“Everywhere I turn, there you are…”


I’m on Day Three of the “Facebook Cleanse” and I definitely think the problem now is not so much what I think I’m missing, but that people aren’t missing ME.

It’s kind of interesting.  I’m having kind of an existential crisis because I’m not on Facebook.  If a cat picture falls in an empty forest, does it meow?

Forget it.  I’m delirious.  The panic attacks have abated, I seem to be figuring out what’s working for me, pharmaceutically and otherwise, but I’m still tired.  It’s like I’ve suppressed this “fight or flight” instinct that has been raging under the surface for so long that it just started boiling over.  I’m not entirely sure if the contents completely boiled off, or if I’m just sedated to the point where I’m physically unable to panic.  If ravenous lions tore through the office just now, I’d probably just sit here and be like, “Whoa. Lions.” before being torn to bits.

The “vacation” from Facebook is forcing me to do other things in the evening, like read.  Write.  Remember what I used to do before my mind got wiped out by caregiver stress.  I used to do Mortified shows.  I’d read from my high school diaries in front of total strangers.  One of my favorite “threads” that came about from working with Karen Corday and Sara Faith Alterman (the producers of the Boston show) was a series of passages in which I go full-blown Norma Desmond over my high school drama club happenings.


The entries I read from span from around 1985 to 1988, and include my very mature and measured musings on not only the high school endeavors, but those of the musicals I did every summer with a teen theatre troupe.

When I initially showed Karen and Sara this stuff, one name jumped out at them.  “Sue Tedeschi?  You mean Susan Tedeschi?”

Indeed.  Susan was the bright star of my Summer of ’86.  That was the summer we did Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Even then, that girl could BELT.  I was at turns awed by and insanely jealous of her.

We got older, aged out of that particular group; I went on to get some rather silly degrees and spent my twenties running around in my underwear in booze-soaked experimental theatre productions in the basements of bars.  And, well, Susan won a Grammy award.  But listen – if there was an awards show for being insanely drunk and wrapped in chains while doing a cover of a David J. song, I would have won ALL OF THE THINGS BY GOD.

Listen – this all ties together, I swear.

My mother-in-law died in February, after fighting that goddamned fucking Alzheimer’s for so long. My husband and I left the hospital to begin the process of making calls and arrangements.  And as we drove down Route 1 in Saugus, this song came on:

I don’t know if there could have been anything more oddly comforting to me in that moment.  I haven’t talked to Susan in decades.  But I know that voice in my bones.  And I sat in the car and just let it wash over me.  It didn’t stop the grief, of course not.  But it let me be in the moment for a few minutes.  I remember the grey clouds hanging over Route 1, I remember thinking that I was eventually going to need to eat something, and I remember Susan Tedeschi singing.

I’d like to thank her for that.


Hello, it’s me.


Oh.  Oh, God.

I just finished reading Why We Broke Up.  I bought it yesterday.  Yesterday, I bought this, and I finished it about a half hour ago.  I finished it at my kitchen table, sobbing, as Min, the teenage narrator, went through a devastating litany of everything’s she’s NOT.

I’m not a goth or a cheerleader, I’m not treasurer or co-captain…I’m not anything…I have bad hair and stupid eyes.  I have a body that’s nothing.  I’m too fat and I’m idiotic ugly.  My clothes are a joke, my jokes are desperate and complicated and nobody else laughs…I just babble and sputter like a drinking fountain broken…I talk shit about everybody and then sulk when they don’t call me, my friends fall away like I’ve dropped them out of an airplane…I can’t run four blocks or fold a sweater…I lost my virginity and couldn’t even do that right, agreeing to it and getting sad and annoying afterward, clinging to a boy everyone knows is a jerk bastard asshole prick…I’m not a romantic, I’m a half-wit.  Only stupid people would think I’m smart.  I’m not something anyone should know.

I wept, sitting there at my kitchen table with the dishwasher thrumming behind me and my husband in his office mucking around on his bass and my two cats doing that passive-aggressive thing they do where one bathes the other until the one being bathed gets annoyed and skulks off the chair that the bather wanted to sit in, alone.  I am a 41-year-old with a trash compactor and bills and mighty plans involving painting the dining room this spring and this YA novel (that’s “Young Adult,” btdubs) reduced me to a blubbering mess.

I don’t think many of us are ever really that far removed from 16, even as the years, and ensuing responsibilities, pile up and we’re all of a sudden at kitchen tables that we ourselves shopped around for, picked out, purchased, and had delivered to our houses.  I know I’m not, certainly, or I wouldn’t spend so much time getting up onstage and reading my high school diaries in front of total strangers, or assisting fellow masochists in doing the same.  There is always going to be that part of me that goes to parties and sits by herself in the one empty room there is, reading another person’s books and waiting for her soulmate to find her.  Hello, it’s me.

She loves a boy that doesn’t know she loves him.  Or he does, and just doesn’t know what to do with that information.  And it’s at turns icky and frustrating and exhilarating and heartbreaking and on any given day she’s tiny and insignificant, or held aloft on a smile in the hallway.  Christ, who doesn’t remember all of that?  Why would you want to forget it, ever?  I don’t understand my friends who say to me, “God, I could never do what you do.  No, I really COULDN’T, because I threw all that stuff away.”

Me, I can’t lose sight of that tenderhearted thing inside of me, because I want to make things happen for her.  I’ve kept her diaries and her dreams and I’ve even kept most of her friends as close as I can without it being creepy and weird.

And it’s not as if I’m stuck there, really, because – as I’ve said – I own preposterous things like a trash compactor, and just today I had to be a responsible adult and call the administrators of my Flexible Spending Account to explain my late-December eyewear binge.  I don’t spend all my time with her; I just pop in now and then, like a slightly eccentric aunt, checking in on her the way you check in on your past, make sure it’s all still there.  Because without it, you don’t sit at your kitchen table weeping because you remember what it’s like.

Some Happier Fare…


In looking at some of the past couple of entries, I’m honestly afraid I’m becoming too “issue-driven” (Drinking is bad!  Weighing yourself is even worse!) lately.   Not that there’s anything WRONG with that, but let’s face it – it’s not really what you expect of me, is it?

I’m taking the stage for Mortified again this week, for the first time since…February, I think? It’s so hard to keep track of when you’re humiliating yourself for art. At any rate, I’m rolling out “new” material this time around (meaning same diaries, different entries). It has been helpful to have spent some time screening and editing diary entries from OTHER readers; I was able to approach my own stuff with a sharper eye.

Basically, what I’ve learned from both being onstage presenting my own dreck and culling through the dreck of others is that if it makes you cringe, you must read it.  You must.  This is my personal Rule of Thumb for Mortified.  You’re not up there pretending to be cool, and if everything you wrote back then was awesome and NOT embarrassing, chances are nobody wants to hear it.

And so I’ve put together (with the help of co-producer Karen Corday) a tale of a girl who took Drama Club so SERIOUSLY that by her senior year this would have been an entirely accurate comparison:

No, really.  Wait until you hear it.  After Karen’s final approval, I read through it the other night and oh, my God, I HATED ME SO MUCH.  It was fantastic.  I love Mortified 4-eva.