Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 23 Feb 02 18:15
Our next guest is Cynthia Heimel, talking about her latest book, _Advanced Sex Tips For Girls: This Time It's Personal_. I asked Cynthia for some bio material to use for her introduction. Her response was so delightful, and so evocative of her unique voice that I don't have the heart to paraphrase, and thus include it here, in its entirety, for your enjoyment: A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF CYNTHIA HEIMEL Cynthia Heimel was born on the edge of Philadelphia, her back window looked out at four gas stations, a bowling alley and a Hojo's, her house fronted on a beautiful suburban tree-lined street. Naturally she is weird. Heimel was a brilliant student until the fourth grade, when she invented the practise of passing notes in class. In the eighth grade she became an honorary African American and hardly hung out with white people at all. Her parents were horrified. She became a writer by accident. She was working at the Distant Drummer, a hippie newspaper, and one of her jobs was distributing the paper around the city. She happened upon a student riot! She called the newspaper office, said "You gotta send somebody down here," and they said "Cover it!" So she did. She wrote a rather good pastiche of the students rioting for all they were worth and was immediately given a column in the newspaper. She never looked back except for getting married and getting pregnant and having a son and moving to England to become a community organizer and moving to New York and going miserably on welfare when she couldn't find daycare for her lovely son, then finding a great daycare center, then getting a job at another counter-cultural newspaper called the Soho Weekley News where she almost immediately got a column! She also did more movie star profiles than anybody should ever have to. Jane Fonda told Heimel her hair was frumpy. Heimel still hates Jane Fonda. She went to Penthouse magazine as a staff writer for a few minutes. She wrote the copy under the girlie pictures and all the boring bits. She quit when the Soho News could afford to keep her. Then she went to work as a Features Writer at New York Magazine. Then she was hired away by the New York Daily News to become a Sunday columnist, where they almost immediately decided they hated her and the editor called her into his office and said, "Our readers are slobs. You have to write slobbistic." So she quit and wrote Sex Tips for Girls, which is doing rather well. Heimel was always looking for boyfriends but she found hardly any, ever. But she did write a play about boyfriends which was a huge hit, called A Girl's Guide to Chaos. Her mentor was the wonderful acting teacher and director Wynn Handman. The play went to Chicago and LA and then to Paris and all the little theaters around the country. Monologues from the play are performed every day for auditions all over the world, with actresses everywhere falling to their knees and praying to God to never have to date again. While her play was running all over the country being a success, Heimel was writing two columns. One for the Village Voice, which ran forever, and one for Playboy magazine, which ran nearly forever. She was in the missionary position at Playboy, holding high her feminist credentials amongst the stampeding bunnies. Heimel is a crazed clothing addict who lives and breathes just for Yohji Yamamoto. She was thrilled to write for Vogue for a couple of years. After Vogue she went out to Los Angeles, where she helped produce her play and became a sitcom writer. She wrote for the show "Dear John" during their last year, and enjoyed every minute except when they brought in Strippers. While still trying to find a boyfriend she wrote six more books: But Enough About You, If You Can't Live Without Me Why Aren't You Dead Yet?,Get Your Tongue out of My Mouth, I'm Kissing You Goodbye, A Girl's Guide to Chaos, When Your Phone Doesn't Ring, It'll Be Me, and now the fabulous and poignant Advanced Sex Tips for Girls: This time it's personal. Cynthia Heimel now lives in Oakland California with her wonderful boyfriend (YAY!), his six-year-old son and four dogs. Cynthia Heimel's son Brodie is now a married TV producer living in LA, and she's very proud. Leading the discussion is Cynthia's wonderful boyfriend, Bradburn Young, who has this to say about himself: Bradburn Young is a ceaseless rewriter who reveres Cynthia Heimel's prose style and humor. He himself has been rewriting the same sentence since 1987. He can't wait to ask Cynthia Heimel all sorts of questions about how she writes her pieces. For instance, where she gets her ideas. Also he wishes to discuss romance with Cynthia Heimel. Please join me in welcoming Cynthia and Bradburn to inkwell.vue!
a nose full of kafka (plum) Sun 24 Feb 02 20:57
I am back from the first leg of my book tour. It went really wonderfully, and I find I still love to stand up in front of scores of people and make them laugh hahaha. I am home until wednesday, when I go to Chicago and then NYC. I am kind of exhausted and stupid. I hope bradburn will be along soon to ask me questions. Anybody else can ask me questions too of course.
Bradburn Young (bradburn) Mon 25 Feb 02 09:09
Cynthia, you are a leading member of the Emsworth camp. You aren't against Psmith exactly, but you say he doesn't hold a candle to the mossy, pig- obsessed peer. Why is that? What is it about Lord Emsworth that's so great?
(fom) Mon 25 Feb 02 09:55
Bradburn cuts to the chase!
Jef Poskanzer (jef) Mon 25 Feb 02 09:59
Cynthia dear, who is the best dog?
David S. Greene (dsg) Mon 25 Feb 02 10:00
This is ALREADY the best topic on the Well.
heyo it's (kayo) Mon 25 Feb 02 10:00
The title of her next book!
heyo it's (kayo) Mon 25 Feb 02 10:05
Slippage of which I was not notified. I meant "Bradburn Cuts to the Chase!" as an excellent bookish title.
just some misplaced Joan of Arc (strega) Mon 25 Feb 02 10:14
Cynthia, dammit I have been completely adrift since you stopped being the Problem Lady. How the hell am I sposed manage my life now that you're not writing a weekly advice column?
i am not a happy meal. (techgirl) Mon 25 Feb 02 10:27
dalling cynthia, mr. saiyuk asked a very important question at your reading in santa monica and i don't feel you delivered a clear answer. would you like to elaborate more regarding annie being interested in doc instead of a cute little mikey dog?
Maryan Pelland (mkpelland) Mon 25 Feb 02 12:31
I enjoyed the book - will be doing a review for the publications I write for. My audience is all young babyboomers - and holy smoke will your humor resonate with them!
Lily Burana (burana) Mon 25 Feb 02 12:45
Cher Cynthia-- Can you please speak to what you see as the biggest (positive or negative) changes to the girly cultural landscape since the *first* STFG? Are we getting better, worse, or just different? Surely, your tour is providing you plenty of insight, based on who/what happens at your readings?
excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Mon 25 Feb 02 13:48
I think she's finding out that guys are getting even *creepier*.
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:23
Cynthia, you are a leading member of the Emsworth camp. You aren't against Psmith exactly, but you say he doesn't hold a candle to the mossy, pig- obsessed peer. Why is that? What is it about Lord Emsworth that's so great? Okay, psmith is one of those I Love Lucy characters. You're always getting scared and having to take a valium because he gets into these gawdawful scrapes and difficulties and having hare-brained ideas. Although I do really like that psmith (p silent of course) is basically some kind of commie pinko. But Clarence! How much do we love who doesn't remember a thing from one moment to the next, but in fact is very piggy and cozy in his ugly shooting jacket and scary cap. Clarence is hilarious without making one nervous! Clarence is better than Galahad or Uncle Fred. Clarence is funny even when he's just saying "eh? what what what what what?" I hope I have cleared this up to your satisfaction, comrade.
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:28
I seem to have left out some words in the above post. Just fill them in in whatever way you like. Cynthia dear, who is the best dog? Jef, my sweetness, the best dog in the whole world is my dog Doc. He is old and blind but still rules the house and the rest of the pack with an Iron Paw. He still steals food. He smart and kind of glowing with the doggie love. Bradburn says he is "presidential," but I would disagree, since Doc is on every level superior to George Bush. I shouldn't even talk about them in the same sentence.
excessively heterosexual (saiyuk) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:30
Doc is more like Edward R. Murrow.
Mim (mim) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:31
Now that you're out gallivanting about the country reading at bookstores and whatnot, I'm curious: what do you think are the BEST cities to read in? And at the risk of alienating some fine citizen of a lesser city, where would you shudder and say NO! I will not go there!
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:32
Cynthia, dammit I have been completely adrift since you stopped being the Problem Lady. How the hell am I sposed manage my life now that you're not writing a weekly advice column? Strega honey, you did better than you realize. I only did my Problem Lady column once a month! You were filling in on your own all that time! Twice a month I did a column for the voice. One of those two columns was called "Tongue in Chic", the other was the beloved Problem Lady. Then I continued doing problem lady for Los Angeles Magazine but called it Ms. Lonelyhearts. I will continue to write it, and more often even maybe, if I get a lovely venue.
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:38
dalling cynthia, mr. saiyuk asked a very important question at your reading in santa monica and i don't feel you delivered a clear answer. would you like to elaborate more regarding annie being interested in doc instead of a cute little mikey dog? Techgirl: Oh dalling I hardly know the answer to why women's minds work, and I'm one of them. Dogs minds, while not a closed book to me, are seen through a somewhat dark glass. I think it would be politically correct if Annie fell for little big Mikey the fabulous papillon, whom we know can have sex even though he's neutered since I have seen it with my own eyes, but who can blame her for falling for Doc, that magnificent sonovabitch? If I were a bitch in heat I would probably choose Doc too.
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:40
I enjoyed the book - will be doing a review for the publications I write for. My audience is all young babyboomers - and holy smoke will your humor resonate with them! Well, thank you! I am very pleased to hear this. But I hope you're not writing for any republican publications. Republicans hate my guts.
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:50
Can you please speak to what you see as the biggest (positive or negative) changes to the girly cultural landscape since the *first* STFG? Are we getting better, worse, or just different? Surely, your tour is providing you plenty of insight, based on who/what happens at your readings? Lily angel! I loved your book so. You are SUCH A GENIUS. Surely you know the answer, or a set of answers, to that question. I sure don't. I stay home with dogs all day. But things have definitely changed. Now it's Sex Tips for Girls all the time. Everyone is very happy to have a sex life and chat about it. This is good, right? The sexual landscape when I was growing up: It was all diet books, all the time. Maybe Women who love too much had come out, I'm not sure. But everybody was buttoned up and not talking, and certainly not joking, about sex. Also, your girlys were very scared of the guys. And, if I'm not mistaken, now the guys are afraid of the girlys. Which is only right and good. In the book I try to address these changes, and the way I go about it is to tell the story of the fifties, then the sixties, then the seventies. Because I don't think most people know what women went through in the early days, before feminism and in its original flowering. For example, how many people know that the pantygirdle is the straw that broke the back of the patriarchy?
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:51
please understand that I am making these up as a type along and can't proofread or edit them. So I might be appearing quite stupid.
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:53
So since you've moved to Oakland, what do you like best and least about the place?
a nose full of kafka (plum) Mon 25 Feb 02 14:57
Now that you're out gallivanting about the country reading at bookstores and whatnot, I'm curious: what do you think are the BEST cities to read in? And at the risk of alienating some fine citizen of a lesser city, where would you shudder and say NO! I will not go there! There is no place I would not go, my mim, to spread the word of my fabulous book. I am a total hobag. Speaking of hobag, have you read the Hobag Manifesto? The worst city in which to read for me in Los Angeles. I had a very, very good reading this time, but that is mainly because I papered the house with all my friends on and off the well. My lovely son was there, for instance. I don't think techgirl will get over meeting him, ever. Portland was really good though.
Carol Cantor (ccantor) Mon 25 Feb 02 15:02
Since you are a sexpert, I ask: If two Papillons have sex in an empty room and then forget about it 3 seconds later, has copulation really occurred? And could you expand upon why Berkeley (aka Entitlement Town) and the wider Bay Area is such an angry place?
David Gans (tnf) Mon 25 Feb 02 15:08
Plum, you write knowingly of Piedmont Avenue, as if you'd actually been there. I thought this was a work of fiction, or humor. And yet: poignant and incisive. What is my question?
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