Ms. Dominique

Ms. Dominique
Ms. Dominique

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ms. Dominique on Writing as a Career

What tips or advice do you have for writers?

“You might as well forget the ambition to be ‘discovered.’ It’s more important these days to write beautifully and steadfastly. This is what I have always believed about my spirit, about my creativity. I believe that human creativity is a vital force that bounces wildly through this world and sometimes hits us in the back of the head when we’re not looking. It expresses itself through us (or at least me). I believe that raw, naked talent (the vital force by which human creativity gets manifested in the physical world through your hands) is a mighty, wonderful and very Holy gift. 

“I believe that, if you have a talent (or even if you just think you do, or maybe even if you just hope you do) … have a talent for working with your hands, that you should treat that talent with the highest reverence and love. Get a job working with your hands--maybe become a carpenter or a massage therapist. You should probably leave writing to the people who know what the hell they are doing. And ‘no’ I am not going to proofread your manuscript or hand-deliver it to the editors at Penguin.

“In other words, don't flip out and murder your gift through narcissism, insecurity, addiction, competitiveness, ambition or mediocrity. Frankly, don't be a writer! I’ve known a lot of writers and they are all like that. You should just get busy, get serious about your career, get down to it and write something down, for heaven's sake. Try writing an autobiographical essay. Then staple it to an admissions form from your local Community College. 

“You can find success. Try to get out of your own way. Just try. Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results -- the only thing it craves is money and adulation. Learn to love the money and let whatever happens next, just happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for drudgery. And if you want to visualize it as a monk riding a mule, well just go ahead. Just try! Or a mule riding a monk, I guess that works too.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spiritual Advice in the manner of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love”

The Opening Pages


Eat, Pray, Fuck…

The Memoirs of Ms. Dominique

“This is my story. This will always be my story….

“So tonight I reach for my journal again. It’s next to the empty bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label. Oh, Johnny, Johnny where are you? I need you. Or Captain Morgan…. Or somebody…. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy, yesterday. What I write (in my aforesaid journal) is that I am weak and full of fear. Or full of something, which of course I can’t explain.

“Now old Dr. Doom and Mr. Despair have driven up in my driveway, and I’m scared they will never, ever leave. But I go out to the car anyway. They hand me the bag of pills; but I say that I don’t want to take the pills anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together without pills. More and more pills. I am afraid I will end up like Elvis. Squatting on a toilet, dead as a hammer. A dead hammer. Not even the musical career of M.C. Hammer could be this dead.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ms. Dominique tweets for Self-Knowledge

“In response, from somewhere deep within me--below the surface of conscious expression--rises a now-familiar presence, a voice offering me all the certainties I have always wished for from another person, the words they would say to me when I am troubled. This is what I find myself writing on the blank page: 

I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to cry all night, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. You can’t get rid of me. I will protect you until you die, and after your dead I will still protect you. I will cremate your body and piss on your ashes. That’s how much I love you. I am stronger than depression and I am braver than loneliness and nothing can ever exhaust me….

“Tonight, this strange voice, this strange interior feeling of Friendship—the lending of a hand from me to myself (and I …) while no one else is around to offer what the Italians call solacium … which reminds me of something that happened to me last month in New York.

“I walked into a post [office building] one afternoon in a great hurry, then dashed into a waiting elevator. As I rushed in and the steel doors silently “woooshed” closed behind me, I caught a glance of myself in the mirrored metal’s reflection. In that moment, my primitive reptile-like brain did an odd sort of thing—it fired off this split-second warning: “Hey! That bimbo is wearing a designer dress just like yours!” And so I actually ran forward toward my own reflection, ready to bitch slap that girl whose name I had forgot but whose face was so familiar.

“In an instant, of course, I realized my mistake and laughed at my almost baby-like confusion over how a mirrored surface works. That face was all Me all along! But for some strange reason that incident comes to mind again, here tonight during my sad stay in Rome, and I find myself writing a comforting reminder at the bottom of the page: “Buy Kleenex.” And below it I scribbled to myself:

Never forget that once, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as your best friend. That was that day when you looked in the mirror and saw that diamond necklace for the first time in a really good light and saw how well it went with that tiny red dress.

“That night I fell asleep holding my notebook pressed against my chest bone, page open to this, my most recent assurance of how much I could truly love. In the morning when I woke up, there were two more assurances. On the bed mattress were the impressions of the two Italian brothers, Mario and Luigi. I can still smell a faint trace of Mario‘s lingering cigar smoke, but he himself is nowhere to be seen. Somewhere during the night, they got up and left. And their investment analyst and buddy Rupesh Shingadia beat it, too. Or maybe he was taken up in The Rapture. Thank you God! He was an ugly bastard.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ms. Dominique tweets about becoming a successful writer

“I think I'm really, really fortunate that all this success as a writer happened to me while I was in my late 30s, and not my early 20s. And it happened on my fourth book, not my first. And it happened after I had already gone through a serious depression, a nasty divorce, ten years of therapy, a lot of self-reckoning, a spiritual journey, and the three cases of Vienna sausage I got from that salesman in Portland, Oregon…. And the self-medication with Jim Beam. Yeah, that too.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ms. Dominique tweets about Cher

“And falling in Love! Oh, yeah, I know exactly what that really feels like. Talk about trying to solve all your man problems real fast. Falling head-over-high-heels will do it. I was in love. So I wrote this on his Facebook page:  

This person is the purpose of my life, the father of my future children [… blah, blah, blah, …] and we have cycled through thousands of lifetimes to get to each other across oceans of time 

“And then he dumped me!

"... it's kind of like that Cher music video "If I could turn back time." Especially the part where she rides the big guns on that battleship (the USS Iowa? The HFH Dutchman?  I don’t recall). That one sailor in the video seems to like her. I see it in his eyes. I can tell about these things.

"But it's also a really aggressive thing she does to men—to impale yourself on them... Repeatedly. And no wonder it often ends with one or the other person starting to feel suffocated and devoured. Or at least choked and eaten out. Or handcuffed, ball-gagged and sucked dry. It's a mental & physical assault--do you know what I mean by that? How dare you try not to be what I decided you are! Just try it!

“Now it all seems like a nightmare, or like that scene from Basic Instinct where the police shine a black light on the sheets, the walls, the curtains—and they illuminate the bodily fluids that stain the former purity of our Precious Moments wallpaper, bedspread, and matching pillows. Even the Precious Moments lampshade is badly stained with man-splouge, woman-splouge, and maybe even a few Ricky Santorums....”