Place: Bronx, NY
Noise: Nothing Man - Pearl Jam
Hi Grandpa -
That's so nice you're promoting my book so much!
I have to be frank with you, though (and eventually must be frank with
my parents and family members - our school librarian has already
chosen not to purchase a copy for our school library after I gave her
a copy of the galleys). This has been a long time coming and I've
been nervous since I wrote it: The book is good. I think it is. I
think people are honest with me when they say it is. I posted copies
on online forums a few years ago and I received several fan letters -
it's meant something to a good number of people already. However,
there is material in there that, honestly, if I were a parent, I
wouldn't want a child of mine reading if they were under the age of 14
or 15. This content includes: vulgar language, sexual situations,
excessive under-age drinking, and an entire story where the main
character has an eating disorder - and suffers no bad consequences.
It is, in no way, reflective of values I hold or of a life I'd choose
for myself, but it is something I wrote to be reflective of teenage
life as I saw it in high school. I work in a high school now. I hear
what goes on. Things are still messy and vulgar and confusing (they
always have been, always will be). Most of the stuff in the book is
stuff the kids I work with have already seen, done, or at the very
least, felt - but that doesn't make it OK to give it legitimacy in
My editor personally does not view this as a Young Adult Book. It is
being sold as one because it has no other category, really, and the
primary interested audience will be teenagers. However, both he and I
agree it's an adult-themed novel that, in an ideal world, would be
marketed to and read by adults. Such is the business of making money
on something, though. The school librarian here agreed. She loved
it, wanted to talk about it. However, she said that if we put a copy
in the library, because it's me, and I work there, folks will be
taking it out, reading it and reading into it, and there would be the
potential to get either myself or the school in trouble with
conservative parents, or parents of young children.
I can send you a copy of the galleys as well, if you like, so that if
you want to continue to give me nudges, it is forever appreciated. I
just want you to know what you're promoting so that I don't,
inadvertently, embarrass you or make you feel mislead.
The ethics behind this, for me, have been frustrating and very grey.
I feel like it's very good writing and good stories. Sometimes
immature, but wholly good. However, it's difficult for me to have
everyone be so supportive when I know, if they read it, they may be
angry, or disagree with it - be angry at me or disappointed in my
choices of topics. It is even more difficult for me to personally
promote the book when I'm so familiar with the content and so familiar
with a parent's, library's or school's goals in giving children
exposure to positive modeling for life. The morals and values in the
book are ultimately good - there is subtle negativity on things that
are destructive. However, some children and some adults may not read
it that way - people may read it in any way they choose. That is the
good and the bad of literature.
I just wanted you to know.
Russellsent me this early this AM. I haven't even brought myself to read it yet.
I'm the most heartbroken girl you've ever known.
Life is getting good again, and I'm applying to K-8 Schools in the area for the fall. And I'm consulting. Here's a nugget to fill some space:
[15:54] Nina Westbury: i'm dating a jamaican guy!
[15:56] jenniever: ho!
[15:56] jenniever: hot!
[15:56] jenniever: not ho!
[15:56] jenniever: oh god!
[15:56] jenniever: i didn't mean that!
[15:57] jenniever: i'm a horrible person!
[15:57] jenniever: i meant that it was hot!
[15:57] jenniever: not that you were a ho!
[15:57] jenniever: oh geeze...
[15:57] Nina Westbury: HA HA HA, i love you
[15:57] jenniever: i feel really stupid
[15:58] Nina Westbury: ha ha, why, i know it was a typo
[15:59] jenniever: one time I typed 'shit' when i meant 'ship'
[15:59] jenniever: and I was typing that 'I'm just a ship lost at sea'
[15:59] jenniever: that was a terrible mental image
[15:59] Nina Westbury: one time i typed prostitute when i meant sweater
My dad just wrote me an email asking how "it" was going.
By "it", he meant everything. I've changed a lot of things in the last few months and at this point, he's stopped listing them and just started calling them a collective "it." Bless his heart.
I have an offer on an apartment in Yonkers that's very adult - and by adult, I mean it has a jacuzzi, hardwood floors, marble countertops, marble bathroom floor, all new fixtures and a FUCKING TERRACE (not to mention a parking space). Lots of closets and two big fucking rooms (EIK/Living Room & Bedroom - both 14' by 14'). Somehow, my real estate agent found this place in my price range, walking distance from a train, in a really nice building and in a nice neighborhood. And if I get it, it'll be all mine. She's a saint and deserves my undying devotion. Now if I can only get past the Co-Op board...
Job is good, too. Starts on the 16th and I'm nervous as hell to be working for a place that's so uppity. Have to buy some new classy clothes, man. Walter says he'll bring the LeoTV kids by for a visit and I think that'd be hella nice.
Things are OK. Once my health insurance starts again, I'm starting in with a very good therapist who can hopefully work me off of the Prozac eventually. As a side note, god bless Prozac. I'd forgotten to take it for two days last week and woke up in the morning of day three with really bad anxiety. And I'd forgotten how it felt completely - I guess that means it's working and, goddamn, I don't miss that shit at all. I'm totally not forgetting to take it again.
I'm no ignoring any of you. I just have a lot of shit going on. Be patient, and when I'm no longer homeless or jobless, I'll have more time and more happiness, and therefore, I'll be much better about getting back to you.
Let's be frank: It's been a hell of a year for me. But, it's almost over. This is my last week at the place that pretty much ruined my life for a brief period.
I looked at apartments this weekend - three that were only so-so. The nice part about all of them, though, is that they would be 100% mine if I took them and I could afford them. I've got two jobs that are offering me good amounts of money to move from The School when my time is up here. One of them I'm actually very enthusiastic about - it's at the Columbia Business School, which is swimming in dough, and they really seem to like me. So, this transition is fine. I knew I'd be fine. I just didn't feel that way. And doing close to 13 hour days for the last three months hasn't helped me keep perspective on things. I know I'm very very tired and I'm not processing things the way I should. I'm calling a therapist on Columbia's health plan today. I paid off my credit card bills. My last tie to Hoboken is a gym membership that I have to cancel. I'm ready to move on from all this shit.
What have we learned from this? Change fucking hurts, but life is too precious and time is too short to not change when you're not happy.
I'm ready for a vacation. I have been since last March. If I can get through this bit, and I'm alive in January, I'm ready to blow the two grand I've saved on it. Dear God, it's time.
"I think you can hold out for only so long. I think secretly each and every one of us longs to fall, and knows in a deep wise place in our brains that surrender is the means by which we gain, not lose, our lives. We know this, and that is why we have bad backs and pulled necks and throbbing pain between our shoulder blades. We want to go down, and it hurts to fight the force of gravity." - Lauren Slater, Lying
So, I had a bad night.
I remember feeling this way before. It's called depression. I went through two very destructive months in South Africa with this demon and I plan on cutting him off where he starts this time. Relationships, for me, are a bitch. Not just the fruity romantic ones that everyone thinks of when they think of relationships. No, I'm talking about good, old fashioned knowing someone. I can't do it very well, and I'm a naturally bubbly and altogether talkative person, and this doesn't mesh well with my irrational fears about human relationships.
I should have known after the first bout of what I like to call "teh crazy" that I needed to have some semi-permanent solution that didn't involve self-medicating with exercise, anal-ness about food and avoidance of all substances that could even remotely affect my mood. This means therapy. And now, I'm working on accepting medication.
I've spent the last two months reading about what's wrong with me, and I feel more comfortable asking. So, today, as a preliminary, I'm going to ask my gynecologist for a small prescription of prozac for what is undeniably an unchecked and long destructive anxiety disorder. This is hard for me and it was hard coming to this decision. But I'm very proud of it.
I was proud for a very long time of being the one person in my certifiably crazy family to not be medicated and to be entirely functional. I had a stable relationship, a good job and I could really live on my own. However, I've recently, in my spiral, rejected two of these three typical rulers of success, putting in jeopardy the third. And while they were perhaps not the worst decisions I could have made, I could have cared for myself better in making them.
Here is where I exhale: Thank God for the person who has held my hand through the last two months. The people, even: Rich, Kas, my mom (surprisingly), my dad, and a bunch of other patient and wonderful friends I have who have been kind enough to extend their talents in overanalysis and patience on long phone calls. But one in particular. He not only has physically picked me up out of bed when I couldn't, but was the first to pinpoint my problem, and the most proactive about talking me through the arduous process of coming to terms with the fact that my head is not, and never will be, entirely under my control, and that making the decision to accept medical help in both professional and pill form does not mean I am my mother, my grandmother or my father. It means I am acting on my desires to continue to be successfully functional and rational in what is undoubtedly a difficult but positively directed period in my life. It is almost entirely thanks to him (he did everything short of making the appointment for me) that I finally got my ultrasound, that I will find out what is wrong with my lower abdomen, and will, in turn, act on fixing my head as well. He has been compassionate, supportive and continuously surprises me as to how patient he can be. Especially when I cry for no reason at all and I call him about it. Like the time a Google Map of Nyack made me wail like a banshee.
He doesn't read this. He thinks LiveJournal is pretty much for social imbeciles. But I wanted to write this all down now, so I could read it again later when my internal power goes out again. Which it will - it always gets worse before it gets better. I'd like to think last night was the beginning of the worst, which means that after this bit, all I can do is go up. And I'm good at that when I get my act together.
Oh, and James Spader is awesome.