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FEB
15

Valentine

It’s early. The part of the relationship where he sends me flowers and I shave my legs a lot. I’m sure both of these will change as time goes on, but for now, it’s that delicious beginning I spoke so fondly of in Fooled. The part where you’re not far enough in it yet to have botched it/discovered a dealbreaker/gotten cold feet. The part where you’ve got nothing on him but unadulterated hope.

It does become harder as we get older, I think. Harder to give up the “me”-ness we get so attached to as long-term singletons. Harder still to not become pessimistic about love, even as you’re beginning a new relationship. Because odds are, it won’t work out. If you’re a long-term singleton, it literally never has. It’s not so much the trite notion of it only taking one that buoys me up, even though it does. It’s that hoping each new relationship is The One is really the only chance we have that it ever will be.

So try. Don’t worry about keeping other options open, about hedging your bets, about back-up plans. Don’t worry about the last time, about all the times, about the time yet to come when you might lose him. Don’t worry about time at all, or eggs, or about what you think you should want. Want this. Nothing else. And maybe you’ll get it.

APR
02

Celebrating the Handoff

I gave my new manuscript to the editor this morning. She might hate it. She might tell me it doesn't work. In which case I'll be pretty discouraged. But that's always the risk you take when you put a piece of yourself down on paper. Particularly when that self is so very ordinary.

But no matter. Because whichever way this goes, tonight I'm celebrating that I've written a new book. It's such an accomplishment. And while as a woman--and a relatively worry-warty one at that--I've become an expert at feeling like I'm not enough, like I'm disappointing others, like I'm not living up to my potential, and like everyone in the office finds me kind of annoying (even though I threw the most amazing chili cookoff last month), tonight I am nothing but proud.

 

MAR
16

No. 1 Seed

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I love March Madness. I really do. Considering that I much prefer the NBA to college ball, it really all just comes down to the competition of it all; the fact that with a bracket, I get to have my own say. And I like winning things. Especially coming off of my Oscar season ballot (which, incidentally, didn't do so well for me this year...stupid Birdman sweeping in and winning everything), I'm partial to major events on which I can wager a guess...and potentially perform better than all my friends. (Note: I have only won a March Madness pool once, and it was quite possibly the best day of my life.)

Of course there's a more wistful reason why I love March Madness, the simple reason being that doing well requires you to bet against the odds. True that no 16 seed has ever beat a 1 seed, but there also hasn't been a single year where all four no. 1 seeds made it to the final four. So, see? It's a competition that actually requires risk-taking in order to be successful. And to me, that's a good parallel for life. Of course, you're talking to the girl that recently quit her job in order to pursue a dream, so of course you're going to get that from me. The point is, we should take more risks. The trouble with the bracket is that there are so many potential upsets that it's hard to know which ones to choose. And so we go with the safest, surest path (picking all no. 1 seeds) because we're not sure what else to do and we just want to minimize the damage.

I'll certainly be the first to admit that no one is ever sure. You can research, you can have hunches, you can have favorites, but at the end of the day, you can't know. You just have to start picking. And if you pick only the top seeds, you are guaranteed to be wrong. Guaranteed. So think about that. Not only as you fill out your bracket, but also as you approach this next season of life. Pick a few upsets. They might pay off.

OCT
04

Three Bucks, Two Bags, One Me

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Ok, so it was more like 3 bags (plus a backpack and my cat), but I arrived in NYC this week, this time to stay. You could say it's been a long time coming. You could say it's risky. Or crazy. You could say any number of things and you'd probably be right. Because I have no idea what this city holds for me. And between all the noises from the neighbors, the outlandish produce prices (I've decided to cut out all produce in order to keep my Brazilian waxes...stay tuned for a future post entitled From the Desk of the Clinically Malnourished but Smooth), and the overall comprehension of living here being very different than vacationing here, this will certainly be an adjustment. But it has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, so while I don't know how things will ultimately shake out, what I do know is that I can see the Empire State Building anytime I want. And sometimes, like tonight, that is enough.

 

SEP
15

One Way Ticket

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I've been traveling for the past 10 days, most of it in Chicago for work. Delightful city, maybe I'll post a few pics of the sightseeing I did, although it pretty much all involves me eating. And then eating more. Followed closely by more eating. Prior to Chicago, I did sneak in another short NYC trip. By now this is no surprise, surely. I did this in July, too. Also in April. And all the other times before that. What made this trip different--what I hadn't done on any other prior NYC trip--was that I signed a lease.

And so the next few weeks on this blog will be full of my moving preparations (chaotic) and goodbyes to the great, great city of Cleveland (weepy), a city in which I will leave a surprisingly big piece of myself and my heart. More on that later. For now let me leave you with images of possibility and new adventure, city lights and subway stations. If these images also contain a microscopic living space, much less disposable income, and uncertainty about things such as future plans, again, we'll get to that later. I've got boxes to pack.

 

AUG
10

Glee/Terror

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I'm addicted to the log chute rides at amusement parks...the ones modeled after Splash Mountain. The ones that send you careening down a big drop at the end (or the beginning if you're on the Atlantis ride at Sea World...did NOT see that coming), the drop getting you sufficiently soaked. I'm not sure why I like them so much, because they scare me. It's true that I want to ride them and can't wipe the grin from my face after I do, but there's always a moment--usually as the log car is slowly ascending the pre-drop climb--that I ask myself what the hell I was thinking getting on.

It's a pretty accurate parallel to life, at least for me it is. Because when I look back on the decisions I've made, particularly the weighty ones with significant change or impact upon my life, the options I've chosen were usually the ones that scared me. It's not that I'm drawn to scary things, it's more that I can never justify using fear as a reason to give up something I want.

Recently because of some decisions I've made--calculated risks, I'd call them--I now find myself, well, sort of screwed in a particular aspect of my life. Some have asked if I wish I had made different decisions back when I had the chance, but I don't. Because I believe in going after what you want most, and that's what I did. And I'd do it again. Unpleasant as they are, things like disaster and failure and the going awry of best-laid plans are still not as punishing as regret for never trying...or for letting fear keep you from choosing the thing you wanted most.

Which is why I took a cab over to the Mall of America this past week while in Minneapolis for work. It's why I waited in a long and stuffy line, why I sat in the front seat despite being warned I'd get wet, why I was giddy even in the presence of panic as the drop approached, and why I came back to Cleveland feeling more myself than I have in weeks. It's also why I bought the overpriced picture. Evidence that Glee/Terror happens. And that sometimes it does us good to seek it out.

FEB
02

Advice from Billy Joel

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One of my favorite things in Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It appeals to the writer in me, feeds my celebrity obsession, and reminds me of the music my dad listened to when I was growing up. The first time I went, I was struck by a quote on the wall. Written in larger than life font and attributed to none other than the incomparable Billy Joel (who I dub the best male voice of all time, by the way), the quote reads as follows: "If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time."

It's a powerfully inspiring quote. And I've been thinking about it in light of a few friends of mine who have recently decided to go out on a limb in the name of what they love. A co-worker recently quit in order to start his own business. A former college roommate has an opportunity to turn her transient lifestyle and love of all things foreign into a paying gig that she's perfect for. And a good friend with a budding theater career recently bought a one-way ticket to NYC with no job lined up and pennies in her pocket.

These people have a few things in common. They all took risks, they get by on little to no (or at least less) money, and they are all probably much happier than I am. Which brings me back to Billy. Because while his quote fills me with moxie and empowerment to go after what I really want, it's also not very realistic. I mean, come on, Billy. We can't all be rock stars.

It seems unfair to say that I'm jealous of these people, because I could certainly choose to take a similar path if I was unhappy in my job or willing to do without things like, say, so many trips home to see my family, but I'm not. Most people aren't. So if you're like me and are not necessarily doing what you would choose to do out of anything in the world, don't beat yourself up about it, because there are many paths in life and many reasons we choose the ones we take. But if at any point in your life you are lucky enough to be in club Billy, realize that you  have achieved something most of us never even come close to. You give the rest of us hope, inspiration, and belief in the power of effort in a world where too many people lack the courage and gumption to even try. With pennies in your pocket, you are richer than us all.

latest tweets

TaliNayBooks Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. And bring watermelon. @sdzsafaripark #butterflyjungle #HappyEaster https://t.co/dgL68a5Lxs
TaliNayBooks When you get to the end of the @dadwroteaporno episodes and realize you’re waiting for the next one like everyone else.
TaliNayBooks What does society say you should change? Fascinating exhibit at @WMofC. https://t.co/NAlhWw9hHu
TaliNayBooks @vcolotta Happy Bookiversary to you!!