Saturday, December 31, 2011


"So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint Romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are."
THANK YOU Matthew Matthias. I don't know you but I feel like I do.
Also, so happy to be spending New Year's with Madame Stella. She's the best.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

That tickled feeling, or, I love you Miranda July

Here are some of the things that do it for me-- (a list-in-progress)
*Really AUTHENTIC people. (I'm throwing caps around to try and compensate for the fact that I know that this is not the exact right word.) A longer version could be: People who are the way they are because they know no other way to be nor aspire to be anything other than themselves.
* A perfect sentence that achieves depth without taking itself too seriously, maybe a surprising word or two but not big words, sometimes it is more shocking to choose the smallest, most humble word possible. Also, whole paragraphs, pages, poems, books. Virginia Woolf I am thinking of you now. There was a sentence in the LA Times review of the movie Once that Adam commented on. I loved the sentence and the man.
* The way it feels when you come out of a movie or a play that started when it was light out and now it's dark and it seems like maybe a whole day, more than a day, has passed for where you've come and gone. Especially effective if experienced with a kindred sort of spirit and you don't go and ruin the feeling with talking about it or what happened in there but instead maybe wander around silent and alone and also together.
* Watching dancers wake up their feet, flexing their toes, the veins in their arches, all the muscles along their ankles bristle, then their calves swell, the bulge build along the side of their knee up to their thighs, their hips sort of thrust forward, their torso straighten, their spines elongate up to their ears, their wingspan expand before your eyes, even their eyes stretching and breathing too, (Tyra Bank's "fierce" face)-- this is the definition of alive for me
* Certain episodes of The Office tv show. British and American editions. (I.e. 'Prison Mike')
* The way my face feels after really excellent physical intimacy or when someone I love tells me a good, surprising detail/story-- bright-eyed but also hyper-relaxed and open
* spending long enough in the woods/nature to completely lose track of time and rely solely upon darkness, light and your rumbling stomach to guide your course of action, also, the crunching of leaves or pine-coney things underfoot is so happy-making for me
* writing and directing when it feels good and true and real
* TBD.

I saw Miranda July at Symphony Space tonight. It was a series called "Selected Shorts" and the concept is that incredible actors read author's writing but in this case Miranda read too. Betty Gilpin read a story before (not by Miranda) and invited me and I loved seeing her on stage and in the seat next to me. The text was from MJ's new book It Chooses You which is a work of non-fiction that she wrote while she was procrastinating from finishing the screenplay for her movie The Future. (Which I saw curiously with the aforementioned Adam this past summer.) There are so many parts of the book, the project, and this evening that resonated for me. She mentioned that sometimes when she's doing something she can experience sort-of feelings of grandeur. Like, 'I'm not just going to check out these Care Bears this woman is selling in the PennySaver for 2 to 4 dollars, I'm really on a kind of VisionQuest and these people I'm meeting, and their objects, are just helping reveal to me a whole lot of other deep stuff, helping me understand what to do with Jason, how to REALLY ENGAGE with humanity, what the meaning of life is, etc.' I think I do that sometimes. I definitely did that going into the Meditation Retreat and Medicine Ceremony with Katie and Nico in Vermont in September. But ahh, sometimes/usually I think the wider the net you cast the more you might catch. I've actually never thought or said that before but it seems like a mediocre description for what I'm feeling. I think Miranda is really good at writing, and standing still and listening, and being a person who is awkward but also very real, and not put-on awkward (hipster) but just really, her essence.
I feel like my challenge and goal as an adult is to do my best to get to this feeling, and to try to create opportunities for other people to get to this feeling. To get there as often as possible. And to definitely know and celebrate it when I'm there.
I'm here now Miranda. Doesn't it feel amazing?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

egg-timer writing

It is now November. My voice is back and I even got a new speckled notebook. (Wider notebooks are better for lefties than the 'journal' size I had been using. More room for my clenched pen-in-hand-fist and more wide open space.)
I am trying to write more. And read more. And exercise more. And love more. And work more always of course. And live a balanced life more... AHHH-- it's so hard to do everything more without sleeping less. And I am also trying to sleep more. It is a conundrum.
I just read this article though and I loved it.
It has to do with ALL of the problems I just mentioned. But really, they aren't problems. This is just 'my circle.' As Lynda Barry would say, "Good, good, good."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

words and not words.

I woke up this morning without a voice. Periodically in the past six months I've woken up with some sort of extreme-seeming ailment or temporary disability. (The first being the 24 hours of blindness in July, followed by a crazy crook in my next in August, September was good... and now today.) It consistently offers the occasion to remember a quote/saying I heard a lot growing up. Maybe someone famous said it. Maybe my mom made it up. Either way, it's a great one:
Now, it's not the easiest to swallow when you're in the first throes of suffering or what-have-you (it is very hard to swallow today period)... but over time it really resonates for me.
I have barely spoken at all today and it was sort of amazing. I found myself listening much more deeply. And then when the other person stopped talking, instead of jumping in, I would just sort of nod, and try to express something with my eyes (I've heard Mary-Louise Parker calls this "face-acting"-- I'm gonna go with 'making faces' though), and we'd stand in silence for a lot longer than normal. And I LOVE silence.
I know one woman who really does not appreciate silence and it drives me crazy. She is a very loud talker, very redundant, usually sees herself as the victim, and will repeat her gripes about humanity and/or whatever health problem she's facing at the moment until the cows come home. And the cows like silence too so they are never going to come home in this state.
I have also seen a lot of performance in the past five days. Wednesday was SAVAGE IN LIMBO at NYU directed by the brilliant and genius Stella, Thursday was NIGHTLANDS at HERE by my old college classmate Sally, not Sylvan Oswald, Friday was STOP THE VIRGENS, and today was SONS OF THE PROPHET at the Roundabout and a dance performance at Invisible Dog. Today was the best but maybe that is only because I COULDN'T speak about it or dilute the experience with the chit-chat with people afterwards and so on.
I loved the non-textual moments in SONS so much and was so happy to be reminded how powerful really specific physical movement can be (in the dances tonight). Annie-B Parson's piece was gorgeous, accessible, sharp, and full of her wildly charming and subtle sense of humor. NTUSA and Witness Relocation's pieces were magical and sophisticated too. There were four pieces total and the second one (by Miguel Gutierrez) was very performance-arty. I saw a full-figured woman shake and shimmy in a way I have never seen before. And I've seen a lot of things!!
My mind went places and I shared all of these experiences with rooms full of strangers and here I am now to tell you.
Also, it's fun to have no voice because people alternately
1) whisper back at you
2) lean in very close.
I like both of these things.

Friday, September 30, 2011

the world expands

I love it when two entitites I love converge. This happened just now when I was reading Stephen Elliott's mind-explodingly-excellent Daily Rumpus column, dove down a wormhole of a link towards some object of his desire named Sugar, and then happened upon a post said Sugar had written about a project Colleen Wainwright is doing. Who is indeed, an old friend and fellow performer from the Ken Roht LA days (which continue to exist of course, just without me.)
Colleen's project was a success, and from the looks of it, WriteGirl is thriving.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

pirate summer

Tonight, I lay my head here. I feel very artsy pirate-y already.
I will report back on the all-but-guaranteed adventures.
Thank you Daphne and Eliza for including me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In honor of the upcoming anniversary of the demotion of Pluto as a planet

Here is a delightful if a little heart-wrenching video made by Brendan Hughes and the cast and crew of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which played at the Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater in the summer of 2008. (I was in the show.)
In honor of Pluto. Because we've all felt demoted before. Knocked out of orbit. Replaced or discarded entirely.

As thia 7 year-olds can attest however, Pluto is not forgotten. Not by a long shot.

For more of this excellent kid wisdom, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

thank you stella

For all the magic you are always spreading around...

From: Stephen Elliott
Date: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 8:56 AM
Subject: (The Daily Rumpus) notes on editing

A friend said to look at The Limey by Steven Soderbergh. You could see the editing, like a pattern on an expensive shirt. The movie was the editing, as opposed to the acting or any of the other elements. I wondered if the point was to save a film that didn't otherwise work but my friend said No, it had to be shot that way.

So I watched Out Of Site, perhaps Soderbergh's best. In Out Of Sight the editing is again on display, but it doesn't overtake the acting, or the music. You never wonder what the film is about. It's perfect. A symphony.

A friend encouraged me to write about editing. I don't know enough, or anything, I said. She said try. I decided to conflate her, marry two story lines. You can do that, cut out entire threads, why consummate anything, have everything be an open question. Let the viewer decide their own stories while your protagonist stares off, quiet.

The thing is there's a story that never rings true when you tell it yourself, the story where you apologize for a lover's failures. Or, like a guy I knew in Amsterdam who mentioned the way the window girls winked at him. They wanted someone younger and better looking, he said, and I laughed. Though there was Toine. The Nigerian lady did knock on the glass and invite him in for free. But... I think about the porn star who wanted to have sex with Vin Deisel. She wished he made porn. Why not sleep with him anyway? No, she wanted to get paid for it.

I dated a girl who had a client and a slave. They both got her symbol branded on their bodies. I didn't get branded; I was just the boyfriend. Her husband didn't get branded.

It's not uncommon for a sex worker to have a special client. It's just complicated. The movie Going Under is about that.

In this conflated world she said, You always go there; it's like you're hiding. She wrote me first. She said, You're like an irresistible trick. He said, Why am I the only person in the whole world who's not allowed to see you naked? She said, You love me, but not enough to jerk off to someone else. My friend said, That's just like you and me. I said it was just a movie. I said, Actually, yeah, that's the point.


What I look for when I'm editing is shape. Here she's a little stronger, here she's a little more shy. If she's awkward maybe I play her best lines on the back of her head and focus on her when she isn't saying anything. I like dialogue from people I can't see but I don't like to see a character from the front saying something without her lips moving. If you're not going to see someone again I might play a song over their scene that continues deep into the next, so it's like a montage, especially late in the film.

I learned the software so I can try something, a cut or a song, and only tell the editor if I think it works. The editor's time is more valuable than mine. I don't want to waste it. She cuts to rhythm, she fixes scenes that otherwise wouldn't work. She knows how to cut around people. I like it most when she takes risks. She's cut many films and knows so much. We both lean toward discordant notes.

So that and I read works that wouldn't make any sense to me if I wasn't in the middle of trying to do it. But right now I inhale them. Elia Kazan, Sidney Lumet, Walter Murch. And I watch movies. And I'm amazed by how much I don't know. I could write a whole book about it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

if thr r childrn, thr mst b a fUtr, rt?

Just finished Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, from which the title for this post comes. I had been putting off inevitable turning of the last few pages as much as possible-- suddenly the work-reading I'm doing on my Kindle was a means to avoiding the end of this transcendent work of fiction.

You: Transcendent... really? Is that hyperbole?
Me: No. At least not for me.

I chose a perfect sun-dappled rock along a river for my final reading spot. I had just spent 25 minutes swimming against the current, and 5 minutes returning to my point of origin, and I felt that somehow that experience was the perfect preparation. Reading this book has felt like coming home. An abstract home yes, but a home nonetheless. She so elegantly weaves together so many of the ideas I've been obsessed with for as long as I can remember-- and is as inventive with her medium (using powerpoint and text messages at points to help tell the story)-- it is no surprise the book won the Pulitzer. It has also been refreshing for me for other reasons. The book I was reading was an actual book which I purchased in an actual independent bookseller in lenox, massachusetts. She is a writer whose stories I've loved to run away with since I was 17, and this was my August reading-- a tradition I've savored since I was lugging 10 picture books home from the local library to spend the summer with.

The book, like almost all of my favorite forms of art, weaves together a polyphony of characters and relationships in the most surreptitious way.
Tangent: Ms. Sydelle Gomberg taught my ballet class the word in 1988 and I will never forget it. She wanted us to move our arms, to do our ports de bras, like we were gently pulling a twig through the water, making figure 8s with it, letting the buds at the end of the branch form 'S's, and do our best not to disturb the rest of the water. I liked that metaphor then and now.
It deals with the struggle between youth/innocence and age/knowledge/corruption as well as how curiosity and adventure can be both excellent and dangerous. It raises a ton of brilliant questions about technology, the 'information age,' sound versus music, and silence. It also got me thinking a lot about aging, and change and what change means at different points in a person's life. I kind of want to read it all over again.

Also, I saw Another Earth a few weeks ago and loved that too. Bravo to Mike Cahill and Brit Marling and the 2 or so other people involved. Yay for books, plays and movies that are tackling the metaphysical while also being really accessible and entertaining.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Clear eyes, full hearts...

I'm borrowing the locker-room chant from Friday Night Lights to convey my pride at the students at Codman Academy (founded by my mom!) and their work with the Huntington Theater Company.

I love this video documenting their first time working on the plays of August Wilson. (In the past they've always done a Shakespeare play.)

High School Students Perform August Wilson from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This morning I woke up and I couldn't see. Literally. Everything was blurry and I wasn't even hungover or headache-ridden.
I rubbed my eyes and gave myself a series of eye tests, splashed water on my eyes, asked myself if I was 'being dramatic' or hyper again and again, went for a run to make sure it wasn't grogginess, and then... I got a ride to the hospital.
When I was 5-- a few days after seeing a production of The Miracle Worker I'm pretty sure-- I kind of faked being blind one day. I think I didn't want to go to school, and I was half-curious if I could pull it off-- and in some deranged way I almost successfully convinced myself that if I was going down this road it could only mean I really was going blind. Or at least that was a symptom of something. I put my shoes on the wrong feet. I don't remember how conscious I was of these things, how shotty my vision was if at all, but I remember the part of the mid-morning, after several hours in the ER, when I sort of got bored and suddenly regained the power of sight. I remember feeling bad that my mom was so worried. But it was also a really interesting experiment.
Today was not an experiment. The ground, people's faces, and street signs were unrecognizable to me. In order to write notes to the actors I made the words on my computer 300% and held it inches from my face.
At the hospital I got a gown, a CT scan, and some headache medicine. They think it was an ocular migraine. Not serious at all. I'm glad I had it checked out and also that my worst fears (which flashed before my blurry eyes as I was being wheeled on a gurney into the CT machine) of going blind are not true. I really like seeing.
Also, here's a great article about another one of my favorites. Who happens to be a lady.
Miranda, I really think we would be bosom buddies.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jennifer Egan, hero of mine

Since I'm directing a new musical at the moment, and just finished directing a play that my company Colt Coeur created collaboratively with playwright Lucas Kavner, I have been thinking A TON about story. And about style. And tone. And playing with time. And objects as jumping off points. Maria Irene Fornes said that she used to go to flea markets and look at the dresses hanging around a stall and try to imagine the women that would wear them. SHe'd find chairs and find a story in their shape, their cushions, and their scars. I love working this way. The musical i'm working on now is the first (new) project I've ever been a part of that I came to very late in the process. I'm finding this incredibly challenging.
Anyway, I just came across this interview by a writer named Alec Michod with Jennifer Egan, one of my absolute favorite writers and probably people.
I read The Invisible Circus in 1997 as a high-school girl with her own plans for a European-backpacking adventure. The whole time I was in Europe I'm pretty sure I was looking for Snake; Egan's super-sexy crafting of him had made me all but fall in love. I went to Cinque Terre looking for the sister who jumped as much as for the cliffs themselves. My own sister and I laughed and cried and obsessed over that book together and waited with baited breath for Emerald City. And so it has gone with each of her books. I haven't read The Goon Squad yet-- but it is on the docket for August and is probably the thing I am most looking forward to at present.
The interview is great and I especially got a kick out of the powerpoint section. It reminded me a little of William Gass or Christopher Alexander. But much less heady and much more fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

science fiction dance story

I have never seen anything like this.
I'm very excited to see this show at Jacob's Pillow in July.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I support this message.

Click here to see it full-size. (And keep exploring.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

close your eyes and listen

Sometimes you just need a really good song.

Numb by The Airborne Toxic Event

Thank you Anna and the whole Airborne Toxic Event. I continue to love your music.

Monday, April 11, 2011

team effort

my every show ritual: shot of the cast on the last day of rehearsal
(THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, by Stephen Adly Guirgis)

A few of the images I put up on the wall for visual reference.

a shot from load-in, featuring our lovely Associate Costume designer and John McDermott's gorgeous hand-made hubcab lantern practicals

Grant Yeager (lighting designer) is also a genius.

right before Satan's entrance...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes I love the internet.

Check this out.

I don't know if I actually know this person, but I feel like we are kindred spirits. Except, he/she is cooler.

Also, here's a picture I took at the gallery show of one of my favorite artists. Marcel Dzama. (Formerly of the Royal Art Lodge.) I think he secretly wants to be a theater director. Or throw really fabulous parties. Can you imagine?

Friday, March 18, 2011

paper-bagging it in washington square park on a friday night

City life is such an endless source of inspiration.
Today is the day-- the day that feels like spring or even summer when the whole city breathes a collective sigh of relief that the seemingly interminable winter is indeed coming to an end. You see the skin of girls' knees and boys' pale forearms, toes find an occasion to poke beyond open heels or summer sandals even. There is so much more music and so much more kissing. It makes me think of all of the times this has happened in my life-- all 30 times, or I was probably only really aware of the meaning of the seasons from 4 on or so... And those 3 1/2 years in LA were a little bit of a different story... But spring in a 4-season climate is a glorious thing.
Corita has a painting that says (So far) the crocuses have always come up
And I love that sentiment. And as much as I understand that intellectually-- to experience that first burst of spring is something altogether visceral; animal almost.
Happy Birthday Katie!!!! You too are an inspiration in all things.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Two items to share today.
The first is Frank Rich's farewell op-ed in today's NYTimes. Good thing he's only going to my guilty pleasure-- NY Magazine.
The second makes Black Swan look like absolute child play.
Watch it and gasp. And then stretch. So that one day... you too might be able to...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

blind luck and the universe converges

Today was a good day.
When I got in late last night (after the drive from New Haven and looking for legal parking on the night before street cleaning) my eyes were filled with a precarious bounty of bags, computer, blankets, boots, and books and I barely got the front door open with all of my items intact. This morning, when I came down the stairs, my wallet was sitting in the vestibule with a note that said simply, "found this on the stoop." All of the cards were there and there was an absence of cash-- exactly as I had left it.
This was a wonderful relief (though I hadn't even noticed it missing yet), especially since every morning someone comes by the front gate and rifles through the recycling collecting cans and bottles for deposits. Had this stranger been the one to find the wallet and drop it inside? Someone broke enough to roam the streets in the bitter cold collecting bottles? Or was it someone in my building? I will write them and note and see if anyone picks it up. And I will keep you posted.

The other magical thing that happened today is the spontaneous appearance of Ken Roht (back in my life, right here in Brooklyn!). He is an old friend and an artistic hero of mine and I spotted him on Court Street outside the Cinema. We hugged and caught up and I learned he is spending the next several months a block from my apartment... so there will be more catching up ahead. The crazy thing is-- he arrived this morning and I had no idea he was coming east (he usually lives in LA) much less to my hood, and I love that I just happened to see him on my walk home. I wouldn't be so struck by this if it was the first time. On January 17th, 2004 I ran into Ken on the street in DUMBO (on a bit of a bad day) and our conversation and a job offer from him resulted in me spending 3 1/2 years in LA. The last time I saw Ken was in April 2008, when he was writing my recommendation letter for Williamstown Theater Festival. I went to Williamstown in May 2008 and never went back to LA after that. Is it just me or does it seem like he's sort of a spiritual force in my life?

Him and Vito Acconci. A man who either I am following or he is following me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

happy valentine's day.

In honor of Valentine's I'm going to share these great quotes Stella sent me.
Go ahead and fall in love with a book. I'm going to.
[Also, I cannot believe there's nothing from Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go on here.]

30 Literary Quotes That Just Might Get You Laid
11:00 am Wednesday Feb 9, 2011 on flavorpill by Kathleen Massara

Wooing is hard work. Inevitably all of us will be crushed by disappointment from time to time when a chosen paramour rejects us with a single, cutting remark. However, we are almost certain here at Flavorpill that having a background in literature will work in your favor, whether you find yourself pining at a bar, a café, or at an awkward house party filled with graduate students clutching red plastic cups — their eyes glazing over as another person enters the throng and attempts to discuss his thesis on Levinas’s idea of irreducible relations. Rally against this stagnation, readers, and use the quotes below to find love… but don’t blame us if you get slapped.

1. Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Best way of cutting to the chase:

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”

2. Complete Works by D.H. Lawrence

When you’re encouraging the flame:

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”

3. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Infamous heartbreaker, that Henry Valentine:

“What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse.”

4. Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

You could almost pick a line at random with Neruda, really, but here’s a sure thing:

“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

5. Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Get ready to test adulterous waters:

“I used to think marriage was a plate-glass window just begging for a brick.”

6. “Don Juan” by Lord Byron

For the shy ones, sitting in the room downstairs:

“A little she strove, and much repented,
And whispering, ‘I will ne’er consent’ — consented.”

7. “Bright Star” by John Keats

Who is able to resist Keats’ spell? If anyone can, you shouldn’t be interested in them anyway:

“Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon in death.”

8. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima

When you suddenly realize your kendo teacher is thinking of molding more of your body than your mind:

“I seemed like a baby bird keeping its truly innocent animal lusts hidden under its wing. I was being tempted, not by the desire of possession, but simply by unadorned temptation itself.”

9. The Lost Poems by Dorothy Parker

To use in any bar, in any city, but probably best with Wall Street guys:

“I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.”

10. Just Kids by Patti Smith

It’s a risk, but it worked when Patti used it on Robert:

“Will you pretend you’re my boyfriend?”

11. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

For people who insist they enjoy “erotica” and not porn:

“He was now in that state of fire that she loved. She wanted to be burnt.”

12. A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky

For scientifically-minded perverts:

“We’re getting along so well; I trust you so much for this one second that I’m going to let you yank on me.”

13. Male Colors by Gary Leupp

This one will work in most gay bars or history departments:

“Excuse me for talking to you this way, master, but isn’t your bottom hard to please?”

14. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

For chrissakes, please do not attempt on anyone under 18:

“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”

15. My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

To the woman in the blue dress:

“Let me first state forthright that contrary to what we’ve often read in books and heard from preachers, when you are a woman, you don’t feel like the Devil. ”

16. The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

This man was once married to Padma Lakshmi. He must have done something right:

“For a fellow who’s not to much to look at, you have the instincts of a champion.”

17. Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant

To the man or woman who will in no way break your heart:

“You’ll find that my coquetry is quite impartial, which allows me to keep my friends.”

18. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Let’s be honest here:

“I’m the fortieth ugliest man in this bar. But so what! So what!… Isn’t this how people used to fall in love?”

19. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

When confronted with your first threesome:

“The signore…wishes her to begin at the beginning.”

20. Sula by Toni Morrison

Saying it like it is:

“What do you mean take him away? I didn’t kill him, I just fucked him.”

21. London Fields by Martin Amis

When a clear sense of foreboding conquers all:

“You know how it is when two souls meet in a burst of ecstatic volubility, with hearts tickling to hear and to tell, to know everything, to reveal everything, the shared reverence for the other’s otherness, a feeling of solitude radiantly snapped by full contact — all that?”

22. The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

When it’s time to get fruity:

“Stuff me in a tutu and let’s screen experimental videos all day.”

23. Couples by John Updike

Sometimes you have to be the bait:

“The first breathe of adultery is the freest.”

24. Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver

When you are the last man at a bar, talking to the last sympathetic woman:

“We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”

25. “First Love” by Isaac Babel

Who enjoys saucy French words? Hopefully, your admirer does:

“She would lift her peignoir above her knees and say to her husband: ‘Give baby a kiss…’”

26. Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates

When you meet your first baby dyke:

“Like they’re pretending not to know who I am: I’m Legs Sadovsky I’m FOXFIRE I don’t fuck around with guys.”

27. “Tonka” by Robert Musil

When you think coming clean about your anxiety will get you through the difficult parts:

“You see how wrong I go, how ridiculous I’m making myself in your eyes by keeping on guessing wrong like this! Doesn’t that help you to come out with it? Come on now!”

28. “Fireworks” by Richard Ford

When you need to switch identities:

“I realized I loved you, and I didn’t want to be married to somebody I didn’t love. I wanted to be married to you. It isn’t all that complicated.”

29. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

When honesty is the best policy:

“Are you happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?” “Of course I am.” “Why?” “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”

30. Pussy, King of the Pirates by Kathy Acker

For the post-punk, French critical theory set:

“If you ask me what I want, I’ll tell you. I want everything.”