I Write Down Everything That Comes Into My Head While [While/When?] Trying to Write Rosie Cruise Blog #2

This post was originally published on This Girl Called Automatic Win in 2008.

I boarded this year’s cruise intending to embark upon a professionally productive week — I’d NETWORK! I’d WRITE WORDS! I’d make VLOGS with strangers — funny bright-eyed strangers, musical strangers! I’d create a business plan & finish Orlando & lead book club, & eat a foster child & figure out what the eff I’m doing with my life & get a boombastic tan & take freelance work on the ship & blog daily & Alex + I were gonna finish the website and we’d all have Important Meetings About Important Ideas.

I know — “Riese, you’re crazy, no one wants to do that much work on holiday.” But see, I LIKE doing work on holiday. I don’t even really believe in vacation, I believe in “wireless, only elsewhere.” I struggle to resist the mating call of my work (which sounds, p.s., like chicken) while galavanting.

But um … so, I did … not a whole lot … almost nothing I said I’d do … which is … amazing. Some small accomplishments: shooting photos & making a short video of it, some reading, attending of worthwhile performances, thinking & drinking & memory-making .. embracing the warm of my friends moreso than in prior years when I focussed on promising strangers.

“Live Blogging Every Thought That Comes Into my Head While Sitting at my Desk in front of my computer while
Thinking About our Recent Cruise Vaycay to Fabulous New England and two different parts of Canada!”

Our First Team Honest vacation! All of us together, and I mean a lot of things when I say “honesty.” All kinds of coming clean, and each of us to our own ’08 Evolution Tour.

If I had a dog, I’d name it Revolution.
If I had a cat, I’d call it Retribution and sneeze on its face.

If Tegan & Sara were my neighbors, I imagine they’d do sweet things like bring me a cup of flour for the cookies.

Alex said; “I’ve never had a group of friends like this before where it kinda really does feel like a team. Like each of us offers something that no-one else can do, performs a unique function,” and I said, “you know, that’s true,” and maybe that’s how it stays a dynamic dynamic.

Haviland goes back to Los Angeles tomorrow. We all go back to our lives tomorrow, or shortly thereafter.

I spent eight hours cleaning my room today. I’ve got about eighty more to go. I think I have too much stuff.

So I guess honesty means a lot of things — whether it’s giving up a fairy tale or another kind of tale (redemption, illusion, boundlessness) in favor of fable, accepting help, re-inhabiting the skin, taking initiative or choosing life. Even if choosing life means you’ve got to endure a seemingly unbearably painful heartbreak first, or fall/grow, or work way harder or drive far far away or accept medical solutions or throw away crutches or kneel and reel. Start being polite, and make it real. Meet Everyone’s Someones; the mothers and the ghosts.

There’s this surface you’re skating called happiness. The poetic stuff’s down at the ocean’s bottom. There’s a lot of sharks down there, and jellyfish.

So then there is a way to learn to swim when you start to drown. ‘Cause you’re on this boat, and the only thing that matters is that we’re all outsiders, beyond that, I want slabs of cheese, cheese on crackers …

Also! Also. Also. Honesty’s realizing that life is never gonna get better, it’s just gonna keep going how it’s been going — bad, then good, bad, good, etc. — no matter what we do about it. So we might as well just make out and wait for the next joke. And read books. Trust me! It’s the most important thing you can do while on earth, besides kindness and commenting.


Oddly, I look kinda bear-ish in this photo.
I’m like “I’ll eat your children, hug me, rawr!”
It’s BEAR WEEK in Provincetown, p.s.

I took Tinkerbell out to the pool deck & its crowds on Day Two ’cause she wanted tanning & a chance to show off her new outfit. So then Caitlin took away my Tinkerbell privileges but I found a new prop (clearly having my own feelings is out of the question, I must project and DANCE!), inspired by Little Edie in Grey Gardens — american flags! Christine Ebersole, who played the role in the Broadway musical of the cult documentary, was there. So I did some flag dances like Little Edie.

So a lot of people were there — I mean, my friends, and our new friends, and also the Broadway stars. Here’s a list of some of the people who you may have heard of, and therefore will appreciate my insidery name-drop of their little names: Sheena Easton, Christine Ebersole, Andrea McArdle, Lillias White, Anne Steele, Brenda Braxton, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Jake Wilson, Ann Van Cleave, Haviland Stilwell, Craig Ramsey, Brian Nash, The Broadway Boys, Julie Goldman, Jessica Kirson, Ross the Intern (from “The Tonight Show”), Seth Rudetsky, Susan Powter and the cast of LOGO’s “The Big Gay Sketch Show.”


Every year I pledge to get it together after the Cruise. Plan for my life, which’s fundamentally ridiculous. Boat works ’cause your deep thoughts have a control environment (like in a science experiment), a blank slate to write on while looking ahead into the murk/stars!

Did I actually talk about the cruise? Does anyone care? Probs not. I’m so glad slide-shows have faded from popularity. Memememe fa so la ti DO!

Imagine ten slides. In eight of them, I’m running into walls & people, in one I’m recycling old vocabulary and in the tenth photo I look like a girl who could be okay with everything. The boat sees the tenth photo and because I’m on it, I see it too. Today, I flew home. Tomorrow, I will need to get groceries, no-one is bringing muselix to my door.

I don’t understand why no meal is even half as good as breakfast!



Babypop, Jack Skellington, Caitlin

Haviland, Babypop
Did you see the article in the New York Times? So nice!
“”What makes humans human is precisely that they do not know the future.
That is why they do the fateful and amusing things they do: who can say how anything will turn out?
Therein lies the only hope for redemption, discovery, and–let’s be frank–fun, fun, fun!
There might be things people will get away with. And not just motel towels. There might be great illicit loves, enduring joy, faith-shaking accidents with farm machinery.
But you have to not know in order to see what stories your life’s efforts bring you. The mystery is all.”
(Lorrie Moore, “People Like That Are The Only People Here”)
[Although I didn’t tag the “horizon” as “horizon,” be well aware that much like my last post’s “hill,” that is indeed the horizon.]

Layla Love,
Haviland Pekor,

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2835 articles for us.


  1. “There’s this surface you’re skating called happiness. The poetic stuff’s down at the ocean’s bottom. There’s a lot of sharks down there, and jellyfish.”

    love it. love the video. cant wait to see the pictures. glad halifax represented. as usual my comment is deep and meaningful, i know, youre welcome.

  2. Um. I don’t even think I can write to you right now, because I am so intensely jealous of this post and you and the cruise and etc.

    Also, you are totes awesome.

  3. supr: Oh! First! love it. love the comment. as usual my comment response is deep and meaningful, and necessary. I know, you’re welcome.

    oo lynnie oo: I’d like to think of the blog as a cheerful greeting card with 5,000 extra words. Cheeri-oo!

    atherton: no YOU are totes awesome. I feel like we’re besties now that I “follow” you on twitter. I’m like, what’s up pal, how’s Hegel?

  4. 1. I want to see your flag dance video, darling. ok, ok, i always enjoy a look at edie’s.

    2. “Honesty’s realizing that life is never gonna get better, it’s just gonna keep going how it’s been going — bad, then good, bad, good, etc. — no matter what we do about it. So we might as well just make out and wait for the next joke. And read books. Trust me! It’s the most important thing you can do while on earth, besides kindness and commenting.”
    2a. I’m so kind!
    2b. And you’re so beautiful. In word and in deed.

    3. Im jealous and happy that you’re back with your words and deeds. I had serious blog withdrawal problems!!!!

    4. word veri is pftwi. It’s the new wii, it trains you to spit on people.

  5. i loved this, loved the cruise, miss joanne and everything that happened the last 7 days. we’ve made so many memories and i feel like probs we’re gonna make so many more. i think we’re all a really great team and i feel super lucky to be a member. this morning it was super tragic that i had to have cheerios for breakfast. also, i’d like to be meditating on the balcony. i love you!!!

  6. All that name dropping I am impressed… you my friend are like Broadway World. I am glad the cruise was wonderful and that Tink and the girls had fun. Caitlin wears good t-shirts. I bought one with the Great Gatsby cover on it. It’s kind of ugly but I think of Zelda when I wear it.

    Little Edie is wonderful. Ronnie and I watched that the other day… it’s like you have espn.

    If you need a mini-vacay go see Mamma Mia! It is the most fun same sex families can have at the movies this summer. for realz.

    21 in 4 days. oh and i figured out that i think i mentioned i am allergic to red dye as well. so apples and red dye… my life is ruined… or is it?

  7. I haven’t commented in a while so I thought I should stop by and say Hello! Remember that children’s book “Jambo means Hello”? Does anyone know that book? Or maybe my mother was just insane by trying to teach her 4 year old daughter swahili…

    Anyway, I’m totes jealous of the cruise/photo shoots! Looks like you had a great time.

  8. mira: I’ve always relied on the kindness of virtual strangers, and by that I mean; cyber-friends, so, thank you. I’m not beautiful though in word or in deed, though Layla does wonders with the right kind of light. My roommates got a Wii Fit, I’m pretty sure there’s spitting involved.

    caitlin: I just LOL’ed remembering that we got delivered your breakfast on the first day. I feel lucky to be a member of our Team. Slightly less lucky about being on our basketball team, although also, slightly lucky, ’cause it’s teamwork that even gets me in the building. I’m up for a transcendant experience if you are. I love you!!

    eric mathew: If Broadway World was lying on the pool-deck staring at the sunshine doing nothing, then BW indeed I am. By ‘espn’ do you mean ‘esp’? And if you really mean ESPN, that’s amazing and I’d like a full description of the reasons why. I think there’s plenty of things you can do without red dye or apples, especially at your advanced age. I’m weary of Mama Mia! but Caitlin wants to go so maybe I will.

    vesper de vil: All the cute pixie girls are in Canada, I need chocolate chips or a guitar to the head.

    chloe; Hello! Thank you for commenting, I like to know people are still out there even if they haven’t spoken in a while. I don’t remember that book but Caitlin told me that Swahili is a bunch of click clack sounds and I said “WHAT ABOUT JAMBO?”

    a;ex: She’ll really be your hero when I make you watch the entire movie, weirdo. Jessica K says we can’t fill the void, though I think Littlefoot would disagree. I’ve started the part of comment responding that descends into talking crazy. Hi!

    stef: You should’ve gotten her to autograph a body part. Just sayin’ …

  9. Travel memories made with friends are like the strangest kind. They sort of cling to you like lint, and then suddenly roll into your throat when you see a sunset or here a song or anything that reminds you of that time, and then you catch yourself unable to breath because they hit you so strong. I am currently feeling this… I’m not sure if that makes them the best, or the worst!

    Also, I’m uber jealous of your meeting with broadway celebs because I’m an ultra theatre nerd, as in if i was trapped on a cruise ship with say Audra McDonald I would probably just lock myself in my room in fear of seeing because if I did I would probably pee my pants. But I’m jealous anyway. Obvs.

  10. i asked my girlfriend today: “can we go on a lesbian cruise one day?”. and she was all like, “what? no.” so i was like, “but famous people go!” and she said, “like who?”. and all i could think of was you and haviland. then i showed her the L word cruise episode from season 2 (she’s never seen it before). so i’m hoping it’ll change her mind. then we had sex so loud i’m pretty sure it’s gonna get me evicted. *sigh*.

    glad you had a good trip.

    – not really anonymous but not really willing to put my name to this

  11. jenn: thank you, full bloody stop.

    el n: she did, and worked from nine tl give and then took another home again to find her waiting for her.

    coffee stained: They roll into my throat when I see into a sunset or hear a song and I want a time machine I mean I want it right then, right that minute, and I wanna be taken far away and I want to defy gravity and plunge headfirst into the ocean and feel everyone's hair dripping onto everyone else's hari.

    If I was locked on a ship with Tom Stoppard and John Guare, I'd probably lock myself in a closet in fear of seeing & peeing.

    caitlin: What can I say, I'm always thinkin' bout you! Love you!

    anonymous: You should show her 'All Aboard!" the Rosie documentary about the Rosie cruise, that will convince her. Then you can go to Alaska with us and we can all play together in the sunshine and glaciers. Good to hear about the sex, I hope you don't get evicted. I just got evicted, if it makes you feel any better. But not for sex, I was listening to music in my room and writing things.

  12. Re: Twitter and besties, I know, right?! Would it not be so much more awesome if Twitter would actually WORK?! Then I could be all, “Hey, yo, meet me for coffee in Chelsea! Hegel is totes stuck in a dialectic and needs advice or something!” [eyeroll]

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