Anne Heche Is a Convincing Alien (or: What I Learned My Summer Vacation)

I apologize for my inexcusably long break. All I can say is that I am one of those irresponsible New Yorkers who not only has a car, but loves her car. It’s a pain in the ass to park, to pay for, and to protect, but — aaaaah. Come summer and its clammy, dirty hot-towel slap, ain’t nothing better than climbing into my Hyundai Sadie’s four walls and speeding right up the BQE ramp and out, out, out of NYC environs.

I’ve been to: the Catskills; Onset Bay, Massachusetts; the tony Hamptoni; Long Beach, LI; and, of course, la Coney Island. And I am here to report that even better auto-entertainment (if you catch my meaning) than mypod is la book on tape. The cheesier the better, it seems. I tried listening to Middlemarch and Crime and Punishment and, though I admired those books much when I read them a decade ago, lordy, were they lousy in traffic. Nay, it’s been less lofty fare: domestic fiction from Alice McDermott; you-go-girl faction from Terry McMillan (NYTimes phrasing, not my own); Frank Abagnale’s swinging-con memoir Catch Me If You Can, Aretha Franklin’s autoautoautobiography (compelling on oh-so-many levels!); and, by far the best, Call Me Crazy by Anne Heche, read by the authoress herself in her patented Stonewall-era-gay-male-meets-Ethel Merman voice. I will say this for Heche: She obviously wrote it herself. She grounds out her church-ladylikeness with down-and-dirty swearing. “I’d rather be crazy than fucking God!” she exclaims after describing waking up with, oh, stigmata in her palms. And then there’s the poetry she occasionally uses to jazz up her prose. Couplets rhyming “herpes-scaby” with “My sister Abby.” Or, “I was mad/a loon/a crazy cartoon.” Plus the exact pronunciation of her alien-identity Celestia’s special language.


All right, I’ve broken my August-posting cherry, so more later today or tomorrow.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy