I haven’t been sleeping.

I’ve been away from Los Angeles for a week and a half now.

Five days ago my eye doctor told me I had astigmatism. You should have been wearing glasses for fifteen years, he said, before berating me for the amount of eyeliner I used. I picked out my first pair of glasses later that day while my mom had her nails done. I wear them for fifteen minutes at a time. The world doesn’t seem real through them. They’re like a portal to another, slightly clearer place. I’m getting used to turning my head from side to side and feeling the slightest bit nauseous.

Before that, I took a train from Vermont to Connecticut, editing photos of my newest niece, Alma Lucille, for the better part of five hours.

Early this morning I woke up from a dream that the zombie apocalypse had started. I stole a car and drove somewhere foggy.

Today I will meet my agent and my new editor at HarperCollins. New York is cloudy and grey and just how I remember it.

I shop for socks on Amazon because my feet are cold. My sister-in-law’s cat rubs her face on my computer screen. She doesn’t care how many times I push her away. Last night she slept between my legs. She’s getting older and has had a sudden change of heart regarding how much human interactions she likes.

The first time I met my agent was over two years ago. It was the day after my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. It was raining. I wore a brand new Kelly green dress (dry clean only) and dropped a hunk of cream cheese on the front right before I had to leave.

This morning I eat a bagel warily and hope it doesn’t rain.



yosemite, pt. 1


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The drive to Yosemite takes almost five hours and my eleven-day old niece, Harper, sleeps the entire way. We get a late start made even later by a coffee shop that takes twenty minutes to fill our order. We drive across the new Bay Bridge and continue east for what seems like an eternity. The farther away we get from the coast, the browner everything gets. It becomes apparent just how dire the drought in California is. The Don Pedro Reservoir is so low that its sides are exposed and the result is the landscape of some alien planet, or how you might expect the earth to look in a few hundred years.

We stop and take pictures by the Yosemite sign. A threesome of tourists wait for their turn and comment on how small Harper is. They ask how old and they tell my brother and sister-in-law they’re brave.

Do you think we’re brave? my brother asks me. People keep saying that. 

We walk around the grounds of the Ahwahnee Hotel together while my sister-in-law feeds Harper in our hotel room. We come across a river no more than five inches deep. I wade out in the sandals I bought at the beginning of the summer, now so tattered and worn I don’t care if the water ruins them. The river is freezing cold and numbs my toes, but the air is stifling and warm. The forest fires blaze just on the other side of Half Dome and everything smells like burning wood.

We wake up the next morning and the car is covered in ash. Soot falls around us like a freak snowstorm. We can’t see the top of El Capitan. We strap the baby into her carseat and drive up and up and up to find some cleaner air. IMG_6457











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photographs taken in Yosemite National Park.





Ojai is too bright and hot to ever fully open my eyes, so the result is a trip a little fuzzy around the edges. We arrive in the early afternoon, irritable with hunger and the delays of Labor Day traffic. We walk slowly through the types of stores you can only find in towns like this, where big names aren’t allowed and the antique store stretches on for miles, crammed with one of everything you might ever want. We eat Mexican food and when we check into our hotel, the receptionist pours us two glasses of cabernet and tells us when we can see the pink moment. We drive the short distance up to Meditation Mount; I arrive at the top feeling motion sickness from filming too much of the bumpy ride up the hillside. Then: dinner at  the nicest place you’d ever want to eat—a table set against a miniature forest of bamboo and flanked on the other side by a sprawling herb garden.

Neither of us sleeps.

I don’t know why, but I wake up every hour, squinting into the darkness to see what time the cable box says it is. I’m relieved when it’s morning, when we finally pull ourself out of bed in search of coffee and scones, eating in the car as we head to our next destination: a popular, easy hike that takes us around the back of an orange grove. It is impossibly hot. My tee shirt is damp with sweat by the end of it; we turn the A/C on high and drive slowly, letting the car cool down.

We eat vegan wraps for lunch next to a very old cocker spaniel that keeps dipping its ears into the water bowl. We head home when the sun is at its hottest point. I take my boots off and toss them into the trunk. S puts his hat in the backseat.

Everything is burnt orange and bright green until we get back to the coast—and then it is only blue blue blue.


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photographs taken in Ojai, California. 

summer’s end.




IMG_5916Lately I have been doing so much work there isn’t room for anything else. I wake up and make coffee with eyes still closed against the morning light. I work in bed with the pillows propped up behind my back and I don’t shower until three or four, when I’ve written or revised thousands of words and accidentally get a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

My first niece was born yesterday: Harper Arden. She is tiny and she yawns a lot and she keeps her eyes open. 

I’ve been dreaming of a small, quiet vacation. We’ve been recording music and I’ll listen to the songs as I drive up the coast or out into the desert, letting the heat swallow me up until I’m floating, boiling.

Yesterday I spent one hour outside photographing a beautiful girl who kept asking me how she looked. Afterward we ate fried avocado tacos and split an enormous piece of cake made with too much lemon. My scalp sweat under a wool hat but I haven’t done my hair in weeks. 

I feel like I have a better handle on myself than I’ve had in the whole past year. I still change my mind a hundred times a day but at least the decisions are closer together. They are no longer night and day. The variations are at least, now, related. 

photographs of Bridgett taken in my back alley, Los Angeles. 

2 hot 2 live.

IMG_5541 IMG_5544 It is too hot to do anything. In Connecticut, the humidity was like a fluid blanket you couldn’t get out from under. I come back to LA and it’s no better. It is too hot to write. The words stick at the ends of my fingertips. It is too hot to follow through. It is too hot to edit. It is too hot to do anything other than fill up my water glass and walk from the kitchen to the living room a hundred times, checking for minute drops in temperature. It is too hot to be concerned. Too hot to wonder what more I could have done. I take two or three showers a day. I buy linen summer dresses and they wrinkle so easily that I stop caring. I don’t own an iron. I hang them in the bathroom when I shower but the water isn’t hot enough to steam. They just get wet and I towel them off after I towel myself off. I write on my bed with bare legs and my laptop sticks to my thighs. My cat won’t come near me anymore. He sprawls on my unused desk or spreads himself across the wood floor. It’s too hot for being pet. I write songs too hard, too long. My fingers hurt against the keys of my laptop. They sting in the water of the shower. I make coffee and stick it in the fridge and then I keep checking back to see if it’s cold. I sing the same moody lyrics over and over and my best friend texts me to say I think this is the best thing you’ve written yet. 2 hot 2 live I text her back. She sends me a string of nonsensical emojis. We FaceTime without speaking. I melt. My cat is afraid of the guitar. I am out of paper towels and cannot clean up the mess of melting. We work around it.   IMG_5665 IMG_5635 IMG_5638 IMG_5607 IMG_5601 photographs taken in Connecticut. my young cousins. 

a long absence.




I haven’t been to Connecticut in over a year. I watch out the window as the plane descends over farmland and greenery and a line of bright yellow tractors and I think: OK, I’ve made it. I’m back. 

It’s a particular feeling to return to the place of one’s birth. You feel at once a stranger and someone returning, triumphantly. You almost expect people to stop you in the nearly-deserted airport, to congratulate you on the journey you’ve just completed (both metaphorically and actually), to ask if they can touch your hand.

More people than we expected show up to the wake. I don’t know all their names and so my cousin and brothers whisper to me and I whisper to them if they look confused. My grandmother’s casket is closed. It was what she always said. I don’t want anybody to see me dead.

I don’t blame her.

It starts storming during dinner. The three little girls, my cousins, are all scared of thunder and lightning in an obligatory, resigned way. Like they just know they’re supposed to be. The rain hits sideways against the windows of the restaurant and the sky lights up in flashes of gold. My oldest brother and I drive to pick up his wife from the train station in Windsor Locks. It’s by a river. We get there as the train is pulling up. It looks exactly like a noir film, all mist and steam and bright headlights.

We stay up late every night. In the mornings there are tiny, kid-sized footprints on my parents’ hardwood floor. My father vacuums. My mother watches a soap opera by fast forwarding through all the boring parts. The sliding deck doors are covered in palm prints and fingerprints. The mornings go much too quickly. Time does not listen; time does not rest. So I don’t rest, either. I bounce around where everyone tells me to bounce around. By the end of it, I feel tired and worn out. A whirlwind of a trip, everyone says. I sort of smile, glossy-eyed. I have another cup of coffee and ignore the ulcer ache of too much stress and travel.

My little cousins hug me in turn, one after the other, and call me auntie and throw me balls and kiss my stomach, the highest part they can reach.

Do you remember me? I ask the littlest one.

She puts her nose against my neck and laughs laughs laughs.

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