November 2017. Written in parallel with Morgan Bassichis’ To Do 2017
I would’ve contacted Miss Cleo but she’s retired or maybe psychically “hard to reach” and I have no time to astral-project this week, what with Jupiter moving into my 1st house. I feel like it’s not even like Morgan is going to read this anyway. I mean, not because we aren’t bosom buddies or because I’m not as alkaline as he is. Or because I, sometimes overconfidently, identify as Badu-adjacent. Or because we haven’t/he hasn’t yet managed to embark upon the collaboration that we’ve been promising ourselves while window shopping at local Brooklyn CrossFits. I believe that collaboration is important to both of us; we even found a pseudonym: Seafoam & Minsk. We think our fanciful mix of references to Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin in Big Business, mixed with realpolitik, is timely. I still think it would be better as a podcast. I’d even settle for our Tomboy zine-comic starring Princess Nokia. But I just feel like Morgan’s too busy to read. You can tell from the hundreds of things he has on his plate (not literal food; that’s a metaphor). No, but like all these To-Do Lists he writes. It must be really hard to strike that balance between political action and personal paralysis (or meditation?). Just the thought of it triggers me. Morgan’s so busy-not-busy it’s like he needs more of himself to go around. Or not go around and just hibernate and read alternative tarot decks. But I certainly need more of Morgan. So, yeah, I feel like he might read this if it were served with a free açai-detox smoothie (my Vitamix is broken). Or a recurring cameo role on Transparent. Or a free PrEP prescription. But I like to believe that he’s also big enough, as WASP-waisted as he is, to read this internet post without any freebies. Morgan suggested this letter could be a kind of freebie. Like a voucher to get the thirsty online community to come out come out wherever you are and visit our community nutrition project: Morgan and Me’s Sasha Freeze Lemonade Stand. Morgan wanted to sell frozen kombucha, which, literally, I respect a lot, but lemonade is more populist. As regards the Stand, we’re lucky for this unseasonably warm October weather. We’re anticipating running out of plastic to-go cups! Don’t be jealous. Or crazy. Morgan warns against this always and always, especially because he deals so frontally with these feelings in his shows. And, like, literally every time he leaves his house. But it’s comforting that he’s open about it. Morgan’s scared and I’m scared too. And actually, it’s not always obvious to even leave your house these days. Especially with so much work to do. And Zika. But fuck this self-imposed isolation for the good, the bad, and the fubsy. Enough is enough. It’s time to lowkey carpe DM, but IRL. At least borrow one of Morgan’s To-Dos as a mantra while you dress up for the protest: Unconditionally love accept my body so I can really ‘wow’ people.
Morgan is full of good advice and meaningful assignments. For himself and for others. No, seriously. And his mom observes that we both honor incessant self-talk. She’s a professional psychotherapist and says that public rallies are where it all comes together for Morgan—she calls them “his polyamorous self-loathings,” or something like that. In any case, Morgan teaches me to be better by telling me that I’m a mess. We all are. Him too. It’s what I like to call friendtanglement. And also there is so much unfinished business. It’s something we always say, Morgan and me. But especially Morgan. He’s furiously scrawling to-do lists for himself on backs of insurance envelopes, on VISUAL AIDS postcards, on the frontispieces of law books, on taxi receipts and on that one travel agency’s pamphlet from Fire Island. (If you read this Morgan, I hope we still rent a house in Cherry Grove next summer). It’s nice that you’ve made these lists available online, Recess. The To-Dos have become Morgan’s public disclosure of an anxious private geography. And yes, I have my own. And let’s be honest, Recess, you probably have one too. And with so many political goals to lunge at, showtunes to paraphrase, and gun deaths to count, in so many directions, one could feel overwhelmed or stretched thin. Like model thin. Wasp thin. And we all feel these pressures, so Morgan reminds. It’s like the amount of to-dos we feel we must do is so imposing that we feel we can’t start anywhere. But be careful of this, Morgan wisely warns. Just be precise about those demons and fearlessly cast them out one by one. And how could you not when he phrases it so well: Embrace the price of toast as a way of going with the flow AND Stock up on tinctures for when health care goes away AND ALSO Whites out of power! WHILE ALSO Keep floating the idea of “After America.” Basically there’s a lot to be casually excellent at. Or fervent about in the right measure. But what if we are measured wrong, like chemically? Like racially? Like in terms of likes? Can we still show up with our anger and questionable style? I feel like Morgan proves this when organizing pro-Palestinian protests with the Bubbie Brigade. Or by heeding his own advice to Send Amy Goodman some good energy. It’s an inspirational invitation. An aspirational proclamation. An in-ass-pie-rational respiration, or whatever. And in his concerts Morgan reminds us, along with his band Senior Energy that, old or young, these are the only ways we can show up. And so just show up.
Turns out this advice letter is more a comment than a question but, I feel like I want to end on yet another meaningful quote, so, sorry-not-sorry. My favorite Senior Energy song is one from their “Protest Song” show. Also, they never say the titles of their songs, but I suspect, judging from what I hear in my V.I.P. hangs with the band, that this next lyric might be from a song called “After America”:
We have always been on fire.
We have always been let down.
We have always been an island,
Come and get us.
Also, it takes a collaboration to bring down a conspiracy. So, no queer liberation without black liberation. And vice versa. Obvi.
Also, Sylvia Rivera. Also, James Baldwin.
Also, Keep eating bread out of respect (that means you, Morgan).