Monday, June 30, 2014

I Hate Birthdays


First thing: I promise this is not a subtle, passive-aggressive way of saying that you should really say happy birthday to me. Second: I really am grateful to my parents and Hashem and everyone who's pushed me out of the way of a moving vehicle or woken me up out of an alcoholic stupor or otherwise contributed to the very unlikely occurrence of my still being alive.

So I guess, technically speaking, I do not hate birthdays. But all the same, every time someone wishes me a happy one, or goes out of their way to talk to me when they wouldn't otherwise talk to me, it feels like a knife applied to a particularly sensitive and recently-fed area of my stomach.

Most of all, it's that I haven't done anything to deserve it. Like, what is this day which demands more compliments and wishings of wellness than any other? I didn't do anything. Actually, if we're going to get technical, today's the day I probably least deserve it, since I put my mother into more pain than she's ever been and started the long downhill slide of dependency on other people for my basic human needs.

Like, can you please save it for when something good happens that I've actually earned? Because my pirate novel is still sitting in a corner unsold, and I'm still wearing crappy clothes that don't entirely fit, and I just demanded an entire dialogue rewrite, which is probably necessary, but is going to cause a bunch of people a bunch of nightmares, and I haven't brokered peace between Israel and Palestine, or even between my 6-year-old and 4-year-old.

But I know at heart that it isn't a bad thing that people are wishing me stuff. Even if it's something I would rather gets slipped under the table and forgotten, good vibes are -- should be -- always appreciated. And I don't mean to shoot you down, and I can just see my mom's face when she reads this, But don't you feel good when..., and at this point in my life (old) (sick) (and kind of sweaty) I can use all the points I can get. So if you really want to wish a happy birthday today, probably the place to go is here: My mom's facebook page. Feel free to post on her wall. She deserves it.

In Judaism, you don't really get presents for your birthday. Instead, you're supposed to give blessings to people. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to happen, both to relieve my birthday depression and to make me work a little harder: instead of getting stuff, maybe I should be giving. So, seriously, hit me up.

Oh, and here's a present: They Might Be Giants are giving away their first album free. I know. I know. Happy birthday to me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

36, Stage Fright, and You Should Hang out with Me on a Farm

Last week I was performing, and then there was a Q&A session afterward -- which is always kind of weird; I feel like I should be the one asking everyone else questions, "What did you think?" and "Did that make any sense?" -- and someone asked me about my blog. "Yep," I said, "it's my weird place where I write whatever random stuff is on my head and doesn't fit anywhere else." "I guess you haven't had many random thoughts lately!" he said, "since you haven't written anything in almost 2 months." While I was reading, he'd Googled me and called up my site on his phone.

I have got to get better at covering my tracks.

matthue roth performing

I have suddenly started doing more readings, which is a weird thing. Not sure how it's going to square away with my anxiety issues -- that is, if I start hyperventilating onstage or ducking and hiding behind the monitor speakers, you'll know why -- but, so far, so good. Tomorrow night (Wednesday!) I'm going to be reading a very new story at Soda Bar as part of the Buzzards' Banquet series, and there will be music, too. And at the end of the month, I'm giving classes (and probably speaking, too) all week at ArtFest on this amazing kosher organic farm. And if you're there, my kids can teach you how to milk goats, because they know.

And the other big thing is this:


Itta and I were named two of the 36 under 36 by the Jewish Week. Here's Itta's and my feature directly, but you should check out the full suite of characters.

Oh! Cover photo by Karuna Tanahashi, taken at Chevra Ahavas Yisroel.

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