Internet Drama, Through My Personal Journal Notes

23 Sep

I wrote this a few weeks ago, back when the most important part of my life was that I didn’t have internet. I’m glad that is no longer the most important thing.

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I’ve had a really off day and I want to write it out. I want my anxiety and stress and sadness to drip off my fingers and into the fake ink of a fake word document on my real computer.

I want to feel right again.

Today I spent the majority of my day waiting for an internet technician who never ended up coming. It was the expectation that got me. I expected to have internet tonight. All day I made a list of things that I would do when I had internet.

I don’t have cell pone service at my new place, and I couldn’t leave to do things like submit homework assignments or respond to emails like a normal person. Instead I had a list. I list that grew.

I waited.
And waited.

At 9:00PM I ended up in Starbucks with a hazelnut hot chocolate and 30 minutes to accomplish everything on that list. My heart was pounding. My fingers tripped over each other.

I did it all. Did I sound ok? Did those emails make sense? Who knows who cares who what?

I wasn’t very kind about the internet fiasco. For the first three hours I was. I was longsuffering and demure. I ate bags of popcorn and read graphic novels telling myself that soon, soon! I would have internet and could be a productive human. Soon, soon! I would turn the day around.

Soonday never comes.

That was a really bad play on Brandi Carlile. Remember her?

The Story?

Oh woman, sometimes I miss that level of angst.

Maybe I found it tonight.

I feel bad about that.

On top of everything I feel bad that I wasn’t kinder to the person who was hours and hours and hours late and didn’t give me internet service or warning and then blamed me for it.

I want to be the kind of person who is a kind kind of person.

I want to talk to people who frustrate me in longer sentences than one word.

Today Anne Lamott posted a prayer that she says every day with her best friend after they hike their praying place. They go there to “lift up those who are struggling, including, sometimes, our tiny princess selves.”

Her prayer says:

We pray, Mother Father Creator Source, we need Your help! And we give you Thanks in advance for your tender mercies. We pray the praise of wow, our minds blown by this Beauty, and the greatest gift of close friends.

Prayers are like deep breaths. The exhale of so many anxieties and fears, the release of something you can’t do anything about.

Help.

Thanks.

Wow.

Remembering moments of grace even on this impossible day—finding a surprise gift card, locating every screw to put my bed back together, a Scholastic podcast on my way to do something I love with books.

Grace and breaths and exhales of wishes and concerns.

 

Even for me and my tiny princess self.

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There’s Something About Podcasts

19 Sep

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Several months ago I jumped into the shallow end of the podcast pool and injured my knees on the ground. All scraped up, I jumped again and again, downloading every podcast on every list of people’s favorite podcasts, feeling stressed and behind and obsessive when I couldn’t keep up with them, or worse, didn’t like them. It became a burden in my life, one I kept adding to.

Soon I was that woman with 50 seashells necklaces around her neck, barely limping around town from the weight of it all.

But they are seashells!

They are supposed to be great!

I don’t know this woman, but it’s a nice visual.

Today I’m pleased to say I am in a healthy relationship with podcasts. I’ve deleted the ones I don’t listen to. I don’t feel I have to listen to the entire archives or nothing. I’m here and I’m ready and let’s talk about the best ones.

1. This American Life

We all already listen to this, yes? It’s the best because it’s the best. And because we all have sexual tension with Ira Glass.

Length: 1 hour. Love the episode Tell Me I’m Fat.

 

 2. Modern Love

A celebrity reads a New York Times Modern Love column. They are interesting and charming and a quick listen. Thirty minutes or less podcasts are great and there should be so many more of them.

Length: 30 minutes or less (see above). Love the episode Friends Without Benefits.

 

3. Magic Lessons

A podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert takes on a regular person’s creativity problem, gets advice from another creative, and gives out homework assignments. Always leaves me pumped on c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y. (Did you see that? I was getting creative with how I even wrote creativity. That’s power.)

Current season has hour-long episodes. The Action is Here inspired this blog post of mine.

 

4. Scholastic Reads

I get really Zen and at peace with the world every time this one is on. I love hearing about the woman who physically transported the Harry Potter manuscripts on an airplane because they didn’t trust the internet with edits. I genuinely celebrate along with 30 years of Baby-Sitters Club. It’s a blast to hear about the behind the scenes of the Scholastic Reading Club.  Are you ready to hang out with me on a Friday night yet?

Length: 30 minutes. Here’s that Baby-Sitters Club one.

 

5. The RobCast

I usually listen to this one on Sundays. Rob Bell is a Christian pastor now…podcaster? Inspirational speaker? I’m not sure. He talks about some Christian things and spiritual things but mainly really human things. How to be a better human being in a world where it can be really hard to be a good human being. Excellent, always always always always always.

Length: 30 minutes – 1 hour. Listen to this one on seasons.

 

6. Strangerville

I went to high school with the guy who writes It Just Gets Stranger and his blog is great and so is his podcast.

Length: 1 hour. Listen to Episode 5 about a man who grew up in the same church as Warren Jeffs and the importance of choice.

 

 7. Dear Sugar

Cheryl Strayed’s rightfully acclaimed advice podcast where she and Steve Almond tackle really honest, brave questions with really honest, brave answers. I’m always excited to see it in my queue.

Length: 30-45 minute. Listen to I’m falling in love with my ex-husband. What a soapy title!

 

8. Monocycle with Leandra Medine

Leandra is the girl behind Man Repeller and she’s funny and real and great and these are like 11 minutes of her thoughts on a subject and sometimes I pretend I have her life, because doesn’t that sound like the life? People caring about your 11 minute thought processes?

Length: 10 minutes. Listen to Not Pregnant. I love what Leandra says about it, “It’s important to share what I’m going through while I’m in it as opposed to sharing once I’ve overcome it — after I’ve been able to put the experience in a box and wrap it in fancy words and call it a first person essay, because this is real life, right? And between the inspiring stories of victory and triumph that emerge out of despair and the road blocks that life throws in our tracks in an attempt to derail us, there is the very real question of, “But what do I do NOW? To make myself feel better in the present? While I’m still going through it?”

 

9. Bachelorette Party with Juliet Litman

On Bill Simmons’s podcast channel (Channel 33) this GEM discusses The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise and the host is hilarious and gives just the right amount of reverence to irreverence ratio to the Bachelor world. It’s a must-listen for people who say must-listen and watch The Bachelor.

Listen to this episode with Nick Viall our new Bachelor*

Length: 45 minutes – 1 hour. Listen to this episode with Nick Viall our new Bachelor.*

*Feelings

 

10. Keepin’ it 1600

Another Channel 33 Great, this is a podcast about the election run by two former Obama advisers.. They are smart and witty and have great guests, but mainly I feel like I’m listening in on a big secret. These are the people they talk about on Scandal and Veep and House of Cards. The Washington People Who Know Things. I love it and also really hate this election.

Length: 1 hour. Are you ready to hear about Clinton’s pneumonia and Trump’s Foundation?

 

11. StoryCorps

Another hit NPR podcast, this one is brief and collects little snippets of stories from people around America. It’s an easy on-the-way-to-the-grocery-store listen that sometimes gets it all right.

Length: 15 minutes. Listen to this one on Sissy Goodwin, a man who likes to wear women’s clothing, and his wife Vickie. They live in Wyoming.

 

12. The Librarian Is In

Maybe my current favorite podcast, this one is run by two librarians from the New York Public Library. Every week the hosts give book recommendations (I just read The One and Only Ivan via their recommendation and now I trust them with my whole heart and library card.) They have guests who talk about if audiobooks count as reading and the gender politics of picture books and the Winnie the Pooh exhibit and it’s really delightful and well done and all of my interests in rolled into one hour a week.

Length: 1 hour. Here’s that Winnie the Pooh one.

 

13. The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice—New Fiction from The New Yorker

I really needed to specify which podcast this is because apparently The New Yorker has 12 billion podcasts and once I told Rob to listen to a story that reminded me of him and he wound up listening to a podcast about a priest who bought a chair and was like why did you think of me?

This podcast (the right podcast) has short stories from Lauren Groff and Zadie Smith, and The New Yorker still does short stories so we should all celebrate it.

Length: 30 minutes or so. Here’s Zadie’s. (Not the one that reminded me of Rob.)

14. Lady Lovin’

With Lo Bosworth and Jilly Hendrix!! I’ll love The Hills forever and part of me realizes I am probably a Lo on some level, so it’s fun. It’s like gabbing with girlfriends who spotlight important issues and silly things and always celebrate women and are DJs.

Length: 1 hour. Here’s their one year episode.

 

Other podcasts I listen to on occasion:

Dear Hank and John, with the Green Brothers. It’s fun just to hear their back and forth, these two brothers who love each other and are nerdy and ruling the internet.

Gilmore Guys, mainly for the interviews with the cast members, though I got in a (minor) (not my fault) car wreck while listening to Scott Patterson’s very lengthy podcast so I think I’m subconsciously turned off by this one on some level. Also I think they could use better a) questions and b) editing.

Anna Faris is Unqualified. She had Tavi Gavinsen on and Tavi is just so interesting and thoughtful so maybe I should list all podcasts with Tavi.

Desert Island Discs, the classic British podcast asking famous people their favorite songs of all time. Fun when you care about the celebrity like the impossibly sexy Bill Nighy, not so fun when you don’t.

Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon, a British blogger I follow. She interviews people about their relationship to the internet and social media. She’s had people like Mara Wilson and Melissa Broder on and I’ll tune in for the greats.

Women of the Hour by Lena Dunham. Not currently on, but a nice 12 episodes if you want to dive back in history (2015).

 

And…whew.

That’s it folks, did you even make it here?

I love Nick Viall.

OK, just checking that you’re still here. I don’t really love Nick.

I do love Wells, though I’m concerned about his social media presence.

Really, if I’m being honest, JP Rosenbaum was my one true Bachelor Love and I’ll never get over him.

 

And now I’m really done.

Bye.

 

PS: What are your favorite podcasts? What did I miss?

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Back In The Arena

12 Sep

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Today I had a big writing rejection.

All writing rejections are big, I guess, but this one hurt particularly. I found out as I was walking out of yoga, checking back in with the real world.

I regret that the volume of submissions we receive makes it impractical for me to offer editorial feedback.

Add it to the list.

I stopped at the store for some rice and chicken. Three bright lemons and a drink to warm my insides.

I put my farmers market veggies on a tray topped with olive oil and red pepper flakes.

I finished a book.

A perfect book with not a word to change.

I made a basil sauce.

I watched Tiny House Hunters and realized I’m living in Tiny House Hunters, complete with hot plate and portable oven.

I absently wondered how many square feet my apartment is.

This rejection hurts. It sucks, and all those non-writerly words. I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish it had gone my way.

But I’m not floored.

I’m not crying or losing it all.

Politics aside, one of my favorite things about the exceptionally complicated woman we know as Hillary Clinton is that she is a fighter.

For over 20 years she has been brutally attacked for every single part of her, in the most vicious ways possible. She has faced sexism and glass ceilings, betrayal and the worst of the worst of the internet worst people.

And yet, she always comes back swinging.

In 2008, she gracefully bowed out for Barack Obama. She then served as Secretary of State.

She’s back now, facing the daunting arena again.

She is knocked down. She is wildly imperfect, as we all are. She comes back to the fight.

I wonder why I handled this one better.

Is it a year of therapy? Growing up?

Is it that I didn’t place every expectation on this one piece of work? That I only let my mind half wander down how great it could be?

I think it’s because I know I’m coming back.

Writing and I, we made a vow a few years ago. And as soon as I accepted that vow, as soon as I said no matter how many times I’m knocked down I will come back swinging– things got easier.

I know, in times like this, that I am headed back to the arena.

That makes a difference.

 

Also, I’m proud of what I wrote.

It’s been less than two hours since the rejection. The sun has set on this mild day and I’m full of good food and good words.

I have work to do all night, like the work I did all day.

My friend texted me “I think that’s what makes people successful. Ability to take failure.”

I thanked her and got back to writing.

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It Won’t Matter In A Year

29 Aug

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It started with the nightmares.

I dreamt of violence and pain, of an ex-boyfriend showing up and ruining the good parts of my life.

My mother says it takes time for her dreams to catch up to her reality. When she moved to Kentucky it wasn’t until three years in that she actually dreamt in the Bluegrass State.

By this standard that ex-boyfriend should be long gone.

I’m learning, though, that there are certain hurts that we work through to the best of our abilities. We seek help, we find healthy relationships and keep going, but those wounds are there, under the surface.

I do not know for how long.

Some time in the tumultuous night I turned off my alarm. When I woke up I had five minutes to get ready for an important meeting an hour and a half away.

I threw on my dress from the day before, smeared sunblock on my face, and squashed a banana in my purse.  As I locked the door behind me I had a sinking feeling.

I had left my keys inside.

No, no, no, no.

Fifteen “there are no available Ubers in your area right now” later I gave an apologetic call to my meeting and I walked to the closest bus stop.

Urine.  It smelled like I was sitting on a pile of urine.

I probably was.

I took the bus and then an Uber. I got my extra key from Rob’s work, a nice place in Century City, oh about a lifetime away from me.

I treated myself to an iced tea that really sucked.  I tried to eat a now-black banana and gave up almost immediately.

And then another Uber home, this time with my phone dead in my hands.

I read once that you shouldn’t get caught up in things that won’t matter a year from now. Life is full of little petty annoyances, three hours and a missed meeting out of your day, $48.03 you would have rather put towards chili cheese fries or at least your credit card bill.

I know people who are suffering from life-altering physical pain. I know people who are getting divorced, who are aching and changing and bleeding in the biggest ways.

My stupid three hours for my stupid mistake was stupid.

I got home and put my nightgown back on.  I poured my tiny princess self a glass of cold water and watched Drake’s VMA speech again.

I prayed that Rihanna would accept him, perhaps in a few years when she’s more mature. That she’ll realize that all you really want in life is a man who will put on a tux and embarrass himself in front of the whole world for you.

I got choked up when Drake did.

She’s someone…she’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. 

Who can blame either of them?

This stupid morning won’t matter in a year from now and I know that. And so I type it out, letting the stupid poison bleed into my stupid keyboard instead of my stupid heart.

I stop calling myself stupid.

I wish I had meditated last night. I wish I hadn’t dated an asshole who treated my heart like a Jell-O trampoline for his steel-toed boots. I wish I had grabbed my keys on the way out the door.

I wish, I wish, I wish.

 

It won’t matter in a year.

I remind myself it won’t matter in a year.

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Cape Cod Year Four

22 Aug

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The days blurred together on the Cape, one stifling afternoon after another. We walked through soup air, dripping sweat on our coverups. It’s so hot we said, our brains gone dead with the temperature.

The bay was cooler, with a breeze.  We set our chairs out by the water, letting our toes dip into the bathtub before us. The water’s so warm, we said, our brains gone dad with the temperature.

My hair found snarls, knotting and twisting, revealing my insides like I always knew it did.

Clumps and chunks and curls I pulled out to no avail. The next day it was back to the same.

Back to me.

I noticed every picture I took was a copy of the last. Command C. Command P. We went one place and one place only.

We went to the water.

There weren’t long rainy days in town, slow afternoons exploring the bookstore or eating fried fish. There weren’t day trips and gallery walks, plays and movies and vintage teapots like in years past.

The days were the same.

The heat turned everything to mush, including time.

Hank Green said Gilmore Girls taught him that your great ambition in life can be your life.

I wrote it down as soon as he said it, because he had put to words something I never had.

Your great ambition in life can be your life.

Gilmore Girls was about the minutia, but the minutia mattered. Where Rory went to school mattered, what Lorelai’s inn was like mattered.

The minutia can be your life.

Is your life.

We had big breakfasts, potatoes and butter, bacon and cranberry juice.

We piled our coolers full of drinks and treats. The best that the corner store could buy.

We took ladder golf and bocce, high-backed chairs and umbrellas. We spoke to neighbors, and took beach walks. We stayed in the water until it turned slate and the sky finished its last streak of light.

We walked back home in the dark to a kitchen full of food, to a homemade basil sauce and grilled tomatoes, fluffy white rice and marinated chicken.

We listened to themed music and watched the Olympics. Cuddled and talked and had ice cream sometimes and ice cream cake other times.

It was routine and small and boring and mushy and Command P again and again.

And again.

 

We did it with our greatest ambition.

 

 

Cape Cod Year 1 (and Martha’s Vineyard), Year 2, Year 3, and my love affair with it in general

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Jillian Denning: By the Book

21 Aug

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Based on the recent interview with Amy Schumer

What books are currently on your nightstand?

According to the LA County Library app I currently have 21 books out of the library with 6 on hold. Of those, I’m curious about the poetry and essays of So Sad Today, by the Twitter vixen Melissa Broder.  My friend who never gets it wrong recommended Truth and Beauty and Girl Meets God. And then there’s Valley of the Dolls. I have a feeling now is the right time for me and Valley of the Dolls since it seems like the type of book I would have read and fell into a melancholia/feminist rage at just years ago and can now approach as a rational human being.

I expect to pull myself out of the melancholia/feminist rage in three months minimum.

 

Which writers—novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets—working today do you admire most?

Nick Hornby, obviously. Warsan Shire. (When Lemonade came out and suddenly everyone was about Warsan I was childishly like BUT ME FIRST, PLEASE PROVE YOUR CREDENTIALS I HAVE SEVERAL.) Elena Ferrante is also on there, mainly due to the mystique and I really need someone to talk to about her hello is it you.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?

In the last two years I’ve become a way bigger nonfiction/memoir person. I credit Anne Lamott with that, but in general I’m a fiction girl, usually adult, sometimes young adult. I avoid: dystopian YA with the same female lead I’ve read 40 billion times who has exactly one personality trait, anything that begins with a sentence like “Elascador bowed before his king, the sword of Roandresibe by his side” and 50 Shades of Grey.

 

What’s your favorite self-help book?

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up hello it’s me.

 

 

I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.

 

How and when do you read/ electronic or paper/ bath or bed?

For a brief period in London I used a Kindle as it was easier than carrying a book with me everywhere, but I really hated it. I read All the Light We Cannot See on a Kindle and I think it ruined the experience for me because I just didn’t love it as much as everyone else and there was a weird page turning/date thing.

I do not have a bathtub but I fancy myself a bath reader.

Truly I just read in bed like I do everything in my life.

It’s a comfortable bed, though.

 

How do you organize your books?

I used to organize them using the “shove in communal bookshelves wherever they fit” method but now that I have my own place I’m thinking about this seriously. Color is trendy, pretty and impractical–many things I enjoy.

Maybe I’ll figure out the Dewey Decimal system for fun on a long Wednesday evening and then explain it to you all in depth.

Most likely I’ll do author all boring like.

 

What do you like to read on the plane?

I just bring whatever book I’m reading at the moment. I want to be into magazines, but I truly only buy them if Stevie Nicks is on the cover.

I will Google articles if Bachelor stars are involved.

Would you like to hear more about my article reading habits yes or no?

 

What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

Three copies of The Corrections by Jonathon Franzen. One because I’ve never read it and two because Franzen is the ultimate douche writer whom my entire Twitter feed hates, though is apparently great?

 

What’s your favorite book by a comedian?

It’s got to be a Nora. Maybe I Feel Bad about My Neck?

What’s the last book that made you laugh out loud?

I just read Diary of a Wimpy Kid for the first time and there were lots of laughs there and not just because Rob looks a bit like the lead on the cover. Oh! And The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian! Read it now!! If I only do one thing for your life!

 

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

A blog reader turned friend Bailey told me to read Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott and that really kickstarted a huge era of my life that now leads to me liking and sharing each individual Instagram post Anne deigns to give us unworthy mortals.

Tell us your favorite TV, film, or theater adaptation of a book.

Bridget Jones was a wonderful film and I think that book is truly perfect do not change a word perfect so this is a big statement.

Lord of the Rings surely surpassed the books as I’ve never finished them.

 

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

I was a voracious reader. I would max out my library card and sit with a stack of books next to me on a Sunday afternoon. I played librarian.  I was grounded from books at several points.

Once, in a fit of mania, I printed off a divorce decree and used a quill pen to fill it out for Alana of Trebond after she chose the wrong man in the Lioness Quartet. “I married the wrong man, I was always in love with someone else,” I wrote, in my earnest handwriting.

Narnia, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and Ender’s Game were all wildly influential to my childhood and my current self.

Scarlett O’Hara made me the selfish, determined drama queen I am today.

I lived for Sweet Valley.

 

If you could be friends with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?

Nora Ephron. I want her dinner parties and her wisdom and her food and her dinner parties and her wisdom and her food and wait what.

 

Disappointed, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

I finally read Ballet Shoes, of You’ve Got Mail fame and it was only OK for me.

I was devastated by this. I mean, clearly it meant something to Nora. Clearly I should have named my future daughter Posy.

I wonder if this is an age thing, like those people who go to Disneyland for the first time as adults and then find it only OK?

I started a book about Rosaline following Romeo and Juliet, recommended by a Twitter librarian I’m all about and had to return it to the library before I finished. It was a bit of a relief.

 

Whom would you want to write your life story?

Myself obviously.  If that were impossible, I would like Hilary and Rob to collaborate with notes from the following:

 

Mariah Carey lyrics

Mother

My wannabe Sylvia Plath poetry

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Self-Forgiveness

18 Jul

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Sitting down and writing every day, being creative, is not about discipline it’s about self-forgiveness.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert said this, or something like it, in her podcast episode with Brene Brown.  It was an important statement, but not the crux of the conversation. A little chocolate nugget sandwiched in to the roast beef and red potatoes.

It’s about self-forgiveness.

As soon as I told this to my writer friends they nodded so hard their heads hurt.  YES they said.

My friend texted me later to tell me during her daily free write she listed all the ways she forgave herself.

“For everything?”

“I didn’t have time for that,” she said.  “Just for the writing things.”

It’s hard to write every day.  I don’t say this in a boohoo poor me way, just in the way that it’s hard to exercise every day.  It takes energy and work.  It’s always easier to eat a sleeve of Nutter Butters and watch Felicity.

I punish myself when I don’t do it. I get upset that I’m simply not disciplined enough, not better.  If I were better I would find the time to do it every single day.  If it was really that important to me, I would be vigilant, dedicated, an army general writer person with 10 more books to my name.

I am a loser.

I am failing.

Self-forgiveness.

Does it all come back to that?  Being kind to your body, eating healthier or exercising more comes down to self-forgiveness.  I’ve berated myself for failing at exercise or diet plans, felt like a fraud and a lazy loser, told myself if I just had the discipline then I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

It never worked.

What does work? Radical self-love.

Forgiveness for the days I don’t walk more than a few steps.  Forgiveness for the times I should have had a vegetable but ate a stale bag of pita chips instead.

I’m never getting myself to yoga if I don’t forgive myself for all the times I didn’t go to yoga.

Something like that.

And so today as I sit in my faux-silk nightgown and drink my flat Diet Coke and celebrate the first day I’ve been able to really write in so, so long, I say to myself.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for the days you didn’t have time to write.  I forgive you for the days that you did but you chose Nutter Butters and Felicity.  I forgive you for the crappy stuff you wrote last time and for the crappy stuff you will write today.  I forgive you for not being as good as you want to be.  I forgive you for your unrealistic expectations about how good your writing should be.

I forgive you for the shoulds.

I forgive you for it all.

I forgive you.

Now go write already.

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At that Moment Everything Was Truth

17 Jul

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There’s an episode of Girls this season where Marnie runs into her ex, Charlie.  Once upon a time Marnie and Charlie were in love, they were together, they were family.  Now Charlie is sitting by the side of the street and Marnie is wearing her sweatpants and it takes them a moment to recognize each other.

What follows is a beautiful sequence in truth and love and the things we let ourselves believe.

Marnie and Charlie spend the night in suspended reality.  Marnie at one point tells Charlie that she wrote half her album about him.  The tension is thick.  They have history.  They love each other.

They love each other?

They get back to Charlie’s apartment.  He has a trash bag over his window, a tattoo on his chest that says something about being “humble” and a false accent as part of his gig as a drug dealer.  Charlie is not what Marnie wants.

Marnie is married.

They talk.  “What am I going to do about you?” Marnie asks.  Charlie suggests they run away the next day.  That they move somewhere and start a general store, somewhere that has a general store.  Marnie smiles, Charlie smiles.  “You were my family,” she says.  He remembers her uncles names, the particulars of her life.

It’s intoxicating.

In the morning Charlie lies to Marnie about his drug use.  It’s the wake up call from the fugue state they’ve been in.  That night wasn’t real.  Well it was real, and the things they were saying were coming from deep places of hurt and loss and sadness and loneliness.  But it also wasn’t real.

It reminds me of a Brothers Karamazov quote a friend sent me years ago.  She’s the type of friend who signs her emails, “light” like I’ve just started signing mine “best.”

 

“That’s why I loved you, for your magnanimous heart!” escaped suddenly from Katya.  “and you do not need my forgiveness, nor I yours; it’s all the same whether you forgive or not, all my life you will remain a wound in my soul, and I in yours – that’s how it should be…,” she stopped to catch her breath. 

“Why have I come?” she began again, frenziedly and hastily.  “To embrace your feet, to squeeze your hands, like this, till it hurts – remember how I used to squeeze your hands, like this, till it hurts – remember how I used to squeeze them in Moscow? – to say to you that you are my God, my joy, to tell you that I love you madly.”  She nearly groaned from suffering, and suddenly, greedily pressed her lips to his hand.  Tears streamed from her eyes. 

Alyosha stood speechless and embarrassed; he had never expected to see what he was seeing.

“Love is gone Mitya!” Katya began again, “but what is gone is painfully dear to me.  Know that, for all eternity.  But now, for one minute, let it be as it might have been, “ she prattled with a twisted smile, again looking joyfully into his eyes.  “ you now love another, I love another, but still I shall love you eternally, and you me, did you know that?  Love me, do you hear, love me all your life!” she exclaimed with some sort of almost threatening tremor in her voice. 

“I shall love you, and you know, Katya,” Mitya also began to speak catching his breath at each word, “five days ago, that evening, you know, I loved you…when you collapsed, and they carried you out…all my life! It will be so, eternally so…”

Thus they prattled to each other, and their talk was frantic, almost senseless, and perhaps also not even truthful, but at that moment everything was truth, and they both utterly believed what they were saying. 

 

Yes.

Their talk was frantic, almost senseless, and perhaps also not even truthful, but at that moment everything was truth, and they both utterly believed what they were saying.

 

I’ve had a night like this, once, in my own upon a time.  The type of night that sticks with you because it was surreal and yet boundlessly important.  Because you made big decisions without thought and went back on them in the morning. Because it was truth and it was not truth.

 

Lena Dunham doesn’t always get it, but when she does, she’s freaking Dostoyevsky.

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107 Roommates You’ll Have In Your Twenties – Part 2

6 Jul

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Part 1 HERE

This was also written with Hilary.  She and I have both been many of these roommates, just so we’re clear.

 

26. The roommate who is like, “You know what would be fun?  Keying my ex’s car.”

27. The roommate starting her own beauty business who pressures you to invest

28. The one upper roommate

29. The roommate with the wild stinky feet

30. The roommate with the wild stinky stink

31. The roommate you never want to speak to

32. The roommate who uses a lot of toilet paper

33. The never tells you your crack is showing but will bring it up a year later in front of all your friends roommate

34. The roommate you plan your life around so you aren’t in the kitchen at the same time

34b. The roommate who never leaves the kitchen so you’re forced to eat the whole pint of ice cream now to avoid an awkward run in.

35. The roommate who buys a lock for their door

36.  The roommate who marks the milk to see who is drinking it

37. The “let’s sit down and have a roommate meeting about who is buying paper towels” roommate

38. The “I have a spreadsheet of expenses and you should buy more paper towels” roommate

39. The paints an “om” symbol on her door roommate

40. The roommate who makes you pay for everything, but will “get you next time”

41. The homesick roommate

42. The heartsick roommate

43. The long-distance relationship who Skypes in the common area roommate

44. The roommate who doesn’t leave her pajamas

45. The constantly compliments your skin as further efforts to get you to invest in her beauty business roommate

46. The roommate who complains loudly about society’s standards for her body

47. The naked roommate

48. The strong perfume roommate

49.  The roommate obsessed with a show you’ll never watch but refuses to stop talking to you about it. (Years later you’ll watch Lost, but you will not tell her out of spite.)

50. The socially awkward roommate who wants to go on field trips to the grocery store together

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The Holiness In Peeling Potatoes

28 Jun

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I volunteer at the library several times a month.

It’s one of my favorite parts of my week, something I look forward to along with Thursday yin yoga and Monday date days.

There’s something in the routine, in the things you can count on to bring you joy.

Last week my regular supervisor was out of town and so I was given the task of shelf reading.  Shelf reading, for those of you who don’t know, is going through the books and making sure everything is in alphabetical order.  Certain sections, like the children’s section, tend to get out of place and so periodically someone goes in and organizes them.

Shelf reading.

The woman who assigned me the task told me that she can only shelf read for about a half hour before she needs a break.

I nodded and started on the YA FICTION As.

I went through books I had read and books I wanted to read.  I pulled titles off the shelf every once in awhile to glance through the pages.  I noticed the pretty covers, the ones that seemed like me, the ones I would never read.

A half hour passed quickly.

The other task they had for me couldn’t be completed that day and so I went back to my shelf and back to alphabetizing.

The books were mainly in place, I moved probably less than 10, but I dutifully went through every author and then every author’s set of works.

FA, FE, FL

An hour hit.

I was losing steam.

I needed a break, I needed to not be squatting, pulling my dress down over my knees to reach the lower shelves.  I was fading. Fast.

I got a drink of water and remembered something Elizabeth Gilbert said in her podcast.  She talked abot the joy of peeling potatoes, the meditation in the mundane.  How when she lived in India she scrubbed floors and what that can mean for your psche.  When you get to a place where you find holiness in the scrubbing.

I’ve never before found joy in peeling the metaphorical potatoes.  Mundane tasks and jobs and lives drive me up a wall and my active mind soon climbs out of its playpen and into the dark, scary world.

But that day I decided to try it.

I was going to be alphabetizing for the next hour no matter what I did, so I could try to make it holy.  I could try to make it joyful.

Back to the shelves I went.

HA, HE, HI

The Clique series, why hadn’t I read it?

Shannon Hale. Oh gosh I met her and loved her.

She lives in my hometown, you know.

My body started to calm.  Setting those limits, knowing you have to face a task somehow makes it more manageable.  It’s the unknown, the expectation that you could finish any moment that makes it harder.

GA, GE, GR

GR – A, GR – E, GR – I

When I finished my time I marked my progress on a sheet of paper.  People commented on how much shelf reading I did, practically the entire YA section.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” I said.

And it wasn’t.

I’m reading a YA book right now that subscribes to the YA book mentality that in order to really live and seize life, one must ditch out on responsibilities, find the craziest adventures and do them this very minute, live in an unrestrained way.

And I get this, on some level.

It’s a juvenile way of thinking.  We have to have jobs.  There’s the practicality aspect.

But I get this.

One of the reasons I love Rob is that he would drop everything and drive three hours to get a really good piece of pizza with me just because.  Just because it was really good.

I tried to explain this concept to a guy I once dated, the drop everything for a pizza thing, but he wasn’t a romantic.  He didn’t understand it.  “There’s pizza here,” he said.

So I do get this.

But then I also think this mentality misses the point.  So often in life we are stuck shelf reading, peeling the potatoes, doing mundane work.  If we can make that work holy and worthwhile and joyful-

That is what it means to live life the fullest.

Sure, backyard rollercoasters and skipping AP Physics and jumping into lakes at midnight is fun.

But it’s easy to find the joy there.

It’s much harder to find the holiness in peeling potatoes.

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