#012 Tuesday

hi pals,

it’s 9:00p in washington, d.c. as i begin to write this note to you. at the moment, biden has taken virgina, north carolina, and arkansas. biden, bernie, and bloomberg are fighting over texas — and, well. whenever you read this you’ll probably have more results than i have so i guess i’ll just leave it at that.

today was a day. in the grand scheme of things, a very regular day. it’s only when you zoom in do we understand the massive impact of today. with each step back, it becomes smaller, more regular: a tuesday. a simple tuesday.

i slept in this morning — like, 7a, but that’s still sleeping in. i begrudgingly got out of my bed. the first thing i do when i wake up is breathe. i know that sounds stupid but if you sit with it for a minute, you’ll start to understand its impact. then i pray — not always to god, just something bigger than me. throughout the morning i wrote and did meetings.

this, of course, is not how my day was supposed to go. if i was in el paso, i would have woke up at 5a to catch the morning news. the first thing i would have done is scooted up to district coffee and have a laugh with sebastian. he’d have wished me luck. this is the kind of person sebastian is. el paso nice. with my coffee, i would have walked through downtown and to the border which is where beto o’rourke’s headquarters were. maybe i wouldn’t be doing any of this. maybe something would have gone wrong and forced me to drink the really bad coffee — oh boy — ok this should have been reserved for a footnote but fuck it i’m going rogue ok so there was this thing in beto hq where the person (me) who made the coffee often wouldn’t be able to get a cup and that’s because of a thing i called: coffee bandits, you know, the people who pause the coffee machine that you (me) started to pour themselves a cup so while you (me) are patiently waiting for (especially patient when you considered we never had cream) a cup of coffee and rarely sugar then you’d (me) would have to make another pot ok i’m done with this i need to stop this sentence ahhhhh.

ok, regroup. i would have drank coffee. i’d be glued to slack. i’d be making merch and doing a crazy website update. the long and short here is i’d still be operating plan a.

and this is the big thing: when/if you (me) lose a campaign, every decision you (me) make after is plan b. still! i have to admit, i have a pretty great plan b. i’m spending the night with my friends at the office and that’s something i’m thankful of.

pause: joe biden has just won tennessee.

ok, where was i? right shit —

another pause: oklahoma for biden, too.

alright! i’m back in the game. look, folks. this might not be my most coherent newsletter ever written but there’s a little golden nugget of truth that i’d like to leave for you: this isn’t plan a.

in the last week, pete, amy, and tom have dropped. truthfully, mike bloomberg should drop out but i guess this is what happens when you try to buy america. warren! i’m… so… fucking… sorry. in time, there will be books about how we got here but at this moment, i’m not sure.

and then there were two: joe, bernie. as of this moment, it’s not looking great for bernie. joementum is looking pretty good — i’m pretty darn happy about joe! but i also understand how much this might be hurting for my bernie and warren friends. i have no intention to tell you how to vote or to tell you what to think but i do know this: i’m not screaming at a coffee bandit right now and i can’t tell you how much that hurts.

pause: bloomberg campaign has just issued a statement that doesn’t say he’s dropping out but also doesn’t not say he’s not.

tomorrow, we wake up. the sun will rise. ok, i have to go. a dog wants to be pet.

it’s 9:26p in washington, d.c.

talk soon,

#011 Eye of The Tiger

hi pals,

if you’ve spoken a word to me in the last couple years, i’ve probably rambled on about rocky iii. the film opens with rocky on the top of the world. he’s beaten apollo creed. he’s got a wife and kid he loves. he lives in a mansion. it’s a good, comfortable life.

mickey tells rocky to hang it up. the title-defending fights he was setting up weren’t fixed, they just weren’t killers — “the worst thing that happened to you, that can happen to any fighter: you got civilized.”

rocky attempts to retire, but mr. t comes out of nowhere and haggles adrian, rocky’s wife. mickey tells him not to fight, but rocky does. he looses, bad. mickey dies of a heart attack. rocky wants redemption but he doesn’t know if he can do it. apollo creed works with rocky to bring him back to life — that’s right! rocky’s enemy brings him back to life!

then — the greatest scene of all time, a top 5 in american film history, number 1, with a bullet — adrian and rocky on the beach.

Adrian: you gotta want to do it for the right reasons. Not for the guilt over Mickey, not for the people, not for the title, not for money or me, but for you. Just you. Just you alone. Rocky: And if I lose? Adrian: Then you lose. But at least you lose with no excuses, no fear. And I know you can live with that.

rocky comes back, hugs apollo creed a lot — not in a sexual way but not not in a sexual way. here’s where we start to finish.

at the final fight, mr. t tells rocky he’s gonna beat him real bad. rocky tells him to go for it. we’re off to the races. rocky is fast. he was slow in the first fight, tired and weak. we’re now back to peak rocky shape. the strategy is to tire mr. t. rocky’s taking hit after hit and mr. t is breathing heavy. remember — he’s not getting killed, he’s getting mad! mr. t’s exhausted by the third round and rocky knocks him out.

okay —

that was probably too long of a synopsis but trust me, it rules. i’ve watched that film dozens of times. truthfully, it was one of the first things that picked me up after years of alcohol and drug use. rocky iii is a comeback film. that’s all.

i see a lot of rocky iii in the election. dems, let’s be real with ourselves. we were spoiled. we lost that eye of the tiger. it’s that feeling we need to get back.

last week, i attended an infowars cpac after-party. i know.

i think democrats sometimes belittle the density of the republican party and so, for me, it’s important to see it up front. after trump won, there were many protests at the trump tower. i would sit off to the side and watch the strategy of republicans counter-protesting. when laura loomer protested twitter at the nyc hq, i was there taking notes. i didn’t see the eye of the tiger at either of these events — but last week, at the infowars party, i saw it.

the sunset room, where this event took place, is nothing special. the first floor is a restaurant/bar that serves pretty delicious hotel food. the second floor is where the party took place. when i walked in, gavin mcinnes was reciting a rehearsed comedy bit about traditional nuclear families. it was a white-nationalist preaching to a racist choir. every now and then, folks in the crowd would shout derogatory rhetoric back. trust me — this isn’t even a scoop. the whole thing was live-streamed.

throughout the night, attendees ate catered finger food and drank from an open bar that overlooked the potomac river. it was — in large part, an event filled with laughter and smiles. i always thought of the radicalized right as a group of very angry people. this wasn’t that. these folks had found their community.

outside, i bummed a cigarette off a true believer. it was an american spirit cigarette, of course. this is when the tone started to shift. it was more introspective and morose. i assumed people would start asking me questions about why i was there but instead, they launched into their life stories. how they felt left out before they found the movement. how they’d been searching for something their whole lives and how donald trump filled that void. it was a cult. i won’t get into specifics, but that was the tone.

if i’m being honest, i felt bad for them. throughout the night, i had this crushing feeling that if we — and by we, i mean democrats — weren’t always shouting at them that they’d rationally see how they’ve been radicalized. that there would be a way back. maybe that thinking is delusion, but it was my one hopeful thought. when i walked into the party, it seemed so big and loud. by the time i walked out, it felt small.

i want to be really clear about what i’m writing here. i didn’t attend this event to cause a raucous. though i found the entirety of it despicable, i wasn’t there to protest. this was their home turf. i was there to be respectful, listen, and take notes. i was there to remind myself of the stakes. i was there to get my eye of the tiger back.

we’re coming up on super tuesday. pete, amy, elizabeth, and mike will be in a very precarious situation. it’s my opinion — that while all of them have ran game changing campaigns, none of them individually have it in them. our nominee against donald trump will either be joe biden or bernie sanders.

either way, i’m all in. i hope you are, too.

talk soon,

#010 Mornings

hi pals,

it’s sunday morning. i bought a frying pan yesterday and that along with the cast iron skillet my mom mailed me has made me a somewhat decent cook. i made some eggs this morning with a sliced orange on the side. it was a very sweet and soft moment that i wish i could have held onto longer. i know i’m getting older because i want moments to slow down. i’m not in such a rush. i want to savor moments.

ok, shall we?

  1. the nevada caucus has occurred and bernie has emerged victorious. it’s been interesting being in d.c. and seeing the establishment in panic. i always thought the establishment was a turn of phrase but there is, in fact, an actual establishment.

  2. a friend told me losing a presidential campaign makes everything you do in life going forward plan b. she’s right — and though that thinking could make me sad, it doesn’t. yes, we did lose. yes, it hurt. but i’m not done yet. i’m going to make my plan b into something great. i’m sure of it.

  3. that’s right, i’m not done yet. i’ve gone full kobe bryant mamba mentality. i’m up at the crack of dawn working on my mind. i listen to my body. i don’t stop. i keep going. that feeling right there — that’s the one i love.

  4. i’ve been going on dates lately. it’s fine. i went on a date with a researcher and it was like talking to myself from five years ago. she was so unsure of herself. i knew she was on a journey that was all too familiar. i went on another date where we ate dinner then came back to my apartment to play music. it felt nice. they were good at the guitar in a different way. when i play guitar, i generally stay in the same section of a fretboard and rotate d, g, a, f, e chords on a various capo. they took an e minor and brought it up and down the fretboard. i really enjoyed it.

  5. at stg, i work on a lot of client work. it always feels like dating. we’re together for a few weeks and then our time is over. my slack and gmail access is revoked. there’s something so crisp, so black and white to that. we don’t lost part of each other. we lose the whole thing. it’s over.

  6. the end of dating feels a lot like access being revoked. i was in this relationship over the holidays with someone and when it was over i realized we were both revoking access. isn’t that kind of beautiful and wonderful and yes — sad.

  7. maybe that’s what relationships are: granting and revoking access.

  8. cold, i know.

  9. my ex-boyfriend got married. i’m really happy for him.

  10. in d.c., i purposefully moved into an apartment that was right next to the aa meeting i like to go to. it reminds me of the nyc aa meeting that i went to — except i’m stronger. i don’t need to be saved by them. i don’t feel obliged by them. i don’t feel like they control me. plus, my sponsor already saved me. well, she’d probably tell me i saved myself.

  11. after the campaign, i spent a month in nyc. i slept at a few places. at first, i crashed in brendan’s walk-in closet. it was perfect. we stayed up late and ate homemade pizza and talked about life. it was exactly what i needed.

  12. after a few nights, i landed at my sponsor’s apartment. jes is the one person who knows everything about me. she’s the one person i don’t hold back the truth to. love almost feels like to small of a word for someone who kept me alive. in the morning, we’d wake each other up. she makes this coffee with steamed coconut milk and it’s the most delicious thing in the world. i like d.c. and all but nobody makes coffee like jes does. we talk on the phone. it doesn’t feel like enough.

  13. i don’t know what the future holds but i feel strong enough to handle it.

talk soon,

#009 It's Late, I Know.

hi pals,

it’s late, i know. i’ve been thinking about heaven. i never was a religious person but these last few years have forced a reckoning with the man upstairs. God.

my dad was jewish. my mother is protestant. was and is. something simple. i wasn’t raised on anything. didn’t feel the need to push. i assumed god was something other people needed to hold onto for hope. i had no hope, so i didn’t see the use.

when i was a kid, i played basketball. sunrise to sundown. one night, it rained. my friend richie and i got invited to a local spot that had an indoor basketball hoop. why not? we got inside and there it was. a rim on a rug. i paid no mind. we set it up and played a few games. eventually a nice lady asked us to sit down at the table and join in prayer before eating a dinner together. we were in a church. i didn’t understand.

i know you know this, but i’m an addict. one morning, in my early-twenties, i was coming back up from a downer. i was driving a car. the road was wet. i shuffled through the radio stations and landed on a station that sounded nice. all upbeat songs about hope. i remember feeling good — maybe too good. after a few songs, they cut to break. you’re listening to blah blah blah. christian rock, all the time. oh no. i thought about leaving the station on. the songs were fine. they made me feel better. but i didn’t. i wasn’t ready. i didn’t understand.

i have friends that have had bad experiences with God — well, to be fair, with folks who are haphazardly playing God. good does bad, bad does good. you know, aa is basically christian rock — but uh, without the melodies. whatever. it’s a thing i’ve had to come to an understanding on. i do find myself lucky, tho. God is one thing that i was able to come into on my own. it wasn’t forced. my family didn’t shun me.

still, when i got sober, there was a bit of pressure. at first, i was fine to say that i was surrendering myself to the care of God. generally speaking, there’s not much to lose when you don’t got nothing. but then i got to thinkin’. what the fuck?

you know that movie, hook? yeah, the one with robin williams and dustin hoffman. there’s this scene where peter pan needs to find his happy thought. he can’t fly without it and without flying he can’t save his kids, who were kidnapped by hook. so check this: peter pan’s son, jack, hits a home run and the baseball smacks peter pan right on his head. in this moment, pan finds his happy thought. it’s his kids — his family. soon enough, he’s flying and off to save the day. hook gets eaten by a dead alligator. idk.

k.i.s.s., keep it simple, stupid.

after that article came out — you know, the one. i had a sober person tell me that i wasn’t right with my higher power or sobriety. that no spiritually fit person could have written what i wrote. that i shouldn’t go to the meetings they go to because they felt unsafe. they told me i needed to talk to my higher power and have God set me straight. what the fuck? i’d been sober for about nine months when that whole thing happened. i couldn’t believe i had spent the last nine months sitting in a room with strangers willingly talking about handing my life over to the care and grace of God, just so some shit-head could throw their bag of shit on me? i didn’t understand.

i’ve been thinking about heaven, too. have you noticed how when people talk about going to heaven they talk about doing and seeing and having conversations with everyone they want? well, what if your pal up there in the big blue sky ain’t too keen on catching up? are there duplicates of people — just sort of being the exact person someone else needs them to be?


last christmas, i went home. i found this letter my uncle had sent my dad when he realized my dad was gonna die. in it, he mentions a name i’ve never heard of. i know — rationally — my dad had a life before me — but also, and again i’m doing the em dash thing — what if me and that dude die on the same day. is my dad going to want to talk to him or me first? is his body duplicated to give everyone what they want?

are there millions of different versions of amy winehouse just chilling upstairs, ready to talk about how much rehab meant to some dead body? what about amy? what does she need? maybe she doesn’t wanna waste waking hours of her dead days helping process another dead person’s shit? i know what you’re thinking right now, and you’re right. what the fuck?

so after the third debate, my mom called me to tell me good job. on the campaign, we ran our war room out of a hotel near the el paso airport. embassy suites, baby. nothing but the best. on the call, she told me about a relative my dad had. a man who had escaped the russians during their genocide of jews in the early 1900s. so, hold up? maybe i’m… jewish? why am i whining about God then?

i try to light a candle on the anniversary of my dad’s death, but sometimes i’m in a place that doesn’t have candles. also, there’s this whole thing about a very specific candle and when i was in el paso it wasn’t like i was gonna find a jewish store filled with that specific candle and my apartment couldn’t take packages so i couldn’t have it delivered so look the rub here is i didn’t burn a candle. i don’t want to be a bad daughter.

tbh, the first few years i just had a few shots of whiskey. when i drank, i preferred whiskey to chill on ice but on the september 6th’s, i drank it neat. i wanted it to burn. almost as if — if i were to be in pain, he’d come and rescue me?

when i watched that scene in hook, i had my own epiphany. God is a complicated thing but a happy thought is not. it’s simply a happy thought. that’s what helps. that’s what gets us through the day. a simple happy thought — a simple higher power.

is a child anything more than a puppet? i’d ask God if i could.

talk soon,

#008 The Thought Alone is Gold

hi pals,

a few thoughts:

  1. is there an asmr for watching cream get dropped into black coffee? it makes me wanna cry. reminds me of that john green line in the fault in our stars, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

  2. i’ve lived in dc for a few weeks now. i like it, but i have some observations.

    • what’s up with the minute long crosswalk signs? unnecessary, imho.

    • i was told there would be more snow. where is it?

    • the buffet’s are good. i fucking life a casual buffet. eat a little chicken, a little rice. just really great. gotta respect it.

    • everyone in every bar is talking politics. was eating a little snack last night at this pub and i was overhearing these two boys on a date talk about how they’re not republican but think john mccain would have made a good president. oh, yeah. i’m in dc.

    • been walking a lot so i’ve been listening to a lot of music. it’s the winter, so it’s sad boi songs. u ever listening to a guy singing these manly sad boi songs and you’re like “this is nice i just hope he’s gay” and then he’s got this line that’s like plz don’t mind me yeah i was looking up your skirt… and it’s just like, c’mon.

      • i get it, man is horny.

  3. hard tellin’ not knowin’ but… never mind.

  4. i’ve been playing a lot of madden with kev. we came up with the most intricate system for video game football, which is good. essentially, we ran a draft over text and then both chose are line-up’s blind of each other’s lists. there’s been some good matches but he’s whooping my butt. i gotta strategize better. i have him the first three quarters and then i make one mistake and lose the game. he’s just more cool under pressure. gotta respect it but i need a win.

    • kev has a tendency to run jet sweep’s — which was fine when i understood what he was doing, but he’s started to throw in these jet sweep fakes and i don’t have the solution. finally get my guys over to the right place and he’ll just send it to the tight end for 20 yards. still looking for the perfect defense.

  5. i stayed up until about two a.m. last night when it hit me: i’m not fucking done. i’m not fucking done fighting and neither should you be. i ain’t playing dead cuz i ain’t dead.

  6. folks keep askin’ me about what i’m doing online. well,

    • “rgk” are my initials. robyn grace kanner.

    • i’ll probably make it more professional when there’s something to say.

    • i hate feeling like other people own a part of me — which is essential why i teeter away from having an identity on the internet. especially because i’ve already Been Cool online and know how simple that is but also know how hollow that feeling is.

      • take what i was doing on instagram — those little poetic one liners. i like writing them. they’re little puzzles. i’m actually still writing them. but i didn’t enjoy feeling like i was making these for you, because i wasn’t. also! they weren’t throw away feelings. there’s this one specific one i wrote that went like walking around chinatown and i’ve got nowhere to go. there’s a bar right here but i’ll steer clear. no friends, no home. there’s this very specific feeling and emotion where that one came from. it’s a very real scene to me and when i gave it to you i didn’t like it. i didn’t like that you had it — even though, the words are pretty far removed from the actual event i was referencing (which is what poetry is all about anyway). i don’t know. it gives you too much of me. i’m fine sending it here because truthfully pals there aren’t exactly a lot of you who read this but when it’s consumed and shared it all feels bad. not good.

      • and i know, this is coming from me! queen of oversharing. but last year did a number on me — it did a number on who i trust, how i let them in, what part of me they get to see — and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a bit of me for me.

    • i like talking on the telephone. it’s my preferred method of communication — and the project i did last year did get at what i wanted it to. vulnerability in a one-on-one. not everybody got to hear it. just me and the person i was talking — but! and here’s the big but! men made it bad. so i stopped it.

    • as for twitter, i mean — come on! if i’m reinforcing an overarching strategy, it makes sense to send the “blah blah blah” tweets. you know what i’m talking about. but when i’m not doing that, it doesn’t feel good. no one is ever going to write an original “trump is bad” tweet and tbh how many people actually give a shit about sharing information versus getting a few rt’s on ur pithy and pathetic joke — or, the ones that really bug me, are about our own candidates. bro, i get it. so and so ain’t ur jam. but u are smart enough to know that’s not what the world needs to hear right now. unity, baby. republicans have their horse, have had their horse ready for years. we’re still fussing it out on the practice field. let’s get real.

  7. i’m in total fear that something i write will one day ruin my life so everything above for all you twitter historians let’s make a pact ok.

  8. i don’t call a truce. there’s too much to do.

  9. i’ve been listening to this band that’s made up of some folks i grew up with and it runs me through this range of emotions. one of the gal’s — who, tbh, i wasn’t really tight with — but, you know, we’re close enough to call each other pals — hold on, let me reset. too many em dashes. ok, so she’s gay right and has always had this fem/butch balance that i aspire to. i hear her lyrics and they make me wanna cry not because they’re sad or whatever but because i remember one night when we were both living in portland maine i went to the movies alone and i can’t even remember what i saw but i remember her being on a date there — plus it was one of those late night movies where you get out at 12:30a.m. and the whole movie theater has shut down so it’s such a beautiful serene moment — but back to the movie, i remember thinking about how many hearts, how many thoughts, how many emotions are sitting there in that movie theater and i can’t remember what movie it was but i remember feeling like so many hearts were beating and then when i went to the movies yesterday i had the same feeling like so many thoughts and hearts just bouncing around and how fucking beautiful that moment is how all these people could come together in pure silence and the tension is unbearable. so unbearable. it’s hard to put it into words but maybe it’d be easier to put it in a song or write a line that removes the situation that carries the feeling which, again, is what i was doing before (re: 6) but how good, how good it could feel to be in a room, because that’s all a movie theater is, a room, and know that there is something pouring out of you that’s so fucking true and so fucking real and everything, the whole scene, the thought, it’s just too much, it’s all the gold. the thought alone is gold.

talk soon,

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