Haircut Regret

My entire life I have coveted long, luxurious hair.

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Maybe it’s because of my childhood obsession with Barbie dolls, or maybe it’s the steady diet of Saved By The Bell I consumed as a kid, but for whatever reason, I grew up thinking  that shiny, cascading locks were the consummate and only ideal of female beauty.

Unfortunately for me, my impossibly thin, pin-straight hair refused to achieve great lengths. I blame bad genes. And the two unfortunate “perm incidents” I had in grade three.

This llama knows

No matter how hard I tried to let it grow, I could never achieve anything beyond shoulder-length.

….Until I got to law school. I’m not sure what changed, but after more than 20 years of feeble growth and breakage, my puny hair suddenly began to grow like a weed. By second year, it was halfway down my back. What can I say? I guess a steady diet of Alexander Keith’s and 3 a.m. donairs does a body good.

I felt like a whole new person with my long hair, and for almost two years I reveled in its glory. But then, I went and ruined it all.

For Halloween in third year, I decided to dress up as Snow White. I had a hairdresser pin my long locks up into a bob to complete the look, and the results were, in a word, spectacular.

You guy- I was the fricking FAIREST.

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So true was the likeness that random people came up to me and suggested I apply for a job at DisneyWorld.

I was so in love with the attention I was getting that I started to think that maybe a REAL bob would be a good idea.

And that’s where I should have pumped the brakes.

But I didn’t. Instead, I made an appointment the very next day with the same hairdresser, and allowed her to chop off of my long beautiful hair. I was convinced I would love it- that when I looked in the mirror I’d see Snow White and her glossy black mane staring back at me.  But instead, when she turned around my chair, I was like:

Not only had she cut it about 2-3 inches shorter than I intended, without all that extra hair pinned up underneath, it just looked flat, puny and lifeless. It was actually so thin that you could see through it.

I immediately started to cry (apparently crying in salons is a thing for me), while the poor hairdresser tried to convince me it looked great.

But I knew in my heart that it didn’t. I mean, you know a haircut is bad when NO ONE compliments you on it. And it’s not like they didn’t notice. I cut 8 inches off! 8!

Even when I asked my mom what she thought, her mouth said “it looks great!”  but her eyes said:

My self-confidence plummeted, and I’ve been trying desperately to grow it back ever since, while at the same time dealing with the  awkward in-between stages that follow a short haircut. I’ve tried everything- vitamins, special oils, prayers to Saint Agnes, the Patron Saint of all hair.

I even tried gluing hair on a vodoo doll. (I think I might have been doing it wrong.)

I was beginning to fear that I was destined to spend the rest of my days looking like the sad, “before” girl in Pantene Pro-V commercials:

But just a few months ago, it miraculously started to grow again.  I guess Agnes must have snuck into my room while I was sleeping and sprinkled some chia seeds on that noise.

Anyway, I won’t question it- but I know that the next time I get the ridiculous urge to cut my hair, I’ll remember one thing:

Question of the Day: Have you ever regretted a haircut?

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So, How You Comin’ On That Novel?

You may recall that back at the beginning of May, I announced that I was planning to write a novel in 30 days.

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Well, since no one asked it’s the official halfway point, I figured I’d give a little update on how it’s been going.

So far, I’ve written approximately 22,500 words. That’s roughly 45% of the 50,000 word target, or, about 1,500 words per day.

Not bad, right? Except that it’s all total and complete garbage. 

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Guys, I’m not kidding. The stench of rotten manuscript wafting from my minimized items right now is almost too much for me to handle. I call it “Eau de Broken Dreams and Misguided Aspirations”

The thing is full of plot holes, it’s totally unbelievable, and I currently have four different characters named Sergei. But that’s OK. The goal of this exercise is simply to get my words on paper- not to fuss with silly things like grammar, sentence structure and plotline.

….Right?

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I won’t lie, it’s been pretty painful so far. I kind of want to kill myself/ throw my computer out the window/ eat 10 lbs of chocolate/ run away and never come back. But like a phoenix from the ash, out of my misery rise a few key lessons to be learned from all of this. Like…..  

 Writing Fiction Is Hard

Sometimes, I feel like the entire right side of my brain has been completely inactive for the past 10 years. Sure, I use it occasionally to write blog posts, but for the most part, it just sits there, dormant, letting its domineering evil stepbrothers logic and rational thought do all the work.

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Writing a novel feels like grabbing the creative side of my brain with both hands, shaking it violently and waking it the hell up. As expected, for the first few days, ol’ righty remained slow, lethargic and low-functioning – sort of like me before I’ve had my coffee in the morning. 

But eventually it came around. Sort of. I’m still dealing with the giant hurdle of coming up with 50,000 words of original material in a ridiculously short period of time.  

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Writing Fiction Is Fun!

(Did I convince you with that exclamation point? No? I didn’t really convince myself, either.)

Once you get past the fact that novel-writing is destroying much of your will to live, there are actually a few good things. Writing can be really fun when you’re not inhibited by pesky little parameters like “truth” and “accuracy”. Plus, it’s sort of cool to live vicariously through your characters. My main character is smart, sassy, and tells people off all the time- something I wish I could do more often.  

Plus, no matter how much it sucked, I still feel like this whenever I get my daily words in:

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You’re Going to Run Out Of Ideas.. and That’s Where the Ninjas Come In

No matter how hard I tried, I still found it tough to come up with the recommended 1,667 words a day. I Googled some suggestions, and discovered something called a “Plot Ninja”.

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plot ninja is something you drop into the plot whenever you are at a loss for ideas. Traditionally, this has taken the form of actual ninjas who come crashing into the scene, disrupting things, but it can really be anything you want. My plot Ninja so far has been my main character going for drinks with her best friend. She’s pretty much an alcoholic at this point, but it’s also resulted in a few interesting scenes that never would have ended up in the plot otherwise.

When In Doubt.. Make it up

Another thing I didn’t anticipate was how much research was involved in novelling. Part of my story takes place in Russia, and the first few days, I spent hours Googling everything from typical Russian surnames to what year the Kremlin was built. Eventually, I decided to either leave what I didn’t know blank, or just make something up and go back and fix it later. Currently, the characters in my story consume only caviar, drink an excessive amount of vodka, and wear fur hats everywhere. That’s accurate, right?

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Be Prepared To Hate Your Life

Not to be a Deborah K. Downer, but I have to admit that it’s extremely mentally and physically draining to write this much every day while working full-time, trying to do blog posts, keep up with my 52 book challenge and actually maintain a social life.

…………..Yes, I realize I did this all to myself, and yes I would like some cheese with that whine.

Dawson knows
Only Dawson understands me

So to recap –  my first 15 days of Novelling: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I don’t know what comes after that.

Question of the Day: Have you ever written a novel?

…..Any tips to keep me from strangling myself with my computer cord?

P.S.  I nominated myself  was nominated for Funniest Blog in the 2013 Badass Blogging Awards! I would love you long time if you’d please take a second and go vote for me!

http://theindiechicks.com/badass-blog-awards-vote-for-your-favorite-bloggers/

badass

 

So I’m Writing a Novel.

This month, I’m going to write a novel.

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50,000 words. 30 days. Let’s do this.

Why? Because I’m a masochist. A really bored masochist.

Other reasons include:

  • I’m perpetually dissatisfied.
  • Gretchen Rubin did it in The Happiness Project.
  • I have no experience writing fiction whatsoever, and I figure this is a good place to start.
  • I like a challenge.
  • I get to brag about it and feel superior to other people.
  • Because it’s really original and no one has ever done it before.
  • Because my goal of reading 52 books in one year doesn’t keep me in my house alone enough already. (I want to make really, extra sure I die alone.)

I recognize that National Novel Writing Month (or “NaNoWriMo” as the cool kids call it) is still 6 months away, but as I always say, rules were made to be broken!

…..Actually, I never say this. I really just want all the spotlight without having to share it with any of you b*tches.

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Did I mention I’m also really bored?

I would tell you what my novel is going to be about, but it’s totally progressive and original and I don’t want anyone to steal my idea. Just kidding, I actually have no idea what it’s going to be about, except that it will be loosely based on my own life. And there might be a Russian spy element involved.

Not like this. Well, maybe like this.
Not like this. Well, maybe like this.

At the suggestion of my hetero-life model Gretchen Rubin, I picked up the book “No Plot, No Problem” by Chris Baty: an ultimate “low-stress, high -velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days”.

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The book starts by providing a number of tips and tricks to help you prepare for the launch of your novel; from time-saving techniques, to research and outlines, to how to set up the perfect workspace.

chapter 1

Since I believe goals are best achieved when they involve no structure or planning whatsoever, I chose to do none of these things. Well, except for the part where I’m supposed to tell everyone I’m writing a novel so they will hold me accountable.

Hey everyone! I’m writing a novel! Hold me accountable, k? No, really. I expect all of you to shame me and ask me “how’s that novel coming along ?” on a regular basis.

Kind of like this:

Actually, exactly like that. And then I will rate you on your Stewie impression.

The other piece of advice I took from the book was to develop my Two “Magna Cartas”.

The first Magna Carta is a list of all the things that, to you, make a good novel. This can be anything from overall themes, to character traits, to magical unicorns. The aim of this list is to show what you “know” and appreciate as a reader, and to act as a guide for what to include in your own novel.

Here is the list I came up with:

  • Humor
  • Romance
I'm a girl, what can I say
I’m a girl, what can I say
  • Serendipitous encounters
  • Short, digestible chapters
  • Quote-worthy prose
  • Plot twists (doesn’t need to be M. Night Shyamalan or anything, but I like being surprised)
  • Vulnerable characters
  • Urban settings
  • Music and/or other pop culture references
  • Animals (I’ve never read a book about pandas, but I think that might be pretty cool)

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Magna Carta II is just the opposite- a list of things that bore or depress you in a novel. These should be avoided in your story at all costs.

My list:

  • Death
  • Vampires/Unicorns/other forms of magical creatures
I blame this
I blame this
  • Stream of consciousness writing
  • Misanthropic characters
  • Overuse of a thesaurus
  • Unhappy endings
  • Long chapters

So basically, I should write an uplifting romantic comedy about pandas with multiple plot twists, easy words and short chapters.

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Sounds like a bestseller to me!

Wish me luck!

Question of the Day: What, to you, makes a good novel?

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking

Do you often let calls go through to voicemail? Enjoy one-on-one conversations as opposed to group activities? Dislike conflict? Prefer working alone rather than in a team? 

If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, then you my friend, are probably an introvert.

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The good news is, you’re not alone. According to Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, at least 1/3 of the people we know are introverts.

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Including me.

Yes- I know it  may come as a surprise, given how hilarious, effervescent and engaging  I am on my blog- but don’t let that purple wig fool you. On the inside, I’m just a scared little panda. 

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I prefer listening to talking, find it easier to express myself in writing, and to the disappointment of my throngs of friends and admirers, often prefer to stay home, read a book and be by myself on a Saturday night.

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Cain’s book explores the idea that in today’s society, introverts are chronically undervalued. By praising extroversion above almost all else, we fail to capitalize on the special and unique skills introverts possess, like focus, innovation, creativity, work ethic, thoughtfulness, and observation. 

Cain explains how over the past 100 years, Western culture has become obsessed with the idea of personality. “The Extrovert Ideal” now permeates almost everything we do: from offices designed in open concepts to inspire “Groupthink” and “brainstorming sessions”, to classrooms arranged in “pods”,  to the success of such books as “How to Win Friends and Influence People” .

If only all open concept offices had Don Draper in them.
If only all open concept offices had Don Draper in them.

Introversion has become a form of pathology – a personality trait that needs to be “fixed”. We encourage children who are introverted to “come out of their shells”, rather than focusing on what they can bring to the table. Cain points to evidence that our “extrovert ideal” can actually be harmful in business, and lobbies for change.

I decided to read this book after a friend showed me Cain’s 2012 TED Talk on the same subject. It received over 4 million YouTube hits and helped start what is now known as “The Quiet Revolution”.

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The book is exhaustively researched: Cain spent almost 7 years wading through literature and scientific studies, as well as conducting her own “field research”. She went to a Tony Robbins leadership conference, spent a week at Harvard Business School, shadowed Asian American high school students, interviewed psychologists and prominent business people, attended a retreat for the highly sensitive and observed an Evangelical Christian leadership conference. 

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I found this book fascinating, and it really resonated with me on a lot of levels. Before becoming a writer, Cain was a corporate lawyer on Wall Street, and discusses the difficulty of being an introvert in a profession dominated by big personalities. As a young lawyer, I can relate. I am constantly attending business development and networking seminars where we are encouraged to hand out business cards like Halloween candy.

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“Follow up with everyone you meet!” they say. “Introduce yourself to the Managing partner in the elevator!”. As an introvert, this can feel overwhelming. You worry you will be left behind by all of your gregarious, outgoing contemporaries who fluently speak the language of schmooze.

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Cain, however, explains how she put her skills as an introvert to work for her. By being the most prepared person in the room and using her skills of listening and observation, she became a highly successful negotiator, eventually founding her own consulting business. 

Another point Cain explored that I found interesting was the “internet paradox”: introverts are much more likely to express intimate details about themselves on the internet, to total strangers- often things their friends or family would be surprised to learn about them. 

This definitely rings true with me. As cheesy as it is to say, I feel like when I started blogging, I found my voice. It was like suddenly, my personality was more tangible to those around me. I felt understood. 

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This is overly dramatic but you catch my drift.

You should definitely read this book if you are an introvert, or have introverts in your life. (if you’re curious whether you are an introvert, you can take Cain’s quiz here) .I will say, the book can be a little heavy on the scientific mumbo jumbo- so if you don’t want to deal with all that independent/dependent variable noise, then you can always just watch the TED Talk instead.

I give it: 4.2/5 Intellectual Dachshunds 

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

Question of the Day: Are You An Introvert, or an Extrovert?

When Did Vowels Stop Being Cool?

As I was perusing my iTunes the other day, I noticed a bit of a disturbing trend.

…No, I am not referring to my extensive collection of Phil Collins albums. There is nothing weird nor disturbing about loving an 80’s singer/songwriter with the voice of an angel.

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What I’m actually talking about is the alarming number of bands who are dropping vowels from their names like one of Clooney’s girlfriends post awards season.

I mean...don't worry Stacy .I'm sure it'll be different this time around!
Don’t worry Stacy. I’m sure he’ll change for you.

MDNASeriously:

MGMT

CVRCHES

HRVRD

MSTRKRFT

Even Madonna has started going by “MDNA” recently.

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At first I assumed that vowels were just another casualty in the endless pursuit of the ultimate ironic band name (“Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr.” and “Com Truise” anyone?);but after a little research, I discovered this trend was actually part of a wider phenomenon known as “disemvowelling”.

“Disemvowelling” (besides just being a really great pun) is the art of rewriting a piece of alphabetic text with all of the vowel letters removed. According to Wikipedia, It was first developed in 2002 as a way to limit unwanted comments on internet sites. The technique would strip the vowels from offensive comments, rendering them harder to read and sending a message about appropriate conduct. Disemvowelling later went on to become a common feature of SMS text language.

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Disemvowelling has been experiencing a bit of a heyday as of late with the resurgence of minimalist branding- a form of advertising where designers strip away all the fluff and keep the only important things.

Starbucks Logo

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Sorry for making you all crave nutella.

If you live in an urban centre, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of this lately. I feel like every time I turn around there’s a new restaurant in Toronto called “MRKT” something or other which
seats about 5 people and is furnished with exposed lightbulbs and metal stools.

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But it’s not just the bougie places- even the low brow brands are getting involved:

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I have mixed feelings about all of this. On the one hand, I find it sort of gimmicky and annoying. It makes your band/restaurant/product something I never want to say out loud for fear of messing it up- like all that fancy sh*t on restaurant menus.

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Part of me also sees it as yet another erosion of the English language. Is it really necessary to sacrifice spelling and grammar at the expense of making an impact? .

Plus, all of this has the potential of putting Vanna out of a job, and quite frankly, I think we should all be a little more concerned about that.

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I was all set to write an entire post hating-on this, until I discussed it with a musician friend of mine who suggested that this trend makes sense, given that the English language itself is inherently limiting. There are a finite number of words, and ways you can say them. Creative types understand this innately, and try to supplement what can’t be said through music, art and other mediums. Creating new words or ideas by dropping vowels, adding numbers, or spelling things uniquely is just another way to stretch the boundaries of language to do something meaningful.

It’s a good theory in principle- but at the same time, I have a hard time believing that’s what N’SYNC had in mind:

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Who knows though. They were the voice of a generation.

Question of the Day: Disemvowelling: Yay or Nay?

From Wily Old Geezers To Middle Class Malaise: Other Books I Read In February

So I’d just like to start by saying THANK YOU for all of your lovely comments on my last post. I swear I wasn’t fishing for compliments (yes I was), but it’s still lovely to hear so many kind words of encouragement and to know so many of you can relate.

Now, onto business. In keeping with my goal of reading 52 books in 2013, I read four books in February. A slight decrease from the 5 I read in January, but in my defense, it was a short month, and two of them were over 500 pages (I know. That SHOULD be illegal). I already reviewed Ham on Rye here, but below are my thoughts on the remaining three.

1. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared

No, this is not what happened following Clint Eastwood’s latest speaking engagement… but good guess. It’s actually the title of this lovely little book by Jonas Jonasson:

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The 100-Year-Old-Man tells the story of Allan Karlsson, a Swedish octogenarian who, on his 100th birthday, climbs out the window of his nursing home with nothing but a pair of flimsy old slippers and a strong hankering for Vodka, and decides to start over.

You had me at “vodka”.

A series of hilarious and entirely unpredictable adventures ensue involving a stolen suitcase full of cash, an organized crime ring, unlikely friendships, and (what else) an elephant. What makes the plot even more interesting is that throughout the book, we learn that Allan is not your average centenarian. A munitions expert by trade, Alan somehow had a hand in everything from inventing the atomic bomb to saving General Franco’s life. He’s basically like the really old, Swedish Forrest Gump.

Except way, way older
Except way, way older

This book was silly, ridiculous, and I kind of loved it. I’m not going to say it was perfect- parts of the plot were downright unbelievable, and most of the characters were incredibly unrealistic, but I tried to tell myself this was all just part of its charm.

I think it would make a good Hollywood screwball comedy film, like a Hangover or Bounty Hunter type situation. Preferably one that would involve Gerard Butler wearing no shirt and massacring a Swedish accent.

Gerard Butler stars in Law Abiding Citizen.

Plus, it’s nice to see a lighter side to the Swedes after all that Girl With the Dragon Tattoo business.

For that, I give it 3.9 intellectual Dachshunds.

Too lazy to make this entirely accurate.
Too lazy to make this entirely accurate.

2. I Found This Funny by Judd Apatow

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From famed Hollywood writer, producer and director Judd Apatow (Pineapple Express, Girls, The 40-Year-Old- Virgin) comes this collection of his favorite humor pieces: from short stories, to poems, to illustrations; even a failed TV pilot written by Conan O’Brien.

Apatow explains in the prologue that after the commercial flops of his first two TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, he decided to take a year off from writing and just focus on reading.

freaks

He started with short stories, because that’s all he had the attention span for, and grew from there.

His career took off exponentially after that, and he attributes a lot of his success in his writing to that year he spent reading. I found that really cool, and something I could sort of relate to given this whole 52 book thing I’m doing.

I should warn you, though, that a fair number of these pieces are not funny at all. He admits this right at the outset – some are sad, poignant, or just plain confusing.. but if you’re open to it, these ones are cool too. The collection includes pieces by such famous writers as David Sedaris, Jonathan Franzen and Dave Eggers, but I think one of my favourites was a story by Paul Feig (co-creator of Freaks and Geeks) about his attempts at announcing his high school football games, despite knowing nothing at all about football.

This is a great coffee table (or, lets be honest, bathroom) book: one that you can pick up every now and again and read a piece from.

I give it: 3.7 intellectual daschunds.

Too lazy to make this entirely accurate.

3. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

I'm making a sad face because this book is fundamentally sad in nature. P.S. I got new glasses.
I’m making a sad face because this is an inherently sad book. Also, I got new glasses.

I was inspired to read this book based on a short story by Franzen in I Found This Funny. More than anything, I was struck by his vocabulary. I had to look up like 8 words in a 12 page story. It was kind of annoying, but I also like a challenge.

The Corrections centers around aging Midwestern couple Edith & Alfred, and their desire to have their three grown children, Gary, Denise & Chip, all home for one last Christmas. Enid is miserable, Alfred’s got Parkinson’s with a side of dementia, and the kids have got a whole host of issues I can’t even begin to describe here. Basically, Gary is a depressed alcoholic, Denise is a Grade A Homewrecker, and Chip is a broke screenwriter who was fired from his teaching job for “sexual harassment”.

Yeah, it’s all VERY uplifting. Did i mention it’s also like, 600 pages?

I really wanted to love this book. It received tons of critical acclaim (you might remember it from the infamous Oprah’s book club fiasco a few years back whereby Franzen basically told Oprah to go eff herself.)

They made up later. No one stays mad at Oprah.
They made up later. No one stays mad at Oprah.

And I did like parts of it. Franzen did a great job of capturing the nuances of family life and sibling relationships. However, it was also very long, slow-paced and emotionally draining.

If you’re into tangible malaise and a bunch of white people talking about their first world problems, then this book might be for you. Otherwise, stick to I Found This Funny.

I give it: 3 Intellectual Dashchunds.

3dasch

Question of the Day: What Book Are You Currently Reading/Have Read Recently?

Overcoming Self-Doubt – Without the Golden Globe

I’m really into Podcasts lately. They’re kind of my new thing.

podcast

I’ve been listening to This American Life or NPR on my way to work in the mornings, and it has completely revolutionized my entire subway experience. Sure, I look a little crazy laughing to myself in the middle of a jam-packed train,  but I try not to let the awkward stares get me down.

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Anyway, in my quest to expand my Podcast horizons, I recently stumbled across one called “I Should Be Writing” for wannabe fiction writers. It’s hosted by writer Mur Lafferty, and every week focuses on a different topic relating to writing. A lot of them don’t apply to me, since I’m really more of a corporate droid than an aspiring novelist, but the topic she spoke about the other day was one I could definitely relate to: Self-esteem… or lack thereof. 

During the podcast, Lafferty remarked that she never checks her stats or followers online, because she has low self-esteem and that noise would drive her completely batsh*t cray-cray. She’d end up obsessively checking how many people subscribed to each podcast and overanalyzing every lost twitter follower.

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At the same time, however, she acknowledged that you can’t hide from criticism forever. The bigger you get, the more you’re going to be talked about- and not always in a good way.”Go and check Amazon.” she said, “Even Shakespeare has bad reviews”.

The key is not to let this completely destroy your self-esteem and paralyze you from continuing to write. You have to take in what’s constructive, tune out what’s not, and keep on writing.

Incidentally, later that day I also read the chapter in my book, The Happiness Project where author Gretchen Rubin decides to start her own blog.

happiness

She almost talked her self out of it on numerous occasions due to self-doubt and insecurity, but in the end, she promised herself she would always “Be Gretchen”. Of course, it went on to become one of the most popular blogs on the internet.

Not to be cliché, but I sort of feel like these two ladies came into my life at exactly the right moment. You may have noticed (psych, no one besides Ben noticed) my rather long blogging hiatus back in February. While I would like to say this was as a result of work stress, crazy partying, or being abducted by sex aliens named Ryan Gosling, the truth is, it wasn’t.

I was sitting on my couch, reading my books and watching Real Housewives, stroking my self-doubt like the kitten I don’t have.

selfdoubt
Me

I had plenty of time and opportunity to write; but for some reason, I just couldn’t.

I worried that everything I wanted to say was irrelevant, off-topic; unfunny, or uninteresting. Were people getting tired of my book reviews? Should I be posting more about my personal life? Less about personal life? More pictures of animals doing people things? (BTW, the answer to that question is always yes)

animal

I lost count of how many things I posted on twitter and instagram and then immediately deleted. Why would anyone care about my lamentations on oatmeal and elevators? Or that pic of the three foot chocolate egg at my grocery store I thought was hilarious:

I mean.. it is kind of hilarious
I mean.. it is kind of hilarious

 Unfortunately, unlike Anne Hathaway, I don’t have a Golden Globe to perpetually guard against self-doubt.

annegif

I”ve tried snuggling my Liebster blog award at night, but it’s just not the same. It feels all angular. And German.

liebster

So I let that shame and insecurity win. I let it travel all the way down to the tips of my fingers and paralyze them.

I was a sad blogger.

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But I’ve decided that enough is enough. Bluntly put,  I need to just give less of a f*ck. I need to write more, more often, and care less about what people think. Otherwise, I’ll never fulfill my dreams of becoming Seth Meyers/David Sedaris/Mindy Kaling/Lena Dunham/Carl Kasell. (Ok, that last one isn’t even a writer.. I just love his voice SO DAMN MUCH).

carl

Lena Dunham doesn’t G.A.F. how many people see her peeing, having sex, or wearing mesh shirts with no bra on TV, and look where it’s gotten her!

lenad

(Don’t worry guys, I won’t go that far).

I’ve come to realize that there is nothing less funny or engaging than a writer who is self-conscious. It’s time to start throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. It may not all work, but maybe some of it will. Some of my most successful posts have been ones I had no idea people would like, so who knows.

Anyway, I know you’re probably thinking, “Homegirl really needs to learn the difference between “blog” and “journal” right now” … but you know what, I don’t care. Im’ma just Be BreezyK. And you all should be You, too. Every weird, last one of you.

Question of the Day: How do you deal with self-doubt?

Is your writing primarily influenced by your audience, or what you want to write?

Don’t Look Ahead There’s Stormy Weather

So I know I promised you all stories about my trip to New York, but I have to admit that for the past week and a half, I have been experiencing a moderate to severe case of writer’s block.

My writing teacher used to say that writer’s block isn’t a real thing; it’s just a manifestation of one’s fear and anxiety. Well, I kind of wanted to punch him in the face every time he said that, because sometimes it is a real thing. Sometimes you really just can’t think of anything to say. And other times, you’d just rather lay on your couch watching Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and identifying all the places you’ve been while eating questionably  old Kernels Popcorn.. and that’s ok.

Met her
Met her

So although I haven’t been blogging, I have been channeling my creative energy in other ways. Like obsessively planning all of my Holiday outfits. And working on my inaugural “BreezyK Year in Review” Mixtape.

What’s that? You want to hear the first track? K:

Now, don’t go getting any ideas about how cool I am, because the other 16 tracks are probably all going to be Nicki Minaj and  One Direction.

Kidding. I’m not kidding.

Speaking of One Direction, can we talk about T-Swift and Harry Styles for a minute?

I have to admit, that for a 27-year-old woman, I am unreasonably jealous about this. I mean, just look at how skinny these jeans are:

harry2

He obviously belongs with me. Harry, don’t you know that Taylor’s skinny ass is just going to dump you in 4-6 weeks and then write another drony album about it? I would never, ever, do you like that.

In other news, I’m also in a funk because I haven’t been running lately. I developed a bad case of plantar fasciitis or some sh*t (or at least that’s what my Doctor,WebMD, tells me) from walking catwalks around New York last week in inappropriate footwear.

So in order to maintain my perfect physique, I’ve been forced to use the elliptical. Guys, let me tell you. I thought there was nothing worse than the treadmill, but THERE IS. Sh*t is SO. BORING! Plus, it makes me feel like the female incarnation of Tony Little whenever I am on it… minus the glorious hair.

tonylittle

It  basically makes me want to strangle myself with my iPod headphones. But instead, I just focus on Rachel Ray cooking things that would obviously take way longer than 30 minutes in real life. Why do they play cooking shows at the gym by the way? It seems a bit of a perverse incentive, no?

And I guess I shouldn’t say I haven’t been writing at all. I have been working on a children’s story about a clumsy Zebra named Patrick. It isn’t very good.

Anyway, that’s all I got for ya. I swear I’m brewing something good soon. Keep the faith guys. I’m going to stop talking now.

Question of the Day: Do you work out at the gym? Are you a treadmill/elliptical type of person?

So You Think That’s Funny?

There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you guys.

No, I’m not actually a man. And it’s a good thing, because I’d be horrible at it.  I don’t know how to fix or install anything and I take way too long to get ready.

Nah. The truth is, I’ve been taking a writing class.

I’ve been thinking about taking a class for a while now, and it was actually my New Year’s resolution for 2012. Realizing that the clock was  running out, I signed up a few weeks ago.

…… and part of me also did it because I thought there was a chance Jason Schwartzman might be teaching it. And that he might fall madly in love with me.

Shocker: he’s not.

The class is specifically targeted at comedy writing; so I guess you could say I’m testing out the age-old question of whether or not you can actually learn to be funny.

I was excited, but also nervous for my first class. I had so many questions… like what should I wear? And could I bring a pad and paper to class, or would that be lame? What if all the other kids brought iPads or MacBooks? Or worse, what if no one else even showed up and just phoned in via Skype … or hologram:

Tupac lives!

Luckily, my fears were assuaged as soon as I walked in the door. There are only about 10 people in the class, and it’s a real mixed bag- from a girl about my age with dreams of being a screenwriter, to drama geeks and aspiring novelists, to a middle-aged man who was recently laid off and now wants to do something totally different with his life. There’s also an older man with a long white beard who may or may not be Santa Claus. And if he is, that’s kind of concerning… because it’s probably getting close to crunch time up there in the North Pole and someone should really be supervising the whole toy-making operation.

Anyway, the first week we did a few ice breakers and spent some time talking about different comedic devices and various  forms of humour. Then our teacher gave us our first assignment: a 3-5 page piece about something funny that happened to us, to be read aloud in class the following week.

I’m not going to lie, I was freaking out a little bit. I distinctly got the impression that my teacher didn’t appreciate my sense of humour after we got into an argument in class about whether anthropomorphism (i.e. animals doing people things) was a legitimate comedic device. I plead my case using this as an example:

“A pircture of a cat baking…..” he asked, confusedly. “And you think that’s funny?”

So, yeah. I didn’t have high hopes my story would be well received. Plus, although I write a lot on my blog, they are mostly shorter pieces that rely on funny gifs and the aforementioned hilarious cat pictures to supplement my bad jokes. This was different. No pictures. No crossout text. Just me.

The other thing about blogging is that after you hit “publish”, you can hide behind your computer screen and never have to face whether people will laugh or not. The worst that can happen is you don’t get a lot of “likes” or “comments”.. but you’ll never have to endure a room full of awful, deafening silence. And that’s what I feared might happen to me.

Or worse, this.

After much stress and anxiety, I pulled together a sort of composite piece about funny Thanksgiving memories in our family and hoped for the best.

I was the last to present, and got to hear everyone else’s stories first. One girl wrote an entire piece about burritos. Another man wrote about his dead Aunt Phyllis. It really ran the gamut.

When it was my turn, I was incredibly nervous and looked down at my paper basically the entire time…but shockingly, people laughed. I’m not going to question why, or if it was out of pity.. all I know is that it felt really good. After the first few chuckles, it got easier, and by the end I realized that I was actually enjoying myself.

Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that with blogging, although you largely eliminate the possibility of rejection, you also miss out on the upside. Hearing people laugh at your jokes feels.. well, really awesome.

I’m not out of the woods yet. This week’s assignment is to write a topical piece about something funny in the news, which might prove more difficult. I wish I could make Seth Meyers magically appear and help me out with this one… and then be my boyfriend.

Can you tell I have a thing for funny guys?

Question of the Day: Have you ever taken a writing class? Do you take any other type of classes?

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