Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Question: How do people with not-so-strong quads manage to squat in airplane bathrooms? It’s hard even for me and I’m quite clearly a gym rat.

So. I’m on the plane to JFK. Guess what? You’ll never. I edited something other than my wardrobe.

I purposely brought solely Laura Zigman’s Her, because I was almost finished with it, and the manuscript—which I suppose I should start referring to by its working title, Cancer Is the New Black—thus forcing my hand. Though I was getting into a little back-and-forth between the angel and the devil inside my head while I was laughing out loud at Laura’s novel.

In my brain while I’m reading Her:

“You’re distracting yourself with a novel about a woman who’s self-sabotaging. What the fuck, Stephanie. That’s a new one. Okay, I’ll just see how many more pages I have. If I’m near the end, I’ll finish and then take out my manuscript. But Laura’s book is laugh out loud funny—what if that makes mine seem un-funny. Get a grip you freak. Finish this book and then take out YOURS.”

I was near the end. I finished the book—highly recommend and not just because she’s my buddy. I took out my manuscript held together by a headband. I went ass-backwards as usual. I tackled the end; reread the introduction and the first page of chapter one. I’m likely going to kick myself for saying this—when I’m on the ledge perhaps cause I’ve been rejected by all the publishing houses?—but I’m very happy with the introduction and the first page of chapter one. To me, the very first sentence of the book is the most crucial. For me, it makes or breaks a book. When I decide to buy a book, I read the first line without fail. If the writer has a strong voice, it should grab you in that first sentence.

I love my first sentence. I thought of it when I was diagnosed, which means it’s stood the test of time—a crucial test to any writer.

But I’m burying the lede here. As I was rereading the ‘ending’—which takes place over the last coupla months—it became clear that my brain has been cogitating my next move for some time. It just got around to telling me though, via The September Issue.

The September Issue was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Or in my case, the six-pound, September 2007 issue of Vogue. (Which Oribe probably cover-coiffed. Must investigate.)

I went home last Friday after seeing it and bawled. At first I thought I was woe-is-me crying. Like, God, what a loser you are. You were supposed to be working at Vogue by now instead of watching that movie and wanting to jump through thr screen. For, as I was sitting in that movie, I couldn’t contain myself. Fashion editorial is my passion. It’s my life. It always has been.

Whoopsie, whaddya know? As I’m typing this literally I just looked up and Suzy Menkes is on the TV screen on my seat. Divine intervention.

Back to the lede. That night, after doing the typical Stephanie thing—blaming myself for not having already achieved what I always wanted—I made a decision. And yes, I was actually talking aloud. Yelling rather. Wally’s used to it by now. He knows his mom is in-fucking-sane.

“You are going back to New York. You’re going to get a job at Vogue if it fucking kills you. You beat Cancer. You’ve literally stared death in the face, been through one of the worst things a person can experience. And you’re still scared to follow your lifelong dream? Get over it! You belong in New York and in fashion and now you have no excuse.”

Thus the decision was made that night. I’m going back to New York. Where I’ve always belonged.

I emailed Meredith the next morning.

“Saw The September Issue. Wanted to jump through the screen and get my hands on the proofs. Worship Anna and now Grace even more.”

Seconds later, Meredith—not a phone person either—calls.

“I was sitting at the Rachel Zoe party last night [during fashion week] thinking, ‘Stephanie is an idiot for not coming up this week and in March she’s coming with me if I have to buy my plane ticket myself.’”

So 17 years after Meredith and bonded over Versace and Oribe at a summer program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, here we are, still discussing Oribe and Versace. The difference being that now Oribe cut my hair and Anna sat three rows behind Meredith at the U.S. Open.

But for now I’m just visiting and haven’t worked out any particulars about a move. I’m going to try for an apartment swap—I can offer a high season waterfront rental—damn, there’s a lot of turbulence. Or a sublet, fully furnished. I’m not quite ready to commit to a lease with no job. Going to keep some roots in Florida and shoot for that whole Manhattan-Miami Beach existence. Okay, we’re landing. Ta.