I Got My First Tattoo. It Is About One Direction, A Promise, Friends, and Memory.

The story of my first tattoo has audio visual elements and so if you aren't ready for that journey, I suggest Xing out now. If you are intrigued as to why a 31 year old woman who has always been ambivalent about tattoos when not judgmental about them decided to get one, watch and read on.

So One Direction released a documentary called This Is Us in 2013, it was a huge success in theaters for a music documentary and I saw it alone on Coney Island Avenue and loved every moment. In one scene, the boys go camping and consider their future legacies. Louis Tomlinson explains how he hopes they are remembered:

It is an ongoing and well-known joke that the members of One DIrection did not especially like to dance and were not especially good at synchronized dancing as had so often been a mainstay of their earlier boy band counterparts. Yet their songs are full of references to dancing, and none more so than "Best Song Ever", the anthemic pop banger where they report dancing all night to the best song ever, having since forgot the words but never forgetting the girl or the dancing:

I wrote of one of their concerts I attended in Complex, "The audience was reliably dense with young girls, most traveling in packs of three to five and several accompanied by parent and grandparent chaperones. They danced without inhibitions in a way I suspect they might not if boys were present. These adults knew that their age did not exempt them from the rules and dutifully sang along with their whole bodies, often with more skill than their charges." I danced as one ought to in such circumstances, which is however the body feels called by the music and the moment to move. And the music and the moment called me to move in a clumsy, ecstatic joy because that's what the best pop does to the body and mind: the euphoria it momentarily dissolves your knowledge or care of the well-traveled lie that dancing is meant to look cool rather than feel fun.

It was my friend Allyson Gross who made the connection between the two moments: Louis' hope to be remembered as regular guys but terrible dancers and the "Best Song Ever" hope that we too always remember how we danced, followed my an intentionally ridiculous dance sequence meant to make people laugh, to have the same good time that the boys seemed to be having there. I met Allyson on Twitter after she found an essay I wrote on Racked about the importance of One Direction to a culture that so often punishes boys for being soft and loving toward girls as One Direction were. She was born three days before Harry Styles (which means long before me) but our love of One Direction, not just the boys in it but the things their existence stood for, made it not unreasonable to make the promise to remember how they danced. It was terribly, yes,  but always alongside us and seemingly on our behalf.

So this week, Allyson got this tattoo:

And two days later, I got this one:

We were not together getting these tattoos because we live in different cities and rarely see each other, which was a bummer at first. But remembering that part of the magic of being a One Direction fan is sharing the same joy from far distances, from seeing and hearing the same songs and videos and images and stories and having them absorbed into the body and memory differently but no less brilliantly.

It may seem ill-advised to get a tattoo of defunct boy band whose legacy we can't yet discern. I do not hold out much hope that One Direction will unite in glory or with the same life-giving verve. But tattoos are not about what's to come, but about remembering what was. And I for one look forward to remembering forever how we danced. 

The Hottest Accessory of The WInter is My Book

So my last update about my book was that the hardest part was reading it myself. READER, I WAS SO VERY WRONG. The hardest part at this point has been knowing that the book exists out there in the world and that people are reading and might not like it. But fortunately, enough people in media, friends, lovers, and cats have gotten a hold of it and approved of it. How do I know they're not lying? Why, they were willing to pose with their copy and offer encouraging words on it, WHAT OTHER PROOF COULD YOU ASK FOR, PRAY TELL?

Here are some of the smartest people with the best taste around and their words on All The Lives I Want.

Name: Sam Escobar

Review: Sam did not even need to be asked about their feelings on this book, for they had already taken to Twitter dot com to sing its praise. BEHOLD:

Name: Phoebe Anderson

Review: "I would love this book even if it weren't written by my soulmate."

Editor's Note: Phoebe's name appears on the first page of this book, the second to last page, and on several pages in between because as noted above, we are soulmates. But like, she'd be the first to throw this book in the trash if it weren't worthwhile and demand that I do better.

 

Name: Sarah Hagi

Review: "I'm into it."

Editor's Note: Look, Sarah is a serious journalist and is possibly writing something else about the book and couldn't spill all of those beans when I asked how she liked it. Also, Sarah is coy as heck and wasn't about to show her cards as a massive fan of this extraordinary collection. 

 

Name: Dorito Escobar (Son of Sam, not in that way though)

Review: *extreme Dos Equis voice but as a cat* I don't always read books of essays, but when I do, I read Alana's book. 

Name: Craig Reynolds

Review: "I always knew you had a lot of feelings. But dang."

Editor's Note: I made that review up, he hasn't finished the book. He's my boyfriend and his review would likely be unreliable because he is DESPERATELY IN LOVE WITH ME AND WOULD NEVER UTTER A WORD THAT ADDED NOT TO MY GLORY.

Name: Keith Massey (son and sworn enemy of Alana, intent only on destroying her)

Review: This book is going to look great...IN THE "FREE BOOKS" RACKS COME FEBRUARY WHEN NO ONE BUYS IT, YOU VERBOSE SENTIMENTALIST FANGIRL!

Editor's Note: Keith likes to put on a show of being my nemesis but he was caught moments later in this hearfelt embrace:

And last but not least, there was the author herself.

Name" Alana Massey

Review:

Everyone else in the room can see it,
Everyone else but you

Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know, oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful!!!!

 

If you would also like to have this book to put it next to your face, pick a retailer from one of the spots linked on this page and make it yours!

Let's Write Books In The Country This Month

One of the fun, exciting ways I ward off the boredom that often comes with advanced age is by concocting elaborate and entirely hypothetical professional catastrophes. The latest is a paralyzing preoccupation that my second book will be a dud, a classic case of the"sophomore slump" that fails to live up to expectations and results in my exile from publishing, soon followed by cannibalism and other depravities. The best part of this ridiculous concern is that it is predicated on the idea that the first book (which doesn't publish for three more months and has no reviews except for blurbs and encouraging texts from friends!) is OF COURSE a wild success, a seminal text in the field, a fucking bomb-ass hit!

 

The second book's journey did not begin in this sorry state. Indeed, I announced the sale of Worth Less on the same day I took this photo, in the goddamn French Riviera at the Cannes Film Festival that a tech corporation (possibly mistaking me for a very lost and elderly cousin of the Hadid sisters) sent me to. THE HUBRIS!

   

 

 

My, howa summer changes things! Here I am in a candid snap from this week:

OK, so that's actually the old hex-happy witch from Drag Me To Hell but we are essentially one at this point.

I was already planning an exodus from New York because I wanted to write in more peace and space and surrounded by land and trees and among fewer pizza rats and the second book gave me the option of doing that. I fell in love with a farmhouse on 1.5 acres where the previous owner raised a child, wrote a book about Virginia Woolf, and made some type of local pie that I have yet to try so I set about making it mine.  So I spent the summer occupied with crying spells over romantic notions of New York City, lots of vaguely humiliating paperwork, and occasional momentary rushes of pleasant hormones when I completed another step in the mortgage procurement process. Then on September 1, this house became something I own the same way you can own shoes, monocles, and reclining chairs except it is a dang HOUSE:

 

Massey House

I got a decent amount of writing done in between decorating and settling into life between two cities. I've had lots of friends and visitors come up and work together and also fuck around and marvel at how pleasant life is when there are chipmunks and gazebos nearby. This week, I decided that with a December 1st deadline, I can hunker down and write the book for all of November and I would love to have other writers or creatives who are working on a project to come to stay in the guest suite for a week if they also want to hunker down, mutually supported in getting work done and drinking coffee and enjoying country life.  It is in Saugerties, NY, two hours north of NYC in Ulster County and a $27 bus ride to get to. I am currently only looking for people who want to come in November and won't be bringing pets or kids.  Its $250 for a full week and you get this two room suite with full bed, lovely views, WiFi, foldout futon, and channel-packed TV: :

  It's only been two months and I've had MANY illustrious guests!

Famed cosmetics czar, Arabelle Sicardi, took a long weekend off from luring innocent Instagrammers to her chambers bearing gifts of chicken and unflinching loyalty to work on their book:

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Former One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles was at his new job delivering milk on bicycle to the residence when he became enamored of its charms, willed himself shrunk to one dimension, and cast himself forever into the walls to serve as the lady of the house's companion and protector:

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enemy of parallel parking, maestro of malevolence, and champion of cats, Emily Warfield visited and described the home as "quiet, charming, and equpped with a feline concierge" and for New Yorkers seeking a getaway that is more "artsy Brooklynite vibe than Grandma's Barn." NEED I SAY MORE?

Noted Twitter prodigy and Jill Stein investigator Eve Peyser enjoyed several days soaking in the literary vibes and improvising scenes from as-yet-unmade-but-very-likely Harmony Korine films:

Morgan Jerkins, speaker of a dozen tongues and all-star resistor of Satan's many temptations, came up for a brief retreat and enjoyed her first Sonic Burger on the drive up. Jerkins described the house as "a nice little oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of the city." INDEED!  We did not take selfies of the event but this gif is a close approximation of our ecstasy on the journey together:

         

 

 

 

 

 

The home features frequent visits from Handsome, Thoughtful House Boyfriend, Craig. He makes fires, eggs, and collects local edible flora for health:

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other features include a wood-burning stove for getting cozy as hell, a darling living room, dining room, GAZEBO OUT BACK, and 1.5 acres to frolic about on, cosplaying Thoreau but never finding a pond unless you trespass off my lot!

   

 

 

We just had the first snowfall of the season so it looks like this!

And it rendered me entirely ready to party! So what are you waiting for? Email me at alanakmassey@gmail.com with the subject line "November Rental" and tell me about when you're hoping to come, what you're working on etc.

A Book I Wrote Lives In The World

When I finished the first draft of my book, I was told by many, "The hard part is over!" I believed this because writing the book was rather hard indeed! Devious jackals, all of them! The hardest part of writing a book is reading the book afterwards.

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