Monday, July 30, 2012

One-Hit Wonders: July 2012 terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • "amazing little bitches" stream
  • fucking with tickling
  • believe deep down in your heart that you are destined to do the great things
  • rental cars in nort hollywood 0 millas
  • spinster party
  • what to write in wet cement
  • family tree of sisyphus
  • russian kids in diaper
  • you want those credit cards working come millatime

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My 15 Minutes


i’ve been living in a state of heightened reality this past week, where colors are brighter and food tastes stronger. i can see dancing in the shadows and the moon smiling at me. stars have been giving me high-fives just by twinkling. i know it’s the electrical current that’s been running through my body since the publication of my Modern Love essay in the New York Times. it’s a mighty powerful current, one that’s thrown my head into the clouds, feet off the ground, hands in the air, wave ’em like you just don’t care.

about an hour after my essay was up, i made my way to San Diego to attend Comic Con International 2012, where i worked the GEEK booth (i copy edit the magazine), wandered the main floor taking photos, attended one panel, and went drinking every night with the GEEK squad. being at Comic Con only intensified the surreality with its costumes, crowds, noise, events and general overstimulation (more on that in a future post). i spent three days there, having a ridiculously enjoyable (yet exhausting) time, and returning home the night before my essay came out in the sunday print edition of the Times.

that morning felt like christmas — or what i imagine christmas would feel like if i weren’t a jew and actually celebrated that silly little pagan holiday. i woke up early after barely having slept, excited to unwrap the sunday paper as though it were the lego set i wanted all year. my parents took me to brunch and told the waiter about my essay. i spent the afternoon with friends celebrating my big day at a local bar and returned home to find my inbox flooded with emails from people who had read my drivel.

i’m not gonna lie, that part has felt pretty damn good. of course, i expect my friends and parents to sing my praises as readily as i would sing theirs, but having strangers reach out to congratulate me has been the icing on an already very sugary cake. the emails i’ve received have been overwhelmingly positive, with only a handful of downers in the bunch, which is expected and doesn’t at all diminish the awesomeness of this experience. they seem to fall into a few general categories:
  • the other Goldenbergs: to date, i’ve heard from about six, all of whom told me my essay had been forwarded to them by numerous people and one of whom tried to sell me an “obama watch.” (?)
  • the writers: most have been single women in their thirties, though there have been a few men as well. the emails usually offer a warm congratulations and discuss the writer’s own desire to also be published in the Modern Love column; a few have included questions.
  • the married men who agree: i’ve been most surprised (and delighted) by these. in fact, i think more married men than women have emailed me to say their spouse didn’t change her surname upon marriage and couldn’t understand why any women would. sweet!
  • the single dudes asking for a date: i’m assuming this happens to anyone who writes about love and relationships, but i’ve received a number of invitations, some subtle, some direct. none will be accepted.
i’ve also been monitoring the noise on twitter and was happy to see my essay retweeted countless times. depending on who you believe, it’s either the best modern love column ever or the worst. some people found it hilarious, others found it sad, some thought it was lame, and still more thought i sounded crazy. one of my favorite tweets from the week: “that’s a lot of thinking before a first date.”

regarding all that thinking: i’m not saying i didn’t mean every word, but i definitely played up the “crazy” to make for a punchier essay. despite the neuroses i parade for your amusement on this blog, i like to think i’m fairly down to earth in real life and i think (hope?) my friends would affirm this assessment of myself. of course, i was excited to meet my namesake and hoping for the best, but i was also well aware that things could go south and not all that terribly devastated when they did. i bounced back rather quickly, as i tend to with these things, and now think about the events from that time not at all.

my larger point, which i hope doesn’t get overshadowed by all the gratuitous crazy, is that whole name-changing thing, which i feel very strongly about — not enough to picket weddings or try to pass laws forbidding women to take their husband’s last name, but enough to write this essay and hopefully get people thinking. it’s something that’s never felt right to me and i feel beyond lucky for the opportunity to express my viewpoint on such a big stage. 

other cool things that have happened as a result of the essay:
  • i was interviewed by the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch, which i’ve also blogged for, in an article titled Highland Park Writer Published in The New York Times
  • for a friend, i signed my first (and what will probably be my last) autograph. 
  • one of the other Goldenbergs wrote this awesome piece about our surname for My Life as a Goldenberg in Five Charts. (my parents really dug that one.)
  • i received a request to be interviewed for a project about love and relationships, which amuses me to no end as i’m hardly an expert on the matter. i know as much or as little as the next person and am really just making it up as i go along. still, i agreed to the interview as i’m a fame-hungry whore who wants to put my surname everywhere.
sadly, the one email i most hoped to receive, the one offering me a book deal, never came. i guess that means i’ll have to keep writing to keep my good name out there, which i intend to do. as always, thanks for reading. please don’t ever stop.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

So Much in Common, In Name Only

it's no exaggeration to say i've been dreaming about this day for years. when i meditate, i often visualize the things i want to manifest in my life. for this, i would picture my byline under the New York Times logo and Modern Love column header. it's a sight i've stared at with my eyes closed numerous times and to see it replicated now is surreal. there's certainly a more eloquent way to describe it, but it all feels like a dream. i've been thinking about dreams a lot lately, and if there is one lesson i will take away from the story of how this essay came to be, it's that the failure of one dream can lead to the realization of another. i hope you enjoy the piece.
“THIS man is going to be the father of my children,” I announced to my friends before I had even met him in person. “He has to be. It’s not like I’m going to meet another one again in my lifetime.” What I meant was another man who had my last name: Goldenberg...        

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Me and Modern Love

the day after my 36th birthday, i got an email from the editor of the Modern Love column, which runs in The New York Times every Sunday and examines contemporary issues in dating, parenthood, marriage and “any subject that might reasonably fit under the heading ‘Modern Love,’” according to the submission guidelines.

i had submitted a personal essay to the column about a month ago and waited impatiently for it to be rejected, as all the other essays i submitted there were. instead came the email notifying me that the editor, Daniel Jones, would like to “talk” to me about the essay. i was at work at the time and replied quickly with something clumsy that amounted to: “yeah, OK!!!! Let’s talk!” then i went downstairs and walked around the block.

i told exactly no one about this email despite wanting to tell everyone because i’m very superstitious and didn’t want to jinx myself by talking about something that was far from certain. by the end of that day, i had convinced myself i was only a contender, maybe one out of 10, vying to have their essay published. after all, the editor said only that he wanted to “talk” to me about my essay, not “publish” it. my keen sense of observation managed to find a few other indicators in his three-line email that made publication an impossibility, things like “thank you” and “talk to you soon.” i was sure i had no chance.

being a writer is a lot like like being an actor in that you’re constantly being rejected. i’ve been rejected plenty and by much lesser publications than The New York Times. it’s demoralizing every time, akin to someone using the thing you have painstakingly slaved over as toilet paper. with each “thanks, but no thanks” form email i received, i feared that my writing career would never extend beyond and several times considered leaving this writing business to the professionals. not helping matters was the fact that i got very close to getting an essay published on a well-known website earlier this year, only to get shot down after a round of edits.

so when the New York Times email came, disbelief was the only emotion i could muster. we scheduled a phone meeting that following monday for 8am pacific, five days from the day i got the email — days that felt 85-hours long. that week held my annual birthday party, a dodger game with my pops and hangouts with various friends, so i had plenty of distractions, yet still filled my time between them thinking of little else. by sunday night, i was pacing my house like a madwoman and bargaining with god to please make this happen at any cost. (now that this is really happening, i’m a little worried about what i offered to give up.)

on monday morning, i was up at 5:30am and trying not to hyperventilate as the clock struck and then passed 8am, with the call coming 10 minutes late. i spent those final minutes giving myself yet another “it’s ok, you’ll get past this” pep talk. when the phone finally did ring, i took a deep breath and become eerily lucid during the 20-minute conversation that followed, as though i had become possessed by a less neurotic version of myself. it’s a girl i’ve seen plenty but cannot always count on in a jam. but she served me solidly this time.(thanks for coming through, higher self. i owe you big time.)

the chat with the editor was quite pleasant. i answered his questions, cracked a few jokes, went over his edits (very minimal) and even discussed a piece that he wrote for the Times on being bald, which i read and sincerely loved. i had even signed my submission email with a note that read “p.s. Baldies are the hottest” as a nod to his article. a big risk, to be sure, one i thought about at length and went for in an effort to stay authentic or something, though he assured me that my p.s. didn’t influence his decision in any way.

sensing my disbelief, he also assured me that YES, this was really happening, YES, he wanted to publish my essay in the New York Friggin Times. it was not a joke. with that, we hung up and my disbelief turned into a joy i have never before known in my life. overwhelmed, i did the thing i always do when any emotion, however happy or sad, floods me: i started to cry. then i called my parents, who also started to cry. soon after, i told facebook and then laughed as a handful of men pinged me to ask if the essay was about them.

what the essay is about i am not saying. it can be read in the july 15 print edition of the Sunday New York Times. it could be online sooner. i will say it is about one person, whom i already notified and who was a super champ about the whole thing. i will also say that this essay does not paint me in a wonderful light, but i’m ok with that since, you know, New York Times.  

i’m certain that the way i portrayed myself helped its publication prospects since the ugly truth is way more interesting than a sanitized version, which i probably too often try to project in this space. with that in mind, i will try to be more honest here, if only to make myself more interesting (and publishable).

the only downside to the ugly truth and the publication of this essay is that it will ensure i will be single forever. i suspected as much before, but now i’m pretty certain of it. the other downside is that i may offend some people, particularly a few of my closest girlfriends, with the beliefs i outline in the essay. i apologize in advance for any offense caused, though i don’t apologize for believing in what i do. i stand by everything i say and hope others do the same. we don’t always have to agree.
and here comes the part where i should tell everyone to keep pursuing their dreams because they can come true with enough patience and perseverance, just as mine did. but the reality is that i’m sure much more rejection lies in my future. there will be more demoralizing days when i want to chuck my computer out of the window and go live on a farm. there will be days when i want to use my own work as toilet paper and will question the sanity of Dan Jones from the New York Times for publishing any of my drivel.

but for now, i will not allow myself to worry about that. i will not think that this may be the apex of my career and that it’s all downhill from here. instead, i will allow myself to feel excited as all get out to see this essay published. i will cry, rejoice, celebrate, tell everyone i know, and i will feel like a million bucks. i will take my time returning to earth. because this is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me and im happy beyond measure.

thank you for being part of this moment with me. it means the world.

Friday, July 06, 2012


this birthday seemed to creep up on me, linger for a minute and then whiz right by. it occurred during a whirlwind week where so much other stuff was happening that it became just another thing to check off the list. “turn 36,” the agenda item would have read. so i turned 36 on june 26, right on schedule, another deadline met. 

it fell on a tuesday this year, which i spent away from work and at the korean spa getting scrubbed, rubbed and pampered. the evening was spent with my parents who bought me dinner and gave me a gift card. the next day i returned to work and to new deadlines. a party at my local bar followed that friday, where friends came to watch me get sloshed and meet my parents, who were the real stars that night. on saturday, i was at a dodgers game with my pops, talking to him about the next 36 years.

overall, it was a very good birthday that topped off a very good year of a very good life. this is something i will remind myself of this every time the mood to be melancholy tugs at me, which it often does. i blame all those years of being a teenage goth. if i could just go back to tell her how much better life would be at 36, how she could be happy by choice instead of consumed by a “depth” she thought was impenetrable and unique. not that it would have mattered when her middle finger was waving in front of my face. 

now that finger rests idle at my side, replaced by a smile. it’s been a good fucking year, ending on a good fucking note as something i have written will soon be published in The New York Times. (more on that in a future post.) 

it’s been a year of hard work and dedication, a year of an endless home remodel that still has no end in sight. it’s been a year of family and good friends who are like family. it’s been a year of up all night and hikes in the fresh air, of getting rowdy and sitting quietly while watching the horizon. it’s been expensive and decadent, full of triumphs and missteps and, at times, it’s been incredibly lonely.

but above all else, it’s been a year when i finally grew into my own skin and learned how to trust myself. it’s been a year when i stopped apologizing for every damn thing in my personality, when i’ve squashed those nagging self-doubts like i’m playing a game of Whac-A-Mole, when i learned how to not feel awkward in a room full of strangers. it’s been a year of razor-sharp intuition and bursts of creativity, a year when i could high-five the universe, when i could walk along my path and separate the light from the shadows.

if the last 36 have taught me anything, its that i have both more and less control over my life than i think. it’s still a balancing act i’m learning how to master, this art of manifesting what i want while also stepping back to make space for the divine surprises. my inclination is to take over every situation. letting go is still so hard for me. but my faith is strengthening and all this LA asshole mumbo jumbo i’ve been incorporating into my life these past few years has helped me grow as much as it’s humbled me. through it, i’ve found a religion of sorts, the everything’s gonna be ok religion where everything really does happen for a reason. 

sure, its a cliche, one ive rolled my eyes at numerous times as a teenage goth and probably last year, too, but simplicity makes sense to me now. nature is simple, emotion is simple, and life can also be simple if i stop resisting. that’s the goal for next year (and every year): to live simply, fearlessly, ethically, honestly and with my whole heart. 

Monday, July 02, 2012

One-Hit Wonders: June 2012 terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • freckled kid
  • the joy of working
  • glazed over eyes of landmark educaiton
  • how to make a 1000square feet houselook big
  • my head hit on a cupboard overhead and giving me tingles
  • pervert cupcake
  • the meaning of patoose
  • lactating hypnotic tit stories