Installment 10: Chloe & Fran get Lost In Translation


Installment # 10: Chloe and Fran discuss their writing schedules and being in withdrawal from each other.

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As I write, this my lunch break is coming up. I’ve been at the computer for four hours as I do each morning except for Saturdays and Sundays.

Writing advice annoys me. At the end of the glamorized articles there is no creative way to come to writing except for sitting in a chair at a desk. (Although, people have standing desks now—Julie at Catapult has one but told me she can only do email at it, she can’t really write). Writing looks incredibly boring to other people; to my roommate for example who walks by me to pee and make eggs and shower each morning, a dozen times. She leaves me alone.

You and I just spent a lot of time together in Portland. We took hikes, went to yoga, and ate dinners and lunches together. Then I got back to NY and we were both quiet for a couple of weeks. We talked on the phone the other night and it turned out we’ve both been keeping “bankers hours” as you put it.

I am finishing up my essay collection while you are embarking on a new creative nonfiction book.

If I’m having a work week, this is what it looks like:

If I don’t get to the desk between 7 and 9a.m., I am fucked. If I get to the desk between 9 and 10, I can still get some hours in but I berate myself for not starting earlier. Around noon or 1p.m., I eat eggs and greens or yogurt and fruit and shower. Then I work more until 3 or 4. At 3 or 4, I do errands, which is usually the post office (mailing books or checks), the bank (depositing checks), and a few groceries (half & half, eggs, honey) and then I take a walk until 6p.m. Then I clean my room, make dinner, (rice and beans or omelet or salad with protein) pour a glass of wine I stole from my dad’s loft, watch an indie movie or read a book. I go to bed at between ten and eleven. I go to yoga on Saturdays and Sundays and read.

I basically wake up feeling like a million bucks and am stoked from seven to 11a.m. and then it’s all downhill and I become miserable. 

It is hard to see my progress, because I am too far into it. I moved a dozen sentences. I added half a dozen paragraphs. I changed an ending. I added a scene. I added a joke. I fleshed out an anecdote. I changed a title. I changed some names. I consider one essay done and one needs to be completely changed.

You write at cafes more than I do, and you have a kid. What does your workweek look like when you’re having one?


We were dying last week, because as much as we are in different places in terms of what we are working on, we were in such a similar headspace when we got on the phone on Friday to yack.  It seemed like we were both having a hard time feeling like we have been making decent progress or as I like to say, we were getting in our own ways, bumping into ourselves.  I think this has a shit-ton to do with that fucking inner-critic moron that lurks in our workspaces and tries to make us feel like crap.  You’re not doing enough.  What you’re working on sucks dick.  You suck dick.  You wish you sucked better dick.  You should do more.  You should be more productive.  

And my personal favorite……Nobody cares about this shit that you are writing about, you douchebag dick sucker!

After our conversation, you wrote me and said that you wished we lived in the same city.  I feel the same way, I feel like we have so much to offer each other in terms of support around this grunt-work.  But at the same time, I know that we can be a distraction to each other, drinking coffee and analyzing shit instead of producing work, so maybe right now in order to get to where we both need to be, it’s a blessing to have this distance between us.  It was great to have you here, though. I had a blast cruising around this ridiculous bubble that is Portland with you again.

You’re family really.  And I do think we were quiet for a few weeks because we missed each other, lol!

I think my favorite moment was when we were at that mountain cabin and Karina was crashed out at like nine o clock and we were buzzed on wine and we put on Lost in Translation and I was excited like a kid about to watch Jaws or some shit. You had taken a melatonin and then right before the karaoke scene, the fucking epic climax of the movie, you went to bed.  You said you’re knees were buckling as they do when you take that shit, but then you were in your bed downstairs and you heard the karaoke scene and got jealous.  I was like, You should have come back up.  I would have been jealous too, that scene kills.  

I love when Bill Murray is about to sing ‘More Than This’ and gets all serious and says, This is really hard…..

I could feel at the time

There was no way of knowing….    

So classic.  

And so now you’re back upstate and I’m still in Portland and it’s back to fucking work.  We did speak the other day about how we both try to keep “banker’s hours” and how our clocks are similar.  My sched is a little different than yours because I do have that kid and so I need to pick him up at three, so my day gets a little jacked.  I’m not ready to stop working at three and so I’m on the playground like a caffeinated freak zombie and all these parents are all stoked to see their kids and I’m in the corner with my head down wearing a fucking jean jacket, still spinning from the shit that I am working on, still processing really.  I start my day around nine as well, after my guys are the fuck out of my grill and then I sweep and tidy up and walk the dogs and I think about what I want to accomplish.  I plan out a yoga class for midday and then I generally work a few work sessions around that.  I definitely obsess over food and like you, I eat yogurt and fruit and eggs and greens and I can also beat myself up over that shit, similar to the writing.  You are right, one work session is usually at a café, because it helps me to be around people to get things going and then another session is in my studio at the house, where I often fall into myself and try to fight off the inner critic like a gangsta. This goes on during the week.  On weekends, I do not feel compelled to produce work per se but I often work through some shit in my head and connect back to how I am feeling about what I worked on during the week prior.

No matter what, so much about what we do involves tons of existential struggle and a constant will to keep fighting.  It’s hard work.  And I think we both have really strong work ethics and we both crave structure in our lives so we fight hard to build that for ourselves.  Because, like Bill Murray sang so well and with such emotion and passion…..

More than this, you know there is nothing

More than this, tell me one thing

More than this, there is nothing


Okay so we went upstairs and got under the covers of the bed you were gonna sleep in and put in Lost In Translation. You jumped out of the bed to go to the bathroom and you were like, wrapped in a blanket or a robe and you exclaimed, “I’M SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW!!!” and then booked it down the stairs to pee.

I think we missed each other too–I had to adjust to not hanging out with you every day again, it sucked.

I beat myself up over food too–like, “You’re gonna get fat from sitting and writing all day you better eat 2 eggs, not 3…..”

Here’s something I noticed with my books and you’re probably feeling this way too: No one gives a shit about your books until they’re published. Unless they’re also writers actively writing books, then they do. Other people don’t.

When Women came out, my mom said to me at one point, When did you write this?

I was like, uhhh, every fucking day for hours for the last 14 months.

But no one sees the hours you put in, so it’s lonely, lonely, lonely….

Also, it’s lonely because if you tell people you’re working hard it’s sort of hard to explain and if you always talk about what you’re working on, you sound like an asshole….on your porch in Portland we were saying we both write every day but you can’t talk about it, kind of like Fight Club. You also said you get annoyed when people write about “journaling.”

Anyway, last night you ate a tiny bit of a pot cookie. I hit the wine a little and watched Silver Linings Playbook. I check the fuck out of my head at night.

If you went to the hotel that Lost In Translation was filmed at, what would you do?


My fucking goal in life is to hole up in that hotel in Lost in Translation.  It’s the Park Hyatt Tokyo I believe and it’s like seven hundo a night.  Some of my favorite memoires in life have been holing up alone at rad hotels in killer cities.  It’s so humbling and interesting in ways that are almost hard to explain.  So I would probably spend a lot of time at that hotel reading and writing and checking shit out in the common areas and I would probably not do a lot of touring around Tokyo, because I am a dick like that……

 I was supposed to be at The Jane hotel right now exactly, literally today but I cancelled my East Coast trip because I don’t have a ton of energy for my family and travel at this point.  My nerves have been too shot.  Now I feel sad thinking that I could be at The Jane sipping coffee and thinking about what amazing movie I could see today, fuck!

Instead, I’m in my writing studio hoping that I don’t have to face a ton of inner conflict with myself today, feeling a bit like shit because I ate a third of that stupid pot cookie and was up late freaking out in my bed because it was made with the hyper pot.  





Fall Sale


After being sold out for some time, the 2nd printing of WOMEN is finished. You should get a copy with Elizabeth Ellen’s intro. It’s pretty funny and juicy. I don’t even have a copy yet, but I’ve read the intro. We actually got into our biggest argument to date, about it. ( ;

SF/LD books is killing it—David Shields and Bret Easton Ellis talk about Mira and Tao’s book, Selected Tweets on B.E.E.’s podcast today!!!!

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I’ll be reading twice with Uzodinma Okehi 2X next month, check out my events page for info. 

CATAPULT is publishing some cool personal essays. I liked this one by Alexander Chee about Chloe Sevigny.

U R Creepy


This isn’t really how curtly and gramatically sketchy you should talk to someone you’re writing about in your personal essay collection, but when it’s a friend since age 11, this is how you talk to each other. This is how I fact check. Also most people who aren’t writers don’t remember shit. (Am writing an essay for my new book about giving up singing, after a decade of voice lessons.) I am proud of my creepy memory! I wouldn’t be able to write what I do, otherwise.

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hashtag oregon life


I was interviewed about my book WOMEN for Newstalk, a radio station in Ireland. (?)

You can listen here. You can buy WOMEN here.

I’m in Bumfuck, Oregon at the moment, working on my book in a cabin. I hung out in Portlandia for the last week with my 2nd family, the Lindstrom-Strayed’s, and attended the writer Kristen Forbes’s wedding. It’s fun visiting a city you’ve lived in because you know where the good food and yoga is, how long it will take you to walk places, and which thrift stores you want to hit up.

Cheryl & I

Cheryl Strayed & I, all cleaned up

Kristen, me, Erin, Cheryl, Bobbi

Kristen, me, Erin, Cheryl, Bobbi

working on my book edits here

working on my book edits at this desk in Rhodedendron, Ore.

my friend Fran and I on our hike yesterday

my friend Fran and I on our hike yesterday

my style icon & partner in crime: cheryl's daughter bobbi

my style icon & partner in crime: cheryl’s daughter, Bobbi.

Janie is keeping me company out here

Janie is keeping me company out here

Catapult Yourself


Seems like we all walked away from the Catapult Nonfiction Bootcamp in high spirits last Saturday. Repost from Milcah Orbacedo: 

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I was also happy to meet Joseph Barchi who was like, a big ray of sunshine. He’s 18 and already writing for Buzzfeed, attending workshops, and seeing Noah Baumbach movies. It kind of makes me jealous.

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Stay tuned for the nonfiction weekend bootcamp I’ll be teaching in November with Emily Gould.  I’ve really just been looking for an excuse to post this photo of her because I <3 it.



Remember I have 2 memoir classes coming up this fall in NYC. They begin Tuesday, October 6th. Sign up here. 



how i spent my summer


i got this how i spent my summer idea from EE. ever since i read it i’ve had one clanking around in my brain.

i spent my summer enjoying myself in spite of myself. i spent my summer eating chicken apple sausage with greens, chicken apple sausage with eggs, standing at my kitchen counter in my bra and underwear eating peaches off a cutting board with a fork, eating blueberries by the handful and honey by the spoonful, drinking some shit called warrior greens, taking baths and showers at night, reading in the bath, walking the train tracks, walking up and down the hill from the Amtrak and back home again. riding the train and writing blog posts to kill the time, writing emails. splitting thin crusted pizzas with people.  i spent the summer stepping on tiny shards of glass through July and aUGUST after accidentally smashing a framed print drunk one night, not texting people i shouldn’t, not hitting any deer, drinking Vino Verde, sleeping at from 1030p.m. to 7a.m., using half & half heavy handedly, eating whatever i wanted and liking how my body looked despite this, seeing movies alone at theaters i’d never been to in NYC: Bow Tie and Loewes at 66th Street, reading through people’s traumas, reading through more people’s traumas, reading through more people’s traumas. watching 30 minutes of Sex & The City to let my mind rest from all the trauma. reading chelsea martin’s essay collection to help me with my own, reading meghan daum and joann beard and jonathan ames to help me with my own, listening to terry gross, listening to marc maron. always having gladiolus or sunflowers in my kitchen. searching for the ultimate comfortable bra. sitting next to various business men on the amtrak, eating m&m’s and drinking seltzer on my way home on the amtrak, peeing more than i’d like to on the amtrak, listening to music on the amtrak, forgetting my headphones and being pissed on the amtrak, drinking iced coffee, missing maggie estep, listening to the construction workers outside my apartment, cleaning my room, wearing dresses every day, buying more and more dresses, sharing a last glass of wine with my mom after we both have one, sitting at various bars around town with my mom, lackadaisically walking around hudson with my mom, going to breakfast and dinner with my mom, going to my mom’s house and stealing food from her fridge and lettuce from her garden, passing a gray bob dylan t-shirt back and forth with my mom, going wine tasting in the middle of the day with my mom, seeing sheryl crow live with my mom, going on hikes, swimming, hiking at bash bish falls, trying to be excited about my essay collection, trying not to be embarrassed about my essay collection, trying and failing to make my essay collection good, knowing how lucky I am to sold an essay collection, working on my Spotify playlist, meeting people for drinks and coffee and lunch who i met on Twitter, getting into raging arguments with my high school girl friends, going to therapy, not going to yoga enough, swishing coconut oil around in my mouth, eating nicoise salads that make me feel like 100 bucks, getting tan, getting haircuts, people-watching at Fabienne’s in Williamsburg, drinking cafe au laits at Fabienne’s in Williamsburg, buying many pairs of underwear, talking on the phone over coffee in the morning to my  girl friends, sleeping in Crown Heights, in Bed Stuy, at the St. Marks Hotel, printing, printing, printing shit at Staples, sitting on my porch, using three different colors of Le Pens (red, blue, lavender) making friends with my students, watching every interview of amy schumer and tig notaro that exists, seeing Trainwreck and AMY and that Beach Boys movie and Mistress America, watching the Nirvana doc, the Nina Simone doc, Welcome To Me, Diary of a Teenaged Girl, slowly making my shoe collection classier, rearranging the furniture in my living room, eating lavender ice cream cones with my dad, going to west side story with my dad, watering my plants, trying on clothes, writing a bunch on my website to avoid writing other things, listening to old cat power…….

why live in NYC when you can live here????

why live in NYC when you can live here????

swimming in spencertown

swimming in spencertown

brunch w my mama

at brunch w my mama

reading student stuff

reading student stuff

gifts from my editors

gifts from my editors

said sausage

said sausage

reading and seltzer in the b

reading and seltzer in the bath

The Strand 09′


I found this video on my old computer and it made me laugh. It’s from 2009 at The Strand. My friend Skye and I were hyper as shit. I was visiting from Seattle where I was living, so was happy to be in NYC. This was our friend Trevor Harran. I like how he says, “I know all the same deals that you guys know.”

the dog ate my book


This past June I visited my friend  Erika Kleinman in Austin, Texas. I was terrified of her dog named Penny. Erika said my face was a mixture of fear and disgust whenever Penny was in the room.

Yesterday, Penny did this to my book. Erika sent me this picture. So the feeling is mutual, I guess. I

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The 2nd printing of WOMEN is almost finished. It includes an introduction from Elizabeth Ellen. Here’s a taste. You can buy the first printing before it’s gone through Powell’s or Amazon. Or you can buy one through me! I have about four copies. Paypal me ( $14 if you’d like a special signed copy and I’ll mail it this Monday.

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Have a great weekend!