So I Moved

So, I moved. I left New York. You might have realized from Georgette’s super nice goodbye post, or you may not have, because you don’t really care about my life. Totally understandable.

This is me and a friend on moving day. We like wearing white shirts that much our teethy smiles.

This is me and a friend on moving day. We like wearing white shirts that much our teethy smiles.

I was going to write a “goodbye to new york” post, about staying and leaving, tall buildings, good friends, bad winters, etc. I tried, I really did. But I just can’t do it. Maybe I’m not ready to say goodbye to New York, but mostly, I think I’m not ready to say goodbye to anywhere. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. (Even after college! Weren’t they supposed to teach me that? Shall I sue?) Continue reading

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It’s Winter, But We Can Deal

Look how optimistic that title is. I’m trying to be a little more optimistic. Just a little. Like when people ask me, how are you? I’m trying to say fine like a normal person and not always say terrible. I’m trying to eat more vegetables. Smile at strangers. Whistle. It’s not really working out.

Anyway, so this is supposed to be about winter. It’s freezing out. It’s snowing, it’s icy, it’s cold. It may make you want to die, particularly when you wake up and have to get dressed and go to work. Have no fear! There may be some good things about winter after all. Here they are:

  1. Sports

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There are some good winter sports. I just started working at a ski resort, which is fun, but you can also go sledding and sliding on the sidewalk on your way to work. Also, falling on ice always makes your day more exciting/memorable/painful. Continue reading

Teach Me To Write

If only writing was easy to learn, like math.

If only writing was easy to learn, like math.

I’m an English major. I do a lot of reading and a lot of writing, and a lot of complaining about reading and writing. Sometime around my sophomore year, I had to choose a concentration within my major: creative writing or literature. I want to be a writer, not a professor or academic, so I chose creative writing. The choice was obvious.

As the classes, semesters, and years went by, it became less and less obvious. One fall, when choosing what classes to take the next semester, I had a conversation with a friend, also a creative writing major, about this. We both were out of literature credits (all English majors had to take a couple) and were faced Continue reading

5 Things to Write About Today

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Pooh is brainstorming.

I never know what to write about. Somehow, there are simultaneously too many and not enough topics. So I go to books—I had to read Old Friend From Far Away by Natalie Goldberg once for class, and I’ve found that helpful for memoir or personal essayish things. I also sometimes just let myself react to things people have said to me, or things in the news, or things I can see without getting up from my desk.

Water bottle. Stack of books. Pile of laundry I have to fold. (So those times I usually end with me just doing laundry, not writing. Which is actually fine, because laundry is usually more urgent anyway.)

But for those of you who aren’t in school, or don’t read books (you should read books) or don’t want to end up dong laundry, here’s a list of five things to write about. Feel free to add your own favorite topics or prompts in the comments.

  1. Your dog. If you don’t have a dog, write about someone else’s dog. This probably won’t work if you’re a cat person, in which case, move on to number 2. (Do not write about your cat. It is evil and deserves no contemplation.)
  1. Your family. It’s hard at first, because you might not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But tell yourself that no one has to read something just because you write it, and after it’s done you can always just hit delete and never look at it again. Plus, if its brilliant enough, it might be worth losing your spot at Thanksgiving.
  1. A conversation you’ve heard on the street. Don’t act like you don’t eavesdrop. You have heard a strange snippet of conversation as two people walk past you. Did it leave you intrigued? My most recent experience of this was,

“But, like, she didn’t say no one likes square dancing.” (Is it really something you have to say?)

  1. Someone you hate. This might be easiest—we don’t care about hurting their feelings, we have tons of reasons, and no one wants to listen to it unless it’s well written and funny. So make it well written and funny, and tell me us you hate them.
  1. An old story. Take something you like—whether it’s Cinderella or Slumbdog Millionaire, and remake it. Change it, play with it, make it your own. It’s not stealing, it’s flattery. Right?

Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be brilliant!*

*This is a pointless compliment designed to give you confidence at the beginning of your writing process. You might be dumbest person alive for all I know.

Poor Writers Recommendations: Memoirs

I always take my coffee with sugar and a huge leaf.

I always take my coffee with sugar and a huge leaf.

*Disclaimer: this list is completely based on what I read recently and/or am staring at in my bookshelf. It is in no way ranked in order and some of my favorite books and authors have been left out for no good reason at all. Maybe they’ll make it next time if the prices of their readings go down. (I’m looking at you, David Sedaris.)

I decided to make a list of some memoir books I like, mostly because my fellow poor writers gave me the idea and I couldn’t think of anything better. Also, though, memoir seems like an appropriate fall genre, kind of nostalgic and academic and orange. Or at least, that’s my spin. Continue reading

Five Thoughts on Binge-Watching

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Welcome to my stream-of-consciousness-rant-list-ponderance. I can’t think in clear, complete sentences because my brain has been ruined by, you guessed it, one too many episodes of American Horror Story. Here are some thoughts on Netflix.

One, it’s an intriguing culturalish thing. Everybody loves TV and now, all the sudden kind of, it has been released upon us in the easiest form yet. Hit the button get the zoned-out TV feeling. We’re all doomed. Continue reading

Writer’s Anxiety

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Lately I’ve become one of those terrible people who constantly jiggle their foot. I cause mini-earthquakes in class, on the train, eating dinner in my living room. Its like my internal flaws have become so large and neglected they feel the need to make their presence known externally, to shout to the world: this person is not put together! She is not calm or collected, not confident or prepared. She is, like the foot she is shaking, possibly about to lose control.

In other words, I’ve been anxious. I have anxiety about lots of things, from the color of my fingernails to my inevitable death. I’ve always had it in a small way, as I think most normal, functioning humans do. I think anxiety comes with whatever the opposite of apathy is, care or passion or just trying to do things. Doing stuff causes anxiety, and I’m fine with that. I’d rather create something I’m nervous about than not creating anything at all. I guess.

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Also: writing. It seems very connected to my jiggling foot. I think writing is a very anxiety producing art, or hobby, or profession. Throwing out your thoughts for people to judge. Most harshly, yourself. I’m anxious I’ll never write what I hope to. I’m anxious when I don’t write. I’m anxious when I write badly. When I get negative feedback, I doubt myself. When I get positive feedback, I wonder if this is the best I ever will be, if I’ll ever live up to my potential, if I’ll die without ever having—you get it. I spiral.

Eventually I decide not to care. It helps the anxiety but not the writing. Of course, writing isn’t the only thing I, or any writer, gets anxious about. There’s all of life waiting for you off the page, all those other people and places and job interviews to worry about. Sigh.

But writing can help with that, when I realize that no one cares but me. And when I try to keep caring, but in a steady way that lets myself suck sometimes, and do a good job at others. It’s helped me to write stupid things, dumb letters to my friends or fake stories for my little cousins. To tell myself that there will never be a final moment, a single masterpiece, and that I will just have to keep going, living and writing, slowly and with a light tapping of my foot.

 

The September Slump: Here are some videos that will either inspire you or help you procrastinate

I always suck at doing things this time of year. Well, most times of year, but this time in particular. So I decided to sit back and let some other people do this post for me. Here are some videos which will either inspire you to do things, or help you procrastinate and not do those things. It’s your choice.

Kid President

Do I hear 2016? This kid makes me want to shoot for the moon. (And, of course, dance.)

Continue reading

Scarecrows, Pumpkins, Existential Anxiety

 

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Don’t look! Impending doom!


Fall’s here. Ok, not officially. Officially, fall’s here next Monday, but I don’t buy that. I feel the crispness, my hair has finally de-frizzed, I see the pumpkins in the windows of all of everything. Fall, poor writers, is here.

That’s fine. I like sweaters and pumpkins. I like that I can feel cozy for the first time in about five months. Tea. The color orange. These things are nice. But around this time of year, the fallish time, I get a weird feeling. I think fall is the most nostalgic of seasons. You miss summer. You miss schooldays. You miss your mom packing lunch and the little paper leaves teachers tacked up to bulletin boards. Continue reading

Are you all lying or am I just dumb?

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The other day us poor writers were sitting around, eating crepes and grumbling about things–one of the things was namedropping. A lot of people (writers, I’m looking at you) namedrop writers and books that they don’t really like or haven’t really read, just to sound literary and intelligent. We all had different examples of friends with Facebook books-that-changed-my-life lists that were utterly unbelievable.

Grumble, grumble, Nutella, grumble. That’s usually how our meetings go.

Continue reading