Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Soup Vs. Art

[From Gianna, God help me.]

The end of an era.
I was so filled with emotion after reading Liz’s blog about our “relationship” and how little she will miss working with me that I really wanted to take some time to respond in kind. I am most touched that Liz took the time to find a photo of me that would give the most courageous of heroes second thoughts should I need resuscitations of the mouth-to-mouth variety. (Actually, after just glancing at it again, I doubt anyone would bother with the Heimlich either. I do not look great in that photo. Or just in general.) But here we are now and it’s my turn. Get your hankies out.

Liz Facts

She edits every single thing I write. Not just the blog stuff, although this too (awkward right?)[quite awkward indeed], but emails, eulogies (fact) everything. I can’t spell, am terrible at grammar, and am not sure of the proper use of whom and who. Nor do I care. I blame my love of rap.

Gianna with Buzz Aldrin. Lest you
think she only exposes me to...
her exposure, check out the buttons
on that top.
 Liz has a photographic memory. That is the only reason I ever mooned her. [For the record, she’s mooned me three times. –liz] I also think it added to her insomnia. […yes.]

We once ate at Taco Bell and charged it on our American Express. The total for two was $3.40 and it gave us great pleasure to know that when the bill came in and I wrote on the Amex statement “Dinner with Liz Sullivan,” someone in NY was going to think, “These two are sad sons of bitches.”

One of my favorite conversations – so I will insist it was one of Liz’s favorite conversations (co-dependent much?) -- was when we had one of our many post-“Dope Man” / Ethel Merman /NWA performances about what "NWA" meant. I had to laugh because really? One middle class white woman talking to another middle class white woman about the band name and merits of their lyrics as they roll on up to Amarillo in their company Jeep Liberty? Really? Easy-E was rolling in his grave I am sure. Although Austin is located south central in Texas (that one is for da fans).

Liz loves wildlife and camping. I know. It surprised me too. She can name, well, pretty much any animal, she may even do bird calls (I may have made this up but she is pretty well schooled on birds in general) and she loves to camp. She is a National Park lover. I know. I think it has something to do with tall trees. She fits in. [I don’t do bird calls, but I can imitate a ring wraith….]

Ways in Which I Have Made Liz’s Life Better (or Attempted, Anyway)

I have Liz’s best interests at heart. I always have. I guess you could say I know what Liz wants more than she does! For example, Liz will say, almost in passing, that she is ready to begin dating again since her long term relationship ended a couple years ago. Well, I know her well enough to know this is the ultimate green light for me to start looking around in a pretty serious way for available men. Alas, as anyone who travels for a living knows (Hello Lady Gaga, hello Jonas Brothers, hello truckers on the down low...) it’s hard to meet men! So I really had to put my thinking hat on. But then, voila! It came to me; it was perfect! …Of course, Liz being Liz – she was immediately opposed to it. My idea was simple: hit up some hot spots (classy hot spots, y’all) along our route, some places that single men were known to hang out. Here are a few names, and then I will tell you why Miss Priss was just too good for them.

• Jesters
• Clemens
• Stringfellows
• T.L. Roach

The Walls.
Never worry where your man is.
*All of these she found objectionable for the same reason: they are Texas State Prisons. (I should have mentioned each of the names above actually end in “Unit,” as in Jesters Unit, that's too much typing). Uh, hello, you’re single and each one of these state sanctioned facilities (very nice, by the way) holds hundreds – hundreds of single men. Some educated, or into reading (possibly porn, but I read People Magazine – isn’t THAT porn?), some love the outdoors (or would if they could), there are even a few non-violent (unlike a certain cat she lives with). She could see them three times a year; honey, you play your cards right (and I am not saying she is this kind of girl), and she could see all four three times a year! Anyway….no dice. So I gave other options.

Buster Cole – She said NO because this was a State Jail (what a snob … prison is too rough and jail is too …. run of the mill). It’s so obvious she went to a private college. A UT Grad would jump on this.

Richard LeBlanc – She said NO; even though this is a pre-release program facility, she still considers it a prison. Hmm. Super snob. Ridiculous! How is she ever going to meet someone? What if he is the one, but he is just waiting for the state to get his $200 and a job lined up? Ugh! Liz drives me so crazy!

James thanks.
Ernestine Glossbrenner Unit – I am going to say right up front exactly what I said to Liz: “These guys are fixer uppers, but sometimes that’s fun! ” This is a substance abuse unit, and I think anyone who read A Million Little Pieces knows that these guys can be pretty sexy and pretty passionate. And I may be stating the obvious here, but how cool will it to be able to say to your grandchildren, “We met in the Ernestine Glossbrenner Unit” (though maybe hold off on saying “unit” until the little ones know what prison is). You know the ending to this right? Liz said NO. I guess Liz never had a substance abuse problem. [Diet Coke and chocolate. –liz] Anyone ever see Liz around a batch of fresh, homemade, chocolate chip cookies? Anyone? Exactly. [Back away from my cookies.] Judgmental people often have the hardest time finding love.

Duncan Unit was my last ditch effort in finding love for Liz, and I will admit it was half-hearted. Although this is just a hop, skip, and jump off the side of the road, it’s also a geriatric unit (no pun intended), and, well, Liz is still a young gal….what’s the point?
Things I Wanted That Liz Did Not Want

I like a good scandal. I like to add fuel to a decent rumor; why not? When Liz and I first started traveling together (which was about 32 seconds after she started with RH), we became sort of inseparable (we call them “the days of wine and roses”). Well, not long after, a rumor started that perhaps we spent a lot more time, a lot more time together than we actually did (wink wink). I enjoyed this rumor more than Liz. So what I imagined doing while at sales conference was this: one morning (or every morning), while dressed only in pajamas and my name badge, I would run crying from Liz’s room, sobbing “Why does she break up with me every sales conference?” Clutching my catalogs in one hand, my highlighter in another, pushing past my co-workers as they came out of their own rooms—pure poetry. And of course when someone asked me what was wrong, I would say “I can’t talk about it, Liz wouldn’t like it.” And then I would scurry away and act slightly afraid. I sort of still get excited thinking about it. That, my friends, is a good time. Liz thinks it’s a “career killer.” Really? Charlie Sheen is on tour!
Top 5 Lies Liz Has Told You

Seriously, don't touch me.
And don't put your gassy kid in my lap.
 1. She loves to pretend she is uncomfortable with physical attention. Not true. She loves it. Craves it even. Touch her. Don’t ask, just do it. Caress her, run your fingers through her hair, down her back. Give her bum a little pat. I do, she loves it! [I do not love it.]

2. She doesn’t sleep. Not True. She sleeps all the time…mostly on conference calls or during foreign films. Yep, she can’t look at pictures and read words at the same time; it’s too much for her, confuses her and makes her sleepy. Nods right off. [Sleep is for the weak and I love foreign films.]

3. Astros fan. Biggest Lie. She is a die-hard Yankees fan. Has at least one Derek Jeter jersey – she sleeps in it. True, I saw her wearing it when she dozed off watching Das Boot (it’s her go-to nap film). [I own a copy of Das Boot, actually. And I hate the damn Yankees and Jeter in particular. Go 'Stros!]

4. Always prefers book version to film version – okay you know this is not true right? You know she owns The Scarlet Letter film with Demi Moore. She keeps it hidden…but trust me, she owns it.

5. She doesn’t love me. Not True. She absolutely does. [Absolutely true.]
This is going to seem a bit off the rails but stay with me, I am going to tell you how I feel about working with Liz.

Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin wrote this amazing play called Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. The main plot involves aliens trying to figure out people on earth. Trudy, a homeless woman, is their guide. They are really stumped by a few things. Goosebumps, for one. Another thing they really can’t wrap their alien heads around is Andy Warhol’s version of Campbell’s Soup and an actual can of soup (trying to figure out which one IS art and which is NOT art. Trudy keeps showing them the can of soup and then the Warhol art, “THIS is SOUP” and “THIS is ART”…total confusion). They also want to experience the theatre, so off they go – the ultimate NY experience. They have an amazing time. They come back and report to Trudy how great the show was, how truly humbling it was to be a part of so many people gathered in the same place at the same time feeling the same thing. Laughing together, crying together, feeling joy. They go on and on about sharing the experience of life with so many people, all strangers at one time…and Trudy realizes that they hadn’t been watching the stage at all. The aliens had been watching the audience the entire time. They said Trudy, “The play was soup, the audience…that was art.”

Anyway, my point is this: working for Random House, that was soup. Working with Liz…that was art.


  1. Brought me to tears again (this time of laughter!). G, don't leave us.

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