Portrait of the Artist With a Large Purse

March 10, 2014


Guys! Meet Kathleen Hale. She’s the author of an amazing and hilarious novel, No One Else Can Have You, which O Magazine just called “wickedly entertaining.”

True story: I read her book before it came out, and badgered our mutual friend into introducing us, because I simply had to know the human whose brain hatched such a brilliant, funny story. And she is so great.

When we met up for coffee (and commuter shoe purchasing), she arrived with a large canvas bag emblazoned with Edgar Allan Poe and filled with mysterious essentials. Always the good sport, Kathleen was kind enough to (literally) spill her purse for our collective entertainment.

If the products we keep on display in our homes represent who we want to be, are the things we schlep around with us who we really are?


On her signature shade of lipstick: Wearing lipstick is so funny. It’s only for far away, and up close it looks so cartoonish. But I really like this one; it’s called Pastille Lilac, by this brand called BITE. It’s really actually moisturizing. I know I sound like a commercial now, but it smells like crayons and it doesn’t taste bad, which is good because most of my lipstick winds up in my mouth over the course of the day.


On essentials for living: I have this crumply bag of tissues that a woman at the YMCA gave me because I was having one of my characteristically violent nosebleeds. I’ve been using it ever since — not to help with my nosebleeds, which I use tampons for usually, but to blot the outrageously pink lipstick I’ve been wearing. Which I think I’ll do right now. (Blots.)

These are cheap sunglasses because I always lose sunglasses, so I can’t get nice ones. But people sometimes think they’re Ray-Bans, which I guess is the point.

Oh! Here’s the naked lady mirror, which I got a really long time ago. I thought she was nice looking. I use this to make sure I don’t have lipstick on my teeth. Which I do a lot. Or boogers in my nose. Or food around my mouth. My mom used to tell my siblings and I that she thought we had really numb faces because we were constantly covered in crumbs like babies. Now that I’ve started going into an office and I don’t just work from home wearing a blanket as clothes, I try to peek at myself at least once before I go through the doors.

This is a tax form that I need to send in… that I keep forgetting to send in. I also have a million pens. But I usually use this nice silver one that my mom’s friend gave me for my high school graduation.


On unearthing rare gems: I went into Wyckoff’s Pharmacy [in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn] and asked the guy if he had anything for rough heels and he said his wife loves this stuff [DiabetiDerm]. It’s for your heels, but if you use it anywhere else it’ll actually dry out your skin, so it’s kind of like a witch’s deal. You can only use it in one spot. But it’s great! It’s really tingly and minty and really softens your heels.

I also have this Lipo stuff, which is from Italy. It’s just their form of ChapStick but I feel really fancy using it, and I’ve been making it last for months.

When I was getting my DiabetiDerm, I also picked up this Yu-Be lip balm. I don’t have anything to say about it because I haven’t used it yet, but apparently the female inhabitants of Brooklyn are eating it up, according to the guy at Wyckoff’s.

Another product I use a lot of is this Eye Bright stuff [by Benefit]. I guess I get a lot of sleep, but I don’t always look so awake, and this makes me look more awake.


On recommended reading: I’m reading this amazing book right now, Tease, by Amanda Maciel. It’s so good — it’s written from the point of view of a bully who’s accused of causing a teenage girl’s suicide, and it’s really fresh and just amazing.


On the tools of the craft: I just got a new notebook because I’m writing a new thing, and I tend to write them in these little dollar forty-nine notebooks. I think that Moleskins are really cool, but these sort of remind me to not be really precious about my writing. I write my books in here and then I type them up, and that sort of counts as two drafts, because a lot of stuff changes in between. It’s not that I glorify or romanticize writing by hand at all, it’s more like… the way that some people start to do so much in bed that they stop associating it with sleep, and start to associate it with doing homework or watching something on their computer. I associate my computer with dicking around. So writing in this forces me to focus on what I really need to do.

Thanks so much, Kathleen!

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