Thanks, Thought Catalog!

I just realized that Thought Catalog published one of my essays a week ago and I didn’t even realize it. I could have been crying from excitement a week ago, jeez.

Here it is. It’s about that one time I not-really but kind of dated a pretty Swedish boy. If you’re reading this, Swedish boy, I’m not sorry. BOOM.

MY POEMS ARE UP ON PANK

You guys, I’m so excited right now. I want to celebrate and buy you all chocolate cake. This is my first pretty major accomplishment as a poet, and I’m so so honored to have my work published in PANK. Such an awesome, awesome litmag.

If you want to read my poems, click here . There are three of them and they even come with voice recordings! You get to hear what I sound like (a thirteen year-old girl)!!

That’s it. Check them out. I write about kissing and criminals, my mom, and Velveeta. Yummy stuff.

I love this one.

Before I write, I warm-up by reading and jotting down lines I love, or by imitating them (Ilya Kaminsky style!), but this whole poem struck me.

“Dysecdysis”
by: Stevie Edwards

The raw morning of
troubled molting–
we say our eyes are cloudy
and ready, say good
riddance. We rough,
we slough and
slough our bodies,
lesions of tender
unskinned. The snake
doctor says this
incomplete shedding
is a symptom of
deeper illness. I can smell
my love making
coffee because this is
what love does
in the morning. We are
nothing, incomplete,
I wish into the scruff
of his beard, rub
his bald head for
luck or love. He
silently slices open
a melon, not quite
ripe but still
food-I take it
in my mouth.  He
says this taking
without joy marks
the beast in me.
I rear my raw
neck back, ready
to strike like
the beast I am.

Attention!!!!!!!!!!!

I need book suggestions!

For some background information, here are the books (not counting poetry for work) I’ve already inhaled these last few months:
-This One is Mine by Maria Semple
-Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
-America Pacifica by Anna North
-Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
-Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
-Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
-Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford
-Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
-American Gods by Neil Gailman

Books can be beach-read-y (as all of the above are) or they can be high-brow, but until I finish Infinite Jest, no DFW. Have any of you actually finished Infinite Jest? Does it get easier? Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this to myself and then I remember I invested like $100,000 into my English degree and I SHOULD BE ABLE TO READ/ENJOY/ENDURE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE. Ugh.

Also, this is a picture of me and my best friend in high-school driving around town in prom dresses and cat ears/Russian hunting hats. We have made a pit stop at Borelli’s, home of the best baked ziti in the universe,  to visit J-Schott.

Things I Am Guilty Of

  • Driving too slow on the freeway when I’m changing cds/tracks/radio stations
  • Driving too fast on the freeway when I’m bored and just want to be where I want and becoming angry with people who are driving too slow but probably are just switching the station or trying to enjoy a sandwich.
  • Buying a new nail polish every single time I’m at CVS or Target even though I have over 100 nail polishes
  • Ordering too many books off Amazon because I’m too ambitious
  • Deciding there is no such thing as being “too ambitious” and going for it until I have an ambition hangover and have to nap for awhile
  • Being irrationally frightened by phone numbers I don’t recognize and refusing to pick up the phone when they are calling me.
  • Avoiding calling the doctor to make appointments
  • Actively yelling in parking lots because I hate them so much
  • Losing my car in the parking lot and being on the verge of tears as I walk around looking for my long lost Camry like a child who has been abandoned by their neglecting family
  • Trying clothes on that look almost okay in the fitting room but then disastrous in real life after I pay for them
  •  Liking Justin Beiber’s new song
  • Unsubscribing from Cosmo because all the cover girls are practically younger than me
  • Lying on those questionnaires you fill out at the doctor’s office when they ask how many times a week you exercise.
  • Still sweeping everything under my bed that I don’t feel like cleaning or organizing
  • Being put to deep sleep by Middlemarch
  • Using the term “organically” when referencing line breaks and hoping I sound more academic
  • Trying to get into Keeping up with the Kardashians on Netflix. Like, actively.
  • Exaggerating. I exaggerate a lot.
  • Ordering Shirley Temples at bars when I don’t feel like drinking
  • Knowing way more celebrity gossip than I should
  • Not doing my laundry right now
  • Hating Thomas Pynchon and thinking his work is very un-funny
  • Thinking about what happens when we die and then experiencing a full blown anxiety attack when I realize probably nothing and that our minds are biologically unable to grasp what “nothing” actually is in terms of our biological lives.
  • Pretending I know more about science than I do
  • Pretending I know more about Buddhism than I do
  • Liking Perks of Being a Wallflower more as a movie than a book.
  • Owning more cardigans than I actually wear
  • Buying granola at the grocery store and then only eating half of it because I’ll run out of yogurt and granola by itself is kind of pointless
  • Being scared I’ll never make it as a writer
  • Being scared I’ll make it as a writer but lose my genius after my first book
  • Imaging Chuck Klosterman writing my first blurb on the back of my book
  • Not actually reading the New Yorker but considering myself the type of person who would.
  • I’m not 100% sure about my bra size.

Wow, that’s a lot of internalizing there. Enjoy being inside my brain!!

xo,
Gina

14 Albums That Helped Me Get Through High School

All I ever wanted in high school was a respectable rack and maybe a boyfriend. Since neither of those things really happened, I had to compensate. If I wasn’t at school or eating my best friend’s frozen chimichangas from Costco on her couch, I was in front of my old computer, making playlists. Or I was at Lou’s Record Store, lusting after old records and uncrumpling dollar bills so I could buy the newest Death Cab CD. I was always listening to my iPod. I remember my neighbor’s mom would give me a ride to school and she and her daughter would listen to the shitty morning talk show and I would be like, “fuck that, I’m listening to Muse this morning!” like a total bad ass motherfucker. It was extremely anti-social of me. Honestly, I just now have started to learn how to be in the car with people and not drown their conversations out with music. Like any real teenager, music was my way to digest cruel high school, and here are my top choices that guided the way, cradled me at my lowest crying-in-my-pillow-all-day low. Also, I originally thought I had 15, but it turns out only 14. Which is a weird number. Oh well.

14. Kimya Dawson-Hidden Vagenda

YES to feminism and HELL YES to cute Kimya in her panda costume and sweet little baby she took pictures with for her Myspace music page. I loved the way Kimya’s scratchy voice and scruffy lyrics spoke to me. They were all, “life’s tough, girlfriend, but you can do this.” This was my favorite album of the two that were out at the time. I’m not sure where she is now. Being cute and punk and wonderful somewhere?

13. Death Cab For Cutie-Plans

Half of this album was always in my Fall Playlist. There was this sense of hope underneath all the finality, it was so beautiful.

12. The Shins-Oh, Inverted World

I became instantly obsessed with this album (and The Postal Service, too) after Garden State came out, and my friend and I watched it and were like, “wow, that was so meaningful, I totally don’t get it.” Which basically sums up life, so there you go. I love the way this album is so whimsical, dorky in spite of reality, but lyrically and aesthetically gorgeous.

11. Radiohead-Hail to the Thief 

I first started listening to Radiohead in 9th grade because I thought it would make me more musically knowledgable. Kind of like forcing yourself to eat kimchi for the first time because you know it will be a good experience as well as tasty in its own, unique way. I liked this album especially because I worked so hard at “getting into it.” Like, I worked double shifts at this album, listening to it constantly for months on end as I studied for my Geometry tests and avoided humans.

10. Jeff Buckley -Grace

This album was just so pretty. And wistful. Jeff’s version of “Hallelujah” is one my favorite songs of all time and makes me cry every single time I listen to it.

9. Blonde on Blonde-Bob Dylan

I bought Blonde on Blonde when I was in my Borders phase. Does Borders still exist? Probably not; damn you Amazon! (JK, I buy fucking everything from Amazon) I would wander the music section (which was far superior to Barnes & Noble’s) and buy at least one CD a week. I think there was this one week where I decided I absolutely HAD to get into Bob Dylan. As though I was not a real person unless I listened to Dylan and that was that. Oh, I felt so cool listening to him. I felt like I suddenly belonged in a elite club. This was when I started reading Nabokov and started to regret painting my room lime green.

8. The Cranberries-Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? 

Somehow, this album encapsulated my first break-up. I was sad all the time, and Dolores O’Riordan’s Irish sorrow was just so empowering. I don’t think it empowered me; I was way too much of a whiney asshole to absorb that. But I understood. I understood that I had to experience certain things and feelings so I could appreciate others. Like my relationship now, which is just all happy songs.

7. Arcade Fire-Funeral

Okay, this is really weird, but I was reading Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits and listening to Funeral in English class and suddenly, the world’s turmoil and anguish and political fuckery just popped out at me, like any epiphany would for a fifteen year-old. This also might have happened because I was reading House of Spirits, a book about the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile. So. I don’t know. I definitely made a connection at the time.

6. Metric-Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?

Emily Haines was the woman I desperately wanted to be. Deep, personal, and hot. I never put this album down, ever. I still love Metric, except what happened with their last album? Kind of a let down. Were they like, “oh, Lou Reed says a few words in one song, so the rest of the album can be kind of whatever.”

5. Of Montreal-Satanic Panic in the Attic

I’m not even sure what is going on with Of Montreal. I know very well I could Google this and I would get an answer within milli-seconds, but I won’t. I’ll just leave them where I left them; a world of fun dance-all-night concerts that I would look forward to every year. Have you ever been to an Of Montreal concert? SO. MUCH. FUN.

4. Mirah-Advisory Committee 

For some reason, I remember listening to this album while learning how to drive with my brother. That particular day, I accidentally almost turned on to oncoming traffic and he screamed at me and punched the radio off and turned the car around for me because I was too stunned and paralyzed from stupidity to do anything myself. Oh, and the album is beautiful and perfect for all trying times.

3. Lily Allen-Alright Still

My friends and I thought Lily was just so hilarious! We would mouth her lyrics in a fake British accent and sing her sass to invisible boys who never hit on us because we still wore colorful Chucks.

2. The Hold Steady-Boys and Girls in America

This album was our “drinking album” by the time senior year (or was it junior?) came around and we felt very bad ass and solely drank whiskey and secretly chugged Diet Coke in between sips of our whiskey cocktails. At least I did. The point is that we had some massive nights (waahh-ohhhhh!)

1. Rilo Kiley-The Execution of all Things

THIS ALBUM. This album was pure growing up. Pure I-Don’t-Know-Who-The-Fuck-You-Are-But-This-Who-I-Am. Pure cluelessness, loneliness, sexyness, beauty and lack of direction. This album described all the times we just hung out in parks and canyons and talked shit. It’s about the times we felt shitty about ourselves because we realized we weren’t great people, but could be. Jenny Lewis was our spirit animal before spirit animals became a “thing”. I give Rilo Kiley all the credit for helping me get through high school alive and helping me become the sensitive, go-getting weirdo that I am today.

Another Smoldering Review About The Great Gatsby As A Letter To Baz Luhrmann

Dear Baz Luhrmann,

Do you know how excited I was to see your depiction, your stunning vision of  The Great Gatsby? I was real excited. I read the book in high-school and dissected and diluted the book until the pages shred and disintegrated from over-use in college. I know Gatsby like I know my way to get home from nearly anywhere. So when I heard you (the director of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) were directing the 6th film adaptation of Gatsby, I had great hopes. Only you would be capable of pulling off the deceptively gaudy age of the 20′s, its tragic glitz and its boastful roar. Only, you failed. You failed more or less miserably.

Let’s focus on the good first, shall we? You were ultimately loyal to the book, and not many directors and writers can say that about their films based off literary texts. Your Gatsby was just as earnest, vapid, and enigmatic as the book portrayed him. He was America’s fool, its byproduct of greed and pre-depression consumerism. Also, Leonardo DiCaprio was a good call; he looked grand in all those nice three-piece suits. I read a review frowning upon Daisy’s “dazed and hazed” behavior in the movie, but Carey Mulligan did just the trick. Daisy is in fact, void of true emotion; she’s a sucker for social status, an It Girl who chooses wealth over (maybe?) love..if Daisy Buchanan is even capable of such a thing. The rest of the cast was great. Isla Fisher was a little bit too skinny to play curvaceous (I believe “faintly stout and thickset” is how Nick Carraway describes her in the novel)Myrtle and Tobey McGuire is just so damn goofy, I couldn’t take him seriously as an outsider. Baz, the party scenes were great. They made me want to become an alcoholic and permanently adhere glitter onto my body and in my hair. The parties were exactly how I envisioned them. Gatsby’s over-the-top estate when compared to the Buchanan’s posh East Egg mansion was spot-on. Oh, and the costumes were delicious. I wanted every single item of clothing and accessory, especially Daisy’s $200,000 Tiffany’s diamond headband. Props to Jay-Z for the soundtrack, too. Very dynamite.

Now, let’s talk about the bad. Baz, did you have to shove every single metaphor down our throats? I was seriously choking after an hour into the movie. How many times, exactly, did you have to remind us that the damn green light symbolized Gatsby’s longing for Daisy, his desire to own a woman,a prized commodity that would finally complete his masterfully crafted life?  Did Leo have to to reach out to the green light with his perfectly manicured fingertips again and again? I know you’re a man of emphasis, but this was just borderline insulting. And okay. What was this whole fictitious scenario with Nick and his self-prescribed time in a sanatorium? You literally filmed Nick typing away the story as he narrated it to a psychiatrist AND you so graciously included visual letters that danced and drifted into snowflakes. It was like an extravagant Powerpoint. Did you absolutely need the narration visually typed out for us to get the point? That you wanted to solidify the marriage between novel and aesthetic? Well, it was cheesy. And yes, I get that everything cool is now in 3-D, BUT I SERIOUSLY HATE WHEN PEOPLE FILM IN 3-D. Why can’t a film just stand on its own? Why do we have to feel like we’re on some Disneyland simulated ride? Oh wait. It’s so people can pay $5 extra for 3-D glasses and watch crazy shit pop out at them! How enhancing.

I think you have the talent and innovation to have created a better film. I imagine it was tricky, trying to re-create a story that is so well-known. How exactly, do you make a film surprising when everyone knows what happens? The answer was not 3-D, nor was it dishing out the explanation of metaphors as though we were grabbing lunch at a school cafeteria en masse. You had the actors, the budget, and the music. I just don’t think you thought outside the grid, Old Sport.

My final grade for you? C-. And I think I’m being quite nice.

Sincerely,

Gina