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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
MAR
11

Growing out a Pixie - Part 2

I have an exciting announcement. My stylist says I'm officially in "bob" territory. You'll recall that the last time I checked in on this subject (Growing out a Pixie - Part 1), I'd had someone that very day tell me I really needed to do something about my hair. And even though my hair is to a point now where it actually looks like something a person might do on purpose, I still get comments. Within the same 24-hour period last week I had someone say "Your hair is adorable that length," and someone else say, "Are you growing your hair out?" and then cringe when my answer was yes. "Why?" they asked. Um, because I miss having hair? Of course I already feel 1000 times more ordinary, even with a bob. But whatever. Here's to changing it up.

MAR
04

To Procreate or not to Procreate?

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I read a book recently that had been written as a series of essays by writers who had each, for one reason or another, decided not to have children. Each author spent his or her essay largely explaining this decision. I find books on particular lifestyle choices interesting (a la Spinster), particularly if they are choices that I have made as well. Not that my reasons are the same as any of this book’s contributing authors. I am choosing not to have children because I don’t want to be a single parent, not because I don’t want children. Were my circumstances different (ie. if I could find the right man), I would welcome the opportunity. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.

What struck me while reading these essays was how many of the authors mention an unwillingness to give up their career as a contributing factor—many times a significant one—in their decision not to have children. It might seem an odd thing, since, especially in this day and age, having both a career and a family is very do-able. But keep in mind the authors of these essays are all writers—full-time writers—and that kind of career is an entirely different animal. You’re at home all day, for starters, and that in and of itself—that at home is where you need to be your most productive—can make the idea of children very off-putting. These writers told of how even just the thought of a child pulling at their arm while they sat typing or journaling was enough to 1) make them realize it would simply never be possible to do both, and 2) fill them with acute hypothetical guilt over neglecting this hypothetical child. Point 1 makes me think of something I read in Joni Mitchell’s biography. When she was still quite young, Joni had a baby girl and gave her up for adoption. The decision tore her up, but she said some decades later that had she not made that decision, her career in the music industry would have never happened. It simply wouldn’t have been possible. So I get it. I do. And I am personally quite glad for her decision, as “I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet” is one of my favorite lyrics ever penned.

Point 2 makes me think of what happens every evening and weekend when I sit down to write and my cat jumps up and tries to fight my computer for the spot on my lap. She’ll try and try, me batting her away until she finally realizes the mission is futile. Of course, when I do this, she curls up on the couch and sleeps for the next five hours and is really no worse for wear. So I realize this temporary neglect doesn’t trigger the same type of guilt I would feel if I resented my child and her frequent—no, constant—tendency to impede my writing. (She, my cat, does the same thing when I’m reading a book, constantly walking across and sitting on the pages…it’s equal parts infuriating and adorable.)

I’m not a judgey person. Or maybe I am. But surprisingly not about this topic. Because I think it’s a legitimate choice. And I reject the notion that choosing a childless life is selfish. I do think having children is certainly more selfless by comparison. It’s one of the reasons why, again, were my circumstances different, I’d have a child. Because I see this selfless quality in so many of the people I know who have children, and sacrifice and suffering in the name of love is something I could probably benefit from incorporating more of. But people know themselves. And their limits. Particularly writers, who from my own observations are more likely to 1) have the time to wax pensive over tradeoffs and preferences, 2) have TAKEN the time to wax pensive over tradeoffs and preferences, 3) to seek peace and solitude, and 4) to have experienced some sort of trauma or neglect from their own parents, consequently turning them off of the notion of procreating. Whatever their reasons, let’s respect them. Having said that, I’m going to turn off my computer now. My cat has been patiently waiting for her turn on my lap.

FEB
25

Final(ish) Touches

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A friend recently commented that I blog much less now that I’m a working girl again. This is true. So is the fact that I am way behind on getting my new manuscript to my editor, and much for the same reason. I do pine for my days in New York City, most of them employer-free once I quit my job to focus on gemology, nothing really on my to-do list other than a freelance writing gig and a magnificent city to discover. Those were the days.

It’s now been three months since announcing here (And....Done.) that I had finished the new manuscript, so I should probably tell you that what’s happened is I felt like there was something missing. I wanted to add in a more universal component to weave throughout the stories from my own life that fill the book, and so I sent out the survey I mentioned here (Survey Says), and then wrote 8,000 more words to incorporate some of the survey themes and data into the manuscript.

It’s not perfect, and I still have some work to do before I hand it off, but I like it better now. And I like that it’s something new I’m experimenting with. Don’t get me wrong…I’m still filled with that sickening sense of panic that always fills me before the release of a book (“No one will like this.”), but that will probably be there every time. All I can do is take my time, try to get it right on my end, and enjoy every bit of the process.

FEB
14

Canines and Cupids

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I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the day of love than to volunteer at the Canines and Cupids dog adoption event this weekend here in San Diego. I feel strongly about animals, about our responsibility to care for them, and about pet adoption in general. And speaking of love, there's possibly no truer kind than what you'd get from a canine companion, so it warmed my heart to see so many dogs find forever homes yesterday.

There was one dog in particular who stole my heart, a tiny chihuahua who had recently been shot up so badly by idiots with a pellet gun that he's lost the use of his back legs. Since the paralysis left him unable to feel pain, he chewed himself so badly that he is without a male organ and now has to wear diapers to soak up the stream of urine that exits from the hole doctors were able to fashion for him. He also must move around with his back legs resting in a tiny wheeled device. It's honestly one of the saddest things I've ever seen in my life.

The moral of the story is that people who abuse animals should be in prison, but another moral to the story is that animals need our help. They need homes, even foster homes. They need care, they need kindness, and it's something I've committed to get more involved in this year. Given how many shelters participated in yesterday's adoption event (and this is just one city!), I guarantee there are shelters and organizations in your area who could use your help. Whether that's cutting a check or volunteering at an event or stopping by a shelter one evening a week to walk a few dogs, I encourage you to show some love to the furry friends who are always so willing to do the same for us.

 

 

FEB
07

The X-Files Reboot

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It's such a dirty trick, really. How TV shows get us hooked and then go off the air. I've pined after the ends of Sex and the City (luckily the two post-show movies helped me cope), Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights, and others, but no show have I ever missed more than The X-Files.

I was raised in a home that observed the sabbath day, such that my parents strove to have it be a day truly set apart from all others. Meaning if it was something we did during the week (like go over to friends' houses or watch TV), we didn't do it on Sunday. The TV thing was really a killer, because that's when The X-Files was on. So I would record each episode on a video cassette and watch it Monday morning before school. And considering that I had not one but TWO earlybird classes in high school (meaning I left the house by 6 AM), this meant I was waking up at 4 AM just to watch that week's episode. True, unadulterated dedication if I ever heard it, especially for a teenager.

What made it so good? You could say the conspiracy theories were interesting, the monster episodes spooky, but really it came down to Scully and Mulder. Their personalities were so different, Scully so rational and Mulder so into the paranormal. Some say their lack of romance was what kept the show so good, but all I ever wanted was for the two of them to get together. So I hung on every touch (that New Years kiss!), every line of flirty banter. That Fox has temporarily brought back the X-Files has made my 2016 such a treat so far. A decade and a half older, and it's not like they don't look it, but Scully and Mulder are still the same (so is the opening song/credits), and this reboot seems so much like the original series that I'm wondering why they ever took it away. Here's hoping we can convince Fox to make this a permanent thing...and not just because I'd like to see them get together for real.

latest tweets

TaliNayBooks I think that's how you know it's a good book.
TaliNayBooks So engrossed in the end of #tinybeautifulthings that I didn't realize someone was stealing my carry-on from the plane. @CherylStrayed