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05/10/2010

Salon Sneak Peak: The Writings of Liz Spikol

So Rudy might have a crush on Emily Gould, but I have to fess up to digging Liz Spikol, the non-Emily on tomorrow night’s Salon program. Her troubles have made for deliciously uncomfortable stories, first in her popular Philly Weekly column The Trouble with Spikol and now her blog of the same name. While the focus of her writing has changed since leaving PW – her new job at the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania means less time for blogging and (according to at least one fan) a little “less edge” – she is still attracted to topics that many would rather sweep under the rug, including suicide and bisexuality. Check out last week’s Philadelphia Gay News interview with Spikol and get a taste for her (edgy as ever, in my opinion) new work before seeing her live tomorrow at the Arts Bank (601 S. Broad St.). Tickets still available here.


And feel the slice of that Spikol edge from some past writings…


From a blog post about a study on sex:
How did I know I was attracted to women from the start? Well, my friend in grade school, who I’ll call Julia, came over to my house one Sunday and told me she had something to show me. We were about 8. She grabbed the comics section of the Philadelphia Inquirer and told me to look at Dagwood from the Blondie strip. She said he was “sexy.” She said if I looked at him I would start to feel funny but there were things I could do to make it go from funny to really nice.


I had no idea what she was talking about. I stared at Dagwood as long as I could, but nothing happened. She kept trying to explain. Finally, I let my eyes wander to Blondie, with her long, pretty legs and bouncy hair and I felt funny. I told her I understood but I didn’t mention Blondie. Even then, I knew it was wrong to prefer a girl over a guy.


The incident–which would be repeated not in its particulars but in its generalities countless times to come–made me understand who I was. I’ve always had a soft spot for Blondie since then.


From a column about addiction:
I started my love affair with pills in 1998, when my then-psychiatrist erroneously prescribed methamphetamine. I asked him at the time if addiction was a risk. Yes, he said, but in all his years of prescribing, he’d only “lost” two people to the drug.


Make that three. I quickly (speedily!) ramped my daily consumption up to four times the recommended max, popping the pills like they were Tic-Tacs. My weight dropped to 89 pounds, and obsessive-compulsive rituals, like counting, started to clog up my day and make me late for appointments. Things would happen in my apartment that “I” hadn’t done—but then, who had? I was too scattered and dissociated to pay bills, to eat, to return calls. Life was all about maintaining the “right” amount of meth.


It was completely unsustainable, but much of the time I felt like a god.


From a column about her body:
Last week I saw Thomas at an outdoor party. He looked especially pretty, his sunglasses pushed up on his head, his blue shirt creamy and pale against his skin. I walked over and we did the air-kiss thing, followed by a profusion of chipper inquiries. As usual, Thomas talked about business.


I was zoning out a bit when I noticed Thomas’ eyes travel the length of my body. He looked at me with a secretive smile. Was he finally going to mention the unmentionable? I giggled in a way I hoped was schoolgirlish but probably seemed demented.


“You look great,” he said. “Are you expecting?”


My reaction was not graceful. I shrieked in horror, then grabbed my billowy shirt and held it tightly around my body as though I were a pork roast being wrapped in Saran.


“No!” I answered, dancing around like a liquored-up court jester. “See? I’m still skinny and cute; it’s just the shirt!”


Thomas apologized, but I prolonged the agony by saying, “The next time I see you I’m going to be wearing something really sexy, I swear.”


There was enough humiliation in that moment to last through 10 life cycles—conception, pregnancy and death included.


– Karina Kacala

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