In the Clutch.

Oh, man. It’s already 2003. Sorry I’ve been so absent. I had a good excuse, though. December was just the craziest month. First I was in Vegas, and then I was in Atlanta, and then Houston and then San Francisco, so I really didn’t get even a moment to come here and say hello to you good people. I didn’t even get to ring in the new year with you.

We did ring in the new year standing up, toasting with friends, and then faced the actual new year lying down, in bed for most of the day, quietly easing into 2003 after the non-stop action of 2002.

I feel like I’m supposed to go on and on about how 2002 was a turning point in my life, how my life has permanently changed because of it, but I don’t really think I’m going to draw any new conclusions. It was a huge year for me. It seems that since 2000, each year gets even bigger, changes my life even more, and becomes both harder and more exciting than the previous. And now the years are going by faster than they used to — a combination of hard work and anxiety makes the pages flip off the calendar like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Suddenly it’s 2003. I’ve been living in LA for more than two years now. That sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

So instead of getting all nostalgic and waxing blah-blah on you, I’ll just tell you a quick story that involves THE catchphrase of 2003. You heard it here first, and you’re going to use it, so get ready.

It’s the new years party at my house, and we’re all sitting around talking about movies and actors, which is all we ever seem to really talk about when there’s more than four of us together, anyway. On the television, Ashton Kutcher is talking about how much he loves Brittany Murphy and they’re kissing and cooing on each other. And for some reason someone brings up Marlee Matlin.

[scripty]
STEPHANIE
She’s a cunt bag.

A.K.
What?

STEE
Did you just call Marlee Matlin a cunt bag?

JESSICA
Ew.

EVANY
She called her a cunt bag.

PAMIE
Can you do that?

STEPHANIE
I hate her.

FRANK
But a cunt bag?

PAMIE
What is that, exactly?

STEPHANIE
A no-talent hag.

A.K.
She has an Oscar.

STEPHANIE
It’s bullshit.

PAMIE
Is it a bag for holding cunts?

STEE
What are you talking about over here?

PAMIE
I’m just wondering what that would be. A cunt bag.

JESSICA
Maybe it’s a bag made out of cunts.

FRANK
Like a purse?

PAMIE
No. A clutch.

A.K.
Oh, my god. It’s such a clutch.

FRANK
Clutch!

JESSICA
That’s so gross! I love it!

A.K.
Best new catchphrase of 2003.

EVANY
She’s such a clutch, man.

FRANK
You’re mama’s a clutch.

PAMIE
You look like your mama’s clutch.

JESSICA
You smell like your mama’s clutch.

STEE
NO.

EVANY
Too far!

PAMIE
Yeah, that’s too far. It’s gross.

JESSICA
Gross is Ashton Kutcher kissing Brittany Murphy’s clavicle. This shit’s the clutch.

PAMIE
That’s so clutch, baby. So clutch.

FRANK
So something can be clutchy, but it can’t smell clutchy?

JESSICA
Look, if we’re going to get the clutch to spread —

EVERYONE
EW!

JESSICA
Someone had better high-five me on that one.

A.K.
I’ll do it. I’ll high-five you.

JESSICA
Thank you.

A.K.
You my clutch, bitch.

JESSICA
That’s the meanest thing anybody has ever said to me.

A.K.
Aw, don’t clutch on me.

PAMIE
What happened?

A.K.
I thought the bitch was gonna be clutch, but she went automatic on me!

STEE
I love 2003.
[/scripty]

So all I do all day long right now is get ready for the Anne Heche show that opens next weekend. If you were following my lovely postcard and tried to make a reservation, the number’s wrong. It’s 323.856.4200.

There are now more than twenty people involved with this show, and it’s never more apparent than when I sit down to make a few telephone calls. Tuesday I was on the phone for five hours straight trying to tell everyone rehearsal times. It’s insane. It’s why I didn’t want to get out of bed yesterday.

But last night I went to the theater to talk with the lighting designer, and as I dropped my notebook and bottle of water down on one of the velvet seats, I inhaled that moldy, makeup-y, dirty smell of the theatre. It had been some time since I was in a real theater, with a real stage and real lights and a real audience with a box office and a backstage and pylons and platforms. It felt good to turn around, look at the stage and go, “Is that going to be painted black?” There are little doorways and tiny stairwells and there’s a green room. There’s a gigantic pole onstage in what appears to be the worst place to put a pole — center stage. I’m going to cram fifteen actresses on that stage for a dance number soon. This weekend I get to meld our lighting designer’s wishes, both of my music writers’ visions, my actresses and the stage into one show. What started as a lark at a bar has turned into the real thing, and it’s pretty damn exciting.

[scripty]
PAMIE
Did they all get you their bios for the program yet?

RAY
No. But as long as they tell me that I rock, it doesn’t matter how late they get it to me.

PAMIE
Oh, I know. “Dear Pam. I can’t be there on Saturday. You rock!”

RAY
“I won’t have any headshots for you. You rock!” It’s like a band-aid.

PAMIE
I’ve been doing it too, though. “If you don’t get here on time I’ll have to kick you off the show. You rock!”

RAY
Hee. “If these postcards aren’t right I’m going to kick your ass. You totally rock!”

PAMIE
Ray. I can’t talk anymore. I’ve got more important things to do than chat with you. You rock.

RAY
I’m not even listening to you anymore, that’s how unimportant you’ve become. You rock.
[/scripty]

This is my life for the next two months. I hope I have the strength.

Next entry: Why I loved the movie Chicago when I really didn’t want to.

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