I guess that would mean my kryptonite is still… bad conversations I can’t get out of?  Something like that.

Come to the opening of the play tonight!!  I get to play a goddess and an old man!!  It’s written by a genius and performed by brilliant people who are directed by a dedicated visionary!  And we got a very nice lighting director yesterday.  Come come!  You need to be entertained.  You’re not on this earth to not take my advice about where the great entertainment is.

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Lusterlit at Halyards tonight

We’re playing at Halyards (not 12th St. Bar and Grill) tonight.  Halyards is located in Gowanus.  I’m also working on a song inspired by the block of 3rd Ave. between President and Union in the neighborhood of Gowanus (Marin Gazzaniga’s project MAPPING GOWANUS).  This is just to further illustrate the connectedness of everything.  I mean Carrie Fisher and her mom dying days of each other?  They were so connected.  That’s a hell of a mother-daughter relationship.  My mother and I think of each other constantly.  Kind of like all day.  We don’t talk on the phone.  Last time we texted, she sent me these emogees: mom-emogee

I think it means she loves me.  I don’t know if we’ll die a day apart from each other, but we will die.  And I hear her voice all the time in my head as it is anyway.  We don’t even have to talk on the phone anymore.  We’re both the single people in the family now.  We tend to travel around the same time.  My mom with her Korean Pharmacists Association and also with her Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Me, with my bands.  I remember one summer I stopped in to see her at the tail end of a Debutante Hour southeast tour.  I drove in from Charlottesville, VA.  She had just come back from Richmond.  She was with her best friends, Julia and Nancy, a West Indian lady and a caucasian octogenarian.  I had just come back from touring with Debutante Hour.de.hourWe had both just come back from road trips in the South with a white girlfriend and a black girlfriend!  That’s weird, right?  Another similarity is that we’re both into things we can’t see.  My mother is in a cult, and I’m new agey as all get out.  My mother joined a religion with really strict rules because rules make her feel safe.  I made up my own religion that includes the possibility of all truths and freedom up the wazoo.  See, we’re like two sides of the same coin.  We both believe in good food and feeding people.  Maybe the coin we incarnate is a meal.  We might be two sides of dinner.

Okay, so all this to say Lusterlit, my duo with Charlie Nieland playing all songs about books on a lot of instruments (guitar, bass, Janggu, accordion, lots of singing) is playing at Halyards tonight as a part of Terry Radigan’s RADIGAN ROUND UP.  She presents several songwriters and is playing herself tonight as a part of a collaboration with Rachelle Garniez and Amanda Homi called VickiKristinaBarcelona.  Also, Sasha Dobson is one of the songwriters tonight!  Holy cow, some of my favorite geniuses are on the bill.  I needed to tell you about it.

TONIGHT – December 29th, 8pm
Halyards
406 3rd Ave @6th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11215
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/145904332564563/

I had time with geniuses last night too.  These geniuses.  NAN TURNER and her group NAN and The One Night Stands. (Plus John S. Hall’s new band, SENSATION PLAY!)
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I get to shake it as a part of Nan’s dance troupe.  It’s dance, it’s performance art.  It’s part Janet Jackson and part Bob Fosse and all Nan.  She brings people together–glorious, creative, fun and brilliant types–as part of her annual NANCATION show in New York.  I love her art so much because it’s all her, streaming through, with honesty, with humor, with obvious joy and depth too and badassedness.  Lots of that.  Making it badass to be weird and to be kind and to be expressive.  You can check out her bandcamp: https://nanturner.bandcamp.com/ and also her band with Matt Roth – SCHWERVON.

Also, I leave you with today’s turmeric cake:
img_9950It’s raw cacao, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne in an egg white base with chia and toasted flax seeds. Cacao nibs on top.  Apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Sweetened with stevia.  Keeping me alive and shushing the sciatica….

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Lusterlit in Brooklyn on te%

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Lusterlit on the West Coast and The Times

I’m in Mia’s apartment on the opposite coast.  My pajamas are the same, but I listened to a completely different set of neighbors having sex this morning (why do neighbors come in sets, like legos?), and it made me miss my lovely Bushwick neighbors.  I don’t know why it’s preferable to wake up to their sex noises as opposed to these perfectly nice strangers.  Maybe it’s just bias for the familiar.  However, I’m not here for the familiar, although I am to a degree.  The familiar that I’m here for is the playing and making of songs with my Lusterlit bandmate, Charlie Nieland.  The unfamiliar part is the West Coast.  It smells different out here.  So different.  I was just texting this morning about it with my friend, filmmaker Lisa Barnstone who is in Finland with her son as he listens to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse what he wrote for a performance Tuesday of new work from composers who happen to be in the fifth grade. She likes the smells of San Francisco too… I was saying that I wish we could record smells like we do songs and sounds…  We could make smell-notes to ourselves.  Next iphone.  Smell symphonies… holy cow.  A whole new medium of art.  Storytelling through our noses.  Yikes.  I’m getting excited.

I’m also excited because I’m in print!  It hasn’t happened too much before.  I don’t know how I feel about it, but I suppose it doesn’t matter (how I feel).  The bottom line is, here’s the print, and the fun thing is buying the magazine at the counter at the airport and opening it up and getting to tell the cashier, “Hey!  look!  That’s me!”  And she was happy for me and impressed.  The important thing is that Bernice got a kick out of it…

Me and Bernice sharing a moment at 6:30am at JFK.
fullsizerender-11And there’s more online but here’s the spread for the Sunday NYTimes Magazine.  My friend Alison took this one.  She stills gets that delivered on the weekend.  Like it’s 1995 or something.  I like old school values too though.
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AND… look, there was a rainbow outside the book store waiting for us and our first show at ADOBE BOOKS on our LUSTERLIT Bushwick Book Club West Coast Tour!

fullsizerender-7My friend Lisa pointed out that this photo looks “fake as s***.”  That’s the filter I used–it’s called “Fake As S***” or “HDR.”  But really, a double rainbow, and it smells good here.

And I got to meet up with Mia and meet her friend Hawa who were just gorgeous and opened up and spread their gorgeous around the room until we were all filled with it and we became so good looking we didn’t recognize each other but still appreciated it and the sharing of ideas and feeling.  That’s what happens when you play songs about books.  I’m telling you.

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fullsizerender-9Find out about all our tour dates here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/907566202681474/

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RELEASE – Songs about books this WEDNESDAY at HiFi!!!!

You know, you write some songs about books, and they seem innocent enough, but then they gain life and become their own sentient beings, and they demand things like videos where all your friends jump naked into a pool.  Or they want to be played all the time and then recorded, and then they want other songs about books to hang out with and soon you have a whole album (or EP), and then that album wants to be released, so you’ve got to have art and a party.  And then they want keys to the car and they’re trying on your clothes.  It’s a spiral.. downward, upward, outward….

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You’re invited to the party–the party that songs about books wanted–on Wednesday, September 28th at HiFi in the East Village.  Producer and musician/songwriter, Charlie Nieland and I are playing as our new, lit-based duo, Lusterlit.  He’s got an incredible album of songs written for Bushwick Book Club too that begged for this party.  And we’re partying with the awesome singer/songwriter, Jessie Kilguss, who is also releasing her recording of BBC songs.  AND we’re having special guest performances from BBC contributors Sweet Soubrette, Casey Holford, Pearl Rhein and John S. Hall.  That’s the thing about songs about books–they’re very social.  They’re like 20 year olds–they’re all about their friends and hanging out.  Everybody dates everybody; it gets incestuous.  I mean, if you’ve never hung out with songs about books, you’ll see what I mean Wednesday night.  We’re all backing each other up on our songs, switching instruments and harmonies all night!  And then we’ll get pizza… metaphorically.  I’m still actually in my forties, and I’m lactose intolerant.

Here’s the video for the book-inspired song party!

Here are the details again:

Wednesday, September 28th, 7:30-10:30pm
HiFi
169 Ave. A
NYC

Here’s the video made by Charlie Nieland for one of my frisky songs to be released on my Vonnegut-inspired EP EVERYTHING IS SATEEN.

EUPHIO – Noise from the Void

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GIRL POOL in Berlin

What could possibly be more pleasing than a girl pool.  Who doesn’t like girls and pools.  A pool of girls is a desirable thing, as far as things go.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve only experienced the most satisfying, exhilarating of girl pools with the most talented, true, fearless girls one can know.  That’s how my experience of them has been.

The video, inspired by Chapter 7 of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, is for a song written for Bushwick Book Club.  It’s being shown at the Berlin Short Film Festival today.  I’m not there in Berlin, but the director of the video, Deb Magocsi is!  (Incidentally, I met Deb in a girl pool known as the Main Squeeze Orchestra.  I’ve occupied many, and they have all been glorious.)

These are shots from the original Girl Pool.  

Phyllis Junick
FullSizeRender (5)Margaret Langan
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Janine Diorio….  (I don’t have a picture of her).

Gail Malone (the blonde with the sweet smile at the end of the table)
FullSizeRender (1)Sharon Murphy…

Tricia Balsamello.. (look at those eyes!!)

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Donna Ingargiola Mustafa…
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Those are some of my girls from the Girl Pool of M&A Goldman Sachs.

Some of the other girl pools I’m lucky enough to have occupied are:

(as mentioned earlier) The Main Squeeze Orchestra
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The Debutante Hour
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and GOLD

gold

(we have a show tomorrow night, 9pm at Union Hall in Park Slope!)

People have all kinds of luck. I personally am fond of parking mojo, but I’m also blessed with knowing pretty much only amazing people.  It’s hard for me not to surrounded by geniuses, adorable people and  adorable geniuses of all genders and degrees of genders identifying more or less with one, several or no genders.

That’s all I wanted to say.  And one of the happiest occasions of my life was making the video for Girl Pool.  I can’t explain how fun it was and how many adorable, very good-looking geniuses it brought together at Mark Lerner’s pool in upstate New York and in the offices of Enstoa (thank you Jordan Cram!)  And I’m happy that Berliners get to peek in the Girl Pool that keeps swirling due to the forces of art, love and Vonnegut.

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If You Shove Anything Into Your Mouth Blindly, It Is Abuse (a.k.a I Can Abuse Anything)

I Can Abuse Anything

If it feels anywhere near good
at all
I can do it
to death.
A good rule of thumb for identifying abuse is
if you do it until your eyes roll back in your head.
A good rule of thumb is
if you do it until it hurts, it’s probably bad for you.
Also, if you do it naked in a closet.
Also if you won’t ever tell anybody you do it naked in a closet.

There are the obvious objects of abuse:
alcohol
chocolate
opiates
TV

But when you open your mind, you really can
abuse anything that feels
remotely in the vicinity
of good
at all.
My ancestral demand of hypercorrectness has honed my addictive tendencies to the razor point
of superhuman ability.  Surely
this is a new height.  Surely,
this is the new edge
of the obsessive envelope.
I made a new mundanity.
I didn’t know this was going to happen.
You just live life and do your normal
jog and dodge around pain.
You’re doing it for yourself and for
your own dislike of pain,
but look what you’re also doing for humanity.

Here, humanity.
Here’s a list of the unabuseable
that I have successfully abused:
 

kabocha squash
sweet potatoes
avocados
coconut
tomatoes
blueberries
fresh figs
watermelon
steak
flax seeds
milk kefir
sleep

You’re welcome.

I would abuse sunsets and sunrises
but they won’t let me.
They run on their own timing.
It’s nice that they happen everyday though.

I have eaten blueberries to the point of shame.
That’s a lot of blueberries.

 

***************************************************

 

Kabocha squash. The spiral of squash. A downward or upward spiral. The choice is yours.
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Also this:
photo (3)Even these people want you to act on your base, insatiable appetite for discount socks and discontinued beauty items.
Jesus.  Like I didn’t have enough problems.
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Yesterday morning and later this week!

A remarkable day..  It was a remarkable day.  Someone asked me the other day what I enjoy doing.  I thought that was the weirdest question.  What do you mean, what do I enjoy enjoy doing?  I enjoy doing everything I’m doing.  The day before, I drove a car on the New Jersey turnpike to get to a new acupuncturist.  I enjoyed that.  I enjoyed being by myself in the car and drinking coffee and seeing the wide expanse of sky that the Turnpike bestows you, and I enjoyed wondering what kind of birds those were, circling and circling ahead, and I enjoyed the calm that comes to you when you make it outside the city, when the city finally lets you go, no matter how many obstacles it puts in your path as you carve and scrape your way down Flushing Avenue to the BQE ramp.  I enjoyed how you can hear yourself louder as you’re driving fast, alone in your car, or in the car that was so kindly lent to you by a friend from Texas.  It’s great to have friends from Texas!  I enjoy that too…  What do I enjoy?  Jesus.  What do I not enjoy… Okay, you don’t have to answer.  There are a lot of answers to that.  But this post is not about that.

This post is about New Jersey.

And gambling?  And risk..  and rainbows!  And driving.  And drivers.

It’s a normal day in New York, meaning that it started out raining and then got really sunny.  It was  a balmy 56 degrees… In NJ, it rained again in the afternoon, a torrent for four minutes, and then a sudden stop, and then this rainbow!

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But you see, the morning began with an email asking if I was available for a job this afternoon.  I said yes.  Even though Google was skeptical (they warned me that this could be a fake email; what the..?).  It turned out to be real.  They needed someone to come to a studio in East Hanover, NJ for an infomercial for an online casino.  Yay!  Another opportunity to make rent!  And although my father told me on his deathbed never to play the lottery, he also told me never not pay rent.

They sent a car for me.  It was huge.  An SUV with two rows of seats.  For me.  It stopped at my corner in Bushwick and waited for me.  It shuttled me to East Hanover, NJ.  I got to see this:

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The rain had stopped, and the mist that was lingering was beautiful.  Lower Manhattan was beautiful.

And then the sky was doing this in New Jersey.

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What??

And the car was so big, I was like, “I just want to lay down…” The driver said, yes, of course.  It was my car…  So I laid down and looked at the sky.    And it reminded me of rides in my parents’ car as a kid and watching the telephone lines dip and point on our way to Montgomery Mall or whatever Korean dinner party we were going to.  But this New Jersey sky was great to look at, maybe even better?  Better than those skies I gazed up at from my father’s Chevy Chevette hatchback?  Or my mom’s station wagon with the wooden side panels?  I think it was better.

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And then it hailed and rained a torrent when we arrived at the studio.  And then it stopped, and there was this as mentioned before:

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See…  what’s not to enjoy?

Also, there’s this other story.  It’s weird, but there’s a portion of it being aired this week.  Watch my interview on a show called “In Harlem” this week, January 14th at 4pm on MNN Channel 2 and you get part of the story.

The interview is strange and great because it wasn’t scheduled.  I just happened to walk into the MNN studio that afternoon because I was showing it to my friend and amazing art director and co-producer of my TV show, Storm Garner.  We walked in and then were asked to be interviewed on this show where the guests had cancelled last minute, and I thought, ‘Sure, fine,’ and then I ended up having this incredible conversation with the host, Gerald Shultz, who I ended up asking to help me with technical directing my own TV show (which was fortunate for me because he’s a genius).  I’m also now enjoying knowing someone who doesn’t read fiction, but operating manuals for pleasure.

There’s more back story because the night before the interview, I saw my friend, Rachel Feinstein’s taping of her Comedy Central special at the theater across the street from the MNN studio and drank way too much tequila at the afterparty and then woke up not caring about anything I used to care about and then went back to the MNN studio wearing yesterday’s make-up, because really, there are no requirements in this life but to love people.  Or love… something.

So there’s that.  Watch the show and the interview — “IN HARLEM” January 14th, 4pm on Channel 2!!  I talk about the Bushwick Book Club and the show I’m making, THE LALALA SHOW… which will also air SOON.  Ack.  And a rainbow today.  Can you believe???  Thank you, weekend…

 

 

 

 

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Unusual Squirrel

Does everyone do this? Wake up and immediately check email? I’m still in bed, and I reach to the nightstand and swipe on the inbox, watch the swirly asterisk turn..

The first message I read today was from my mom, who’s been mad at me since I left my day job. It was titled, “Unusual Squirrel.” There may be no better email subject line than that. This might be the best one… for the rest of my life. I’m okay with that.

The message included this text:

We found him on Saturday.
It’s so huge and fat and well nourished.

Yesterday was the day your dad died 15 years ago.
I don’t feel that long ago.
Have a good day.

Sent from my iPad

And these photos:

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I don’t know… I get such a kick out of my mom finding something near delight in a fat squirrel.  And even though she’s still mad at me, she can share this fat squirrel and thinking about my dad’s passing in the same email.  It was a really good first email of the day.  Will tomorrow’s be better?  Better than “Unusual Squirrel?”  Probably not possible.  I would like to see my inbox try.

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Morning

Some mornings you can feel more.  Some mornings just talk to you and don’t shut up.  This morning, the air was soft, and it was romantic, looking at the Bushwick rooftops from the elevated train platform.  There was romance.  I’m sure that’s what it was.  I didn’t take a picture.  But I took a picture of the lady’s tote that I saw soon afterwards:

1.12.15_dwell“Dwell in possibility” was the quote.  I loved it.  Dwell in…  yes, if you’re going to dwell in anything, it may as well be in possibility.  I’ve often said that I’m a citizen of doom, because that’s where I was born.  I know all about it.  But who cares where you were born.  If you have a chance to choose where you dwell, you can choose to dwell in possibility.  I thought about Dickinson’s famous solitude.  She chose very consciously where she would dwell.  And what company she would keep.  It sounds like she was pretty unwavering in this.   I thought, “Emily Dickinson was so smart.”  She really had it going on.  She really knew what was what.  Here’s the whole poem:

 

 

 

 

 

I dwell in Possibility – (466)
BY EMILY DICKINSON

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
Dwell…  I like that “well” is in this word.  A deep well of feeling well..  choose deliberately where you dwell.. may as well be possibility.
Then I saw this guy…  I just thought I’d capture him, because he’s someone my mom 1.12.2015_subway2
would look at and say, “Does his mom know his hair is like that?”  I’ve always loved a good fro myself.  I can’t help it, I’m pro hair.
And then I saw this guy:
1.12.2015.subway3
Who I LOVE… I see this Chinese man several times a week.  We tend to get on the same train, the same car.  I think he gets on earlier than me?  Later?  I like seeing him, because he’s my unspoken train friend, and because his face is one that always has an extra happiness in it.  I will try and get a better picture next time.  Some faces have built in tragedy.  My mom’s best friend from Korea is that way.  Mrs. Ma.  She’s a beautiful, beautiful woman.  Always has been.  She has this delicate, fragile femininity and pale, pale skin.  And if you look at the photos, as far back as high school, her face had the tragedy behind it.  Behind her eyes and the vulnerability of her chin, there is this sadness that is blooming.  That sadness in her eyes speaks of big, epic doom, like in Russian novels.  I’ve never actually read a Russian novel.  I want to read The Brothers Karamazov this year though.
This Chinese man..  he is the opposite of Mrs. Ma.  He has built in joy.  Like his joy is so loud, there’s no question in it.  It’s just the frequency his face emits, has always emitted.  Will keep emitting…  People say that Asian faces are not as expressive.. what is the word?  Inscrutable.  I don’t know how true this is.  I mean, there is a thing about showing emotion and about formality.  There are rules, but goodness knows, no one loves tragedy and drama more than Koreans.  Except maybe the Chinese?  I was speaking with a member of the Main Squeeze Orchestra who is Chinese, this awesome woman, Elaine Yau, and she’s learning to play the erhu.  She said the Chinese love tragedy too.  Her teacher wouldn’t teach erhu to her daughter because  the instrument is too sad for children.  You should have already given up on life and the possibility of happiness before you touch it.  So Elaine’s learning it herself.
What was I talking about… faces.  Right.  I think that “inscrutable” business is something white people say because they didn’t grow up in an environment where all the faces were Asian.  You have to go to Seoul, and see only Asian faces everywhere, in the advertisements and on TV.. every type of person will be Asian… there will be nothing that an Asian face can’t be or express or represent.  Then we can see what you say.  People just need to get out of the country more.  That’s all.  We need to have mandatory world traveling as U.S. citizens.  Like some countries have mandatory military service for young people.  We need to have mandatory study abroad.  I’m telling you, it will cure some things.  At the very least, it could improve conversation.
Speaking of Asian faces… what is it about big ear muffs that make it so that people think it’s okay to “ching-chong” me?  I’m serious.  I get consistently more ching-chong noises when I’m wearing these
muffsthan when I’m not.  I must be asking for it.  Is that right?  Is there something in the audacity to wear loud head gear that says, “This girl wants you to yell nonsense at her.  She’s begging for it.”   Or does it say, “This girl has no boundaries!  She is aching for contact that transcends language.  Go ahead, just make unintelligible noises at her that poke fun at her race.”  It’s a mystery.  Is it because I look more like a hello kitty with these on?  I become closer in appearance to a large-headed, mute cartoon cat, so of course, I’m a receptacle for all those pent up desires to make another person uncomfortable.   I really don’t understand, but I will continue to study this phenomenon.  Once, I was ching-chonged walking through downtown Brooklyn, and I stopped and asked the guy why he was making those noises at me.  He said, “Oh… I’m sorry.  I just thought you couldn’t speak English.”  Right.  So if I don’t speak English, I am obviously fluent in gibberish.
This is a true story.
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© Susan Hwang 2017. Photo: Carrie Jordan, ShotsByCarrieLou.com. Site design by Billkwando@yahoo.com