Subject: All Your Sadness is in Your Lungs
What’s deeply embarrassing is
that when I can’t sleep I listen to Oprah, and sometimes I imagine that if only
I could think the right thoughts and get myself on the right vibes and
wavelength, that I’ll manifest some magnificent and magical life and end up on
the plushy emerald green chairs in the middle of Oprah’s emerald green Oprah
Forest and I’ll get to tell Oprah all about what I know for sure, and what
makes my heart sing, and finally I’ll be rich and happy and well fucked.
|Circa 2009, Back when I used to believe in Digestive Enzymes,|
(dot. dot dot. Every time I write about toenail fungus, the fungus takes over and then there is heaps of confusion. Like in university, I tried to write a play called, Clap Loud If You Believe In Digestive Enzymes, and the protagonist's name was Amy, and Amy believed in Digestive Enzymes, and she had terrible toenail fungus, and unrelated to the toenail fungus, she quite literally puked in her mouth for a very large portion of the day. Amy's next door neighbour had a five-year-old son, and also vagina cancer. And the five-year-old son liked to jump on the trampoline, and he wanted his mother to live forever.
Now I remember that the kid's name was Gordon, and one day, Gordon was jumping on the trampoline, and Amy's organs - her esophagus and colon and liver and kidneys emerged, human-sized in Amy's back yard. And then somehow everyone became tiny and ended up in Gordon's mother's uterus, or maybe her vagina or maybe a little bit of both? They were trying to fight the cancer and the fungus all at once. There could have been human-sized fungus as well. Either way, it was all kinds of confusing.)
Oprah does not feel embarrassed to feature her own self on the cover of every single Oprah magazine. And she was not too embarrassed to feature herself on her Master Class Podcast. Why I am like Oprah. I feature myself all the time.
Everyone's life is a class you can learn from, that's what Oprah says. And Oprah told her own story of when
she really wanted to get the role of Shug Avery in the Color Purple and Shug
Avery’s husband’s name was Harpo which is Oprah’s name backwards and so when
she got an audition it all seemed like a magical manifested meant-to-be
miracle. Then Oprah called a casting director to follow up on her audition, and
the casting director scoffed at her and said that real actors were in the
running for the part, and the real actors were skinnier and much more
experienced. Oprah felt deflated so she went to the Fat Farm to jog.
never been to a Fat Farm, or heard of one until now, but it is somewhere I might have liked to go as a teenager. At the Fat Farm, Oprah jogged around and around
the track, and she talked to God and asked God to please help
her let go of all the grief and resentment around her heart, and she didn’t
need to let go enough to be able to go see the movie, but could God please make her a little bit
happy for the actress who got the part she so wanted.
And Oprah jogged and
jogged and jogged and gradually the plaque resentment around her heart lifted
and she thought, well, maybe I can go see the movie, and after a while, she even became so happy for the skinny actress who got the part, and eventually her whole heart was light and healed, and Oprah surrendered to whatever big or not big plan that God had in store for her and
then Stephen Spielberg called the Fat Farm and he said, you got the part. Oprah couldn't believe it.
hear you’re at a Fat Farm," said Stephen Spielberg. "Lose a pound, and you might lose the part." So Oprah
stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home. She said that getting this role in the
Colour Purple was proof that if you surrender fully to God’s plan, he will give
you back a life far greater than anything you ever dreamed. Stephen Spielberg will call. People will skip work and lock their doors and unplug their phones to watch your face every afternoon on television. Or something like
that. It was approximately 3 o'clock in the morning on some Thursday morning in February when I heard the Master Class that is Oprah's life.
Ever since the story of Oprah and the Fat Farm and the Colour Purple,
I’ve once or twice imagined that someday soon, I'll go to Parc Laurier, and I'll trudge round and round in a
rectangle until all the plaque around my heart will dissolve, along with all the cravings for the
exquisite prizes in the plushy emerald green Oprah chairs, and the exquisite fucks in the kitchen
and this all-consuming feeling that I love you, and I'll be so happy for everyone else's black-out orgasms, and my toenails will grow
back all happy and healthy and pink, and then God will reveal his real plan
which will hopefully be more beautiful and lucrative and well-fucked than
anything I ever could have dreamed of.
More Love from Eighteen-year-old Erica:
“One of my friends said
today: in 200 years Mother Theresa will get about one sentence in a
history textbook. Being young can really bring out questionable
contemplations and aspects of our personalities. I do hope that we
can survive it all, without becoming old and bitter or prematurely dead. I am
not going to become an academic, because it requires that you be much too
logical and sane. I feel that I have neither of these characteristics and
oh well, I'm going to be an artist. …
Do you think inner peace is
possible or do you think I should just accept that I will be forever bouncing
off the walls?
I was thinking that maybe next
year I would start hard core yoga and meditation and become composed and
un-unstable but I'm afraid that unfortunately I'm addicted to this
unpredictability and strangely believe that I'll be bored and uncreative and
uninteresting without it."
At Grown-ups Read Things They Wrote As Kids, I was effervescent and I told all my friends how I was doing so great for February, and I gave them the speech about last February, when I wept from deep behind the bottom of my lungs in the snow in Parc Outremont, and who was that person, and where did she go?
|So many views from so many meltdowns. |
Where did she go?
In fact she returned yesterday morning on Tuesday, February 12, at 9:32 a.m. in front of the bathroom sink of the Champion Meltdown House where I have melted down at least seven times in the past seven months, while shining the bathroom sink chrome, or while negotiating refrigerator drawers, or while wiping down the wooden kitchen island that seems perpetually covered with tomatoe sauce chunks, and expensive breadcrumbs.
In fact, I wept from deep behind the
bottom of my lungs for a bunch of the day and would have appreciated round-the-clock care (dot dot dot by the way the cute base of my tongue dude bought me a beet latte, and I am not sure he is old enough to stand in as a potential father figure; however, he may be a solid candidate for a Wounded Bird Complex.)
At 5:34 P.M. I called my friend Sherwin with
a meltdown, and Sherwin was drinking tequila and drawing a pile of garbage for
the sixth last page of his tenth book.
“Every time I make a new book, I
think, oh, maybe this will be the one that lets me not struggle. After all
these books, it’s less and less likely. But I keep doing it, because I enjoy
One of Sherwin’s first books is
and it is a collection of 1600 3-line pseudo-haikus, and me and blank (not Wounded Bird Complex Dude. Also not Sherwin.) and I read them to each other the first time we ever
cuddled and made out, and I got to hump his leg and have an ugly-cry orgasm.
Heartbreaker, by Sherwin Tija
A really great poem by Sherwin is
(TWIAHB, by Sherwin, p.68)
and another one is
my inner life
(TWIAHB, by Sherwin, p. 91)
and another one is
like the end of
(TWIAHB, by Sherwin, p. 141)
My poem is
Last night, after I hung up the phone with Sherwin, I'd imagined I'd go to Parc Laurier and under the snowstorm, I’d trudge
round and round in a rectangle, until all the plaque around my heart would dissolve, along with all the
cravings for the exquisite prizes in the Oprah chairs, and the exquisite fucks
in the kitchen and this all-consuming feeling that I love you, and I’d be so happy for everyone who gets to have Black-Out Orgasms, and my toenails would grow back all happy and healthy
and pink, and then God would reveal his
real plan which would hopefully be more beautiful and lucrative and well-fucked
than anything I ever could have dreamed of.
Instead I walked 1.75 blocks to
Jean Coutu, and asked how much the toenail fungus drug would cost, and in fact, the cost
was better than I thought, 37 bucks for six weeks, and despite anguished
vacillation and the risk of diarrhea plus liver and kidney failure, I swiped my Visa card and bought the drugs, and everyone stared as I trudged
around the perimeter of Jean Coutu, sobbing intermittently from deep behind the bottom of my
After seven minutes, I switched to sobbing and pacing up and down the aisles of PA Nature, and then I calmed down and bought yogurt on sale, and
a poppy seed baguette.
Maybe in addition to diarrhea
and liver and kidney damage, the toenail fungus drug will bring fame, money,
weightloss, prizes, sex, while also curing me of the tragic belief that some
generic to extraordinary dude and his cock is the only thing that will ever be
able to set me free.
Dear Nandi, love Erica, 2004:
“This morning I am deeply
questioning the human condition, mocking and rolling my eyes at today's
society, feeling intensely lofty as I come to the existential conclusion that
nothing really matters, all is futile and what the hell let's eat drink and be
But no, something does matter
or nobody would have lasted this long.
Oh, who am I kidding, what is
the point of thinking anymore, why write, so much has already been thought and
written, and it's all doomed to become a blip.”
Spoiler Alert: This is the second last letter to Vincent. Send your worlds of heartbreaks to the secret email address ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.