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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
FEB
10

Modern Love

Love is such a mess. Seriously. In some ways I've struggled over the years with this realization, and in other ways I've felt relief over it. See, I used to think that love should be easy. That if it weren't, then the couple shouldn't be together. I mean, you shouldn't have to work at something as blissful as love, right? Certainly not work hard. I've had my fair share (like, one) of relationships that are what I would consider blissful, in that we seemed to always be on the same page, never fight, and not find ourselves frequently rehashing similar disagreements. I think there are definitely couples out there who function at this level, a level that is (seemingly) more effortless than the rest of us. I'm happy for these people. I'm just not one of them.

Many of my relationships have involved more challenging situations, keeping in mind that when I say challenging, I'm referring only to differences, both in personality and backgrounds. I'm a person who has never been looking for the easiest option when it comes to relationships, so these differences are not automatically what I would consider to be dealbreakers. But they take work, and I don't think there's any shame in admitting that. I wish more people would talk about it. That relationships are hard. And why shouldn't they be? Spending a shit-ton of time with the same person, one who comes at things from a completely different lens, values and prioritizes differently than you, and can't read your mind? How is that not going to take work? When a friend recently posted about her milestone wedding anniversary by saying that in addition to there being no one she has more fun with, more connection to, or more love for, there is also no one who makes her more frustrated, no one she disagrees with more, and no one else she gets so mad at, I felt like it was one of the most beautiful tributes I'd ever read. That, my friends, is love.

I think what I've found refreshing is the mutual desire to persevere through these differences, to even embrace and celebrate them. Besides, at least for me (a person who FEELS things deeply and in fact rather enjoys the sometimes dramatic travails of life if for no other reason than they trigger growth and force one to acknowledge her own aliveness), I value our ability to experience emotional extremes as so incredibly human. What other species can feel and process to such extremes and in such detail, or evaluate and then make decisions from these feelings in the same complex ways that we do? It's rather quite glorious. 

I've recently read all the Modern Love books (collections of the Modern Love essays from the New York Times), and, along with the collections of Moth stories, they were just about my favorite things I've ever read. They, the stories, are almost all unbelievably messy, exploring aspects of love from the non-traditional to the tragic to the sweet to the devastating to the, yes, I'll say it, hard. Is it always worth it? Does it always work out? But does it even have to? I'm a fan regardless, of the journeys, the struggles, the work, the rewards, the reminders that we are never so fortunate than when we have love.

OCT
24

Life Without Schitt's Creek

This may be the first time I've finished a series and immediately considered just starting it all over again. Because it's just a little too painful to consider that there won't be any more Schitt's Creek to watch. And in a time where all the world is watching WAY MORE TV than ever before thanks to, well, a lack of other choices, I've certainly discovered some gems. Breaking Bad, The Good Place, and others have proved to be gripping, innovative, and delightfully endearing. Yet no show has moved or entertained me more than this one. In trying to pinpoint why that is (these are the types of things that writers, particularly writers in a pandemic, are wont to do), here are the top three reasons.

The Humor. One could argue it may not be EVERYONE'S kind of humor, and yet I can't imagine getting along with any person who doesn't find it funny. And it's a clever, understated humor, made even better by the lack of audience and the speed and subtlety with which it comes at you. It's a kind of humor not based on people telling jokes or saying funny things, but more about the actual situations the characters get into. And they get into a lot, considering the Rose family is thrust into this "normal" life having never before experienced anything like it. Their reactions, to pretty much everything (and David's facial expressions), are priceless. And Moira filming that winery commercial? Tears. From laughter. 

The characters are so comfortable being themselves but are also willing to change and grow. Moira herself is a bit of a freak show, but she's so unapologetic about it. David, too, beats to his own drum (those outfits!!), but it's just not a thing. It's never really talked about nor does it need acknowledging, because it just is. And the audience gets that and embraces it. I wish I saw more of that, both in myself and pretty much everyone I know, this ability to simply be ourselves. Because who else is there for us to be, anyway? All the characters from the town are equally themselves, and though a bit odd for it, they still shine bright for doing what they know and for supporting each other and the transplant Rose family. All that said, you still see so much growth from the characters as they learn things about themselves, as they push past struggles and limitations, as they find purpose. Stevie's storyline was particularly compelling to me, her quest to find out not just what she wanted to do with her life, but also her recognition of the need to push her own limits. Her Cabaret performance was one of my favorite moments in the entire series. That "Maybe This Time" number? Tears. From inspiration.

The positive family relationships. It takes some time to get there, of course, but at the end of the day, what I loved most about this show was that it was about a family coming together and growing closer. Not really because they chose to, and I get that, but a bi-product of all that time living together in the Rosebud Motel was that they rediscovered what they had in each other. One of my biggest frustrations with TV shows that depict family life is that the families are so rarely portrayed as having positive relationships. There's so much fighting and bickering, so many jokes about marriage being sucky, parents not making an effort with their kids, kids taking advantage of their parents. Not to say those things don't happen even in the best of families, but there were so many sweet storylines in this show that depicted this family--with already-grown children, I might add--genuinely enjoying and wanting the best for each other. To the point that when Alexis points out as the show comes to a close that she's really going to miss being together, being able to pop over and just see her family, it feels like an actual ache in your heart. Tears. From sadness over there being no more.

 

DEC
01

Gratitudey

I'm grateful for this pie, which I made, which almost never happens. And I'm grateful for all the delicious food I consumed this week, for my little house, my cat, my health, my job, my friends, the people who buy my books. In thinking about all of this, about how grateful I am for circumstances that, while not perfect, are certainly fortunate, my thoughts always gravitate toward my family.

You could say it's because holidays are usually full of them, family, or because most (dare I say almost all) of my Thanksgivings have happened in the company of some amount of them, either where I live, where they live, where none of us live. This Thanksgiving was unique, in that I was away from my family. From all of them. On my own and cooking just for two (everything turned out smashingly except the rolls, which I can't even talk about), I confess it felt strange to consider what a family-less Thanksgiving would be like, but I needn't have worried. Because the thing about a family like mine is that you feel connected to them in these times of love and gathering and gratitude even when you're apart. We texted, we FaceTimed, we talked on the phone. I knew what they were doing and laughed with their kids and awed over their freshly-assembled Christmas trees. I didn't feel like I was missing out. I felt like I was there. 

What I'm most grateful for then is that I have this kind of family in the first place. The kind that sees each other as often as we can, the kind that maintains traditions, the kind that keeps in touch, the kind that asks for last minute recipe advice, the kind that enjoys being together. What I probably don't ackowledge enough is how lucky I am that this is what I have, what I've always had. There are those in my life for whom this seemingly constant stream of togetherness, kindness, and familial love can trigger an almost sadness, an acute awareness of not having had anything like it. Ever. And how does one respond to that? What can a person do to make it better for those who did and do not have what I have? Short of sharing my family with the world, which I wish I could do, I'm going to double my gratitude efforts. I don't want to forget, even for one moment, how lucky I am, this season and always. I also don't want to make rolls from scratch again. Like, ever.

NOV
18

Faulkner and Funerals

I was genuinely moved at a funeral this week when the deceased’s widow brought up William Faulkner. I would have been moved anyway, her husband having died much too young and in the sudden sort of way that left no time for goodbyes, but the literary reference caught me off guard.

This woman is strong and together and in many moments of her remarks seemed so composed and matter of fact that you’d have had no idea she’d just lost her husband. But when she, in the most raw sort of way that only the grieving can, finally broke down over how hard it is, how sad she was to put his body in the ground and never get to look at it or touch it again, I wept. I wept for her and her children, for all of us. I wept because even the promise of heaven does not soften the blow of being separated from a loved one for the next several decades. How do you learn to do life without the person you do life with? Where is the comfort in that if the comfort doesn’t come until you yourself have left the earth? It’s a question I’ve never been able to answer.

It’s like that story, the widow said. A Rose For Emily. She reminded us of the basic plot, which is that Emily keeps the deceased body of the man she loves, in her bed, and even gets in the bed with the body, a fact that’s discovered upon her death. It’s such a classic, frequently-read story. As early as high school I was scrunching my nose in disgust over the whole icky idea. It disturbed me, frankly. It had disturbed the widow, too, except here she was now admitting she finally understood why someone would do it. And the thought of closing the casket and leaving him in the earth was so much worse than taking him home with her, as she wished she could.

Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve felt any amount of affection for the story. The first time it struck me as something tragic and almost beautiful. It’s the first time I’ve left a funeral craving Faulkner.

JUL
08

Because I Also Write Books

It's easy to forget that, especially because there are so many other things to talk about on this blog. Like LeBron. And gemstones. And the fact that I've fallen in love which is totally cutting into my writing time. (Worth it, by the way.) But I do write books. 

I'm currently 60% done with my next manuscript. This will be my fourth book, and 60% feels significant. It feels like we're getting somewhere. And I probably say this with every book (someone should really look into this), but I'm pretty sure this one is my favorite. While the other three each follow a certain theme throughout my entire life thus far, this book is about a single, brief period of my life. It's about a thing I always wanted to do. It's about me doing it, loving/hating it, and ultimately leaving it behind. It's just focused differently...in a way my first three books are not. And I'm also exploring the idea of experimenting with chronology on this one, so you have that to dread look forward to when the time comes.

All good stuff. I like writing so much. I'm grateful it's one of the many aspects of my life. Even if it almost never gets top billing. On this blog or anywhere else. Some things we do simply because we must. Because we are called. Because they are there. Because if we don't, who will ever know that these things happened to us? That we had these feelings? That we dreamed dreams and took risks and failed a lot?

Which is all to say, I'm looking forward to the next 40%.  

MAY
28

Stars and the Moon

My dear hometown jeweler, who recently passed way, has a son who spent several years of his life in the world of theater. A talented performer, during one summer that he spent home in Oregon, he staged a local production of the then-new show, Songs for a New World. I was working at his dad's store at the time, dreaming of how life would unfold and incredibly impressed by anyone who, like my jeweler's son, had left town to pursue a dream, a talent, and then come home to nurture our community with the spoils.

I attended the show multiple times, one song in particular resonating with me in a way I couldn't describe. It was nothing I'd experienced for myself, but the story spoke so strongly of the importance of following your heart, of choosing love, of not letting worldly things or wants become more important than anything else. The song, "Stars and the Moon," was originally performed by Audra McDonald, a fact I learned after tracking down the original recording. I didn't know who Audra was, but the song stayed with me for years, this thing I never wanted to forget as I made my way in the world.

For those keeping track at home, Audra McDonald has won a record six Tony Awards and is one of the biggest names on Broadway. She may not have been when she recorded "Stars and the Moon," which is why when I saw her for the first time in concert this week, I was certain she wouldn't sing it. It's a small thing really, a song. Heard a long time ago. A lifetime ago. I knew so little then about love and life and loss. And yet when Audra introduced her next number as one written by Jason Robert Brown (wait, what?), from the production Songs for a New World (could this happen?), titled "Stars and the Moon" (No. Way.), I could only bring my hand to my mouth in an attempt to contain my glee. Again, it's a small thing. A song. But I wanted to hear her sing it all these years later, to see the sincerity I'd always detected in those lyrics.

I attended the concert with my darling boyfriend, who, let's just say, is not the Broadway enthusiast that I am. He wasn't familiar with Audra or, barring a very few exceptions, the songs she performed, but understanding after the first few numbers that these were songs from shows, he leaned over and asked, as sincerely and innocently as only the Broadway-clueless can, "Will she sing Wizard of Oz? I like Wizard of Oz." I stifled a smile and replied, "No, that's not really Broadway, honey." And then she closed the concert with Somewhere Over the Rainbow, at which point I could no longer stifle the smile. Some nights are just perfect. Some songs are, too.

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MAR
11

Snow in Paris

Of course I would visit Paris during the coldest cold snap they've had in years. Of course I would become horribly sick over the course of my stay. And of course I would persist in walking around the city while nursing said sickness. But I was in Paris. Staying in bed was not an option. Besides, your worst day in Paris is still better than any other day. Your worst day flying home from Paris while miserably sick is, on the other hand, actually your worst day. 

I was in Paris to see my best friend get married, her having recently fallen in love with a Frenchman. It's been interesting to watch her merge her world with his, a world where a lack of a shared native language and differing cultural backgrounds present some interesting and unique challenges. But love doesn't take these differences and challenges into consideration, one of my favorite things about it. Because who among us is looking for the least complicated option? Who among us has always wished to settle for the easiest possible scenario? 

As I sat in a velvet-lined chair watching my friend vow to love and cherish her husband under a golden painted ceiling, the whole thing made me so very happy. Because love wins. As it should always. To hell with the unknowns, with the things that make it harder, with the fact that I couldn't understand a damn word anyone was saying. By the time they were married and the room erupted in applause over a concerto of Vivaldi, I was already hopelessly enchanted. And it hadn't even started snowing yet.

 

 

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.

DEC
31

What's in a Year?

What is a year, really? There’s that iconic Rent song, of course, that boils it all down to love—probably a more accurate measure than we realize. But if you really take a look at a year, what is it?

Is it measured by the things we do? Six jewelry trade shows, one sunrise hot air balloon ride, two book parties, one eclipse viewed in complete totality, four holidays with family, one stolen suitcase, three days at Disney with a nephew, one international vacation, forty mini gingerbread loaves baked, one dear friend’s funeral, one NBA finals game attended, two resolutions kept…

Or is it better measured by the things we don’t do? Twelve more eggs lost, the man I should have let go sooner, or maybe the one I didn’t keep but should have, the zoo membership not renewed, work projects not completed, books I didn’t read, chapters I didn’t write. Do these things carry more weight when taking inventory of our five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes?

Sometimes it’s easy at the end of a year to feel more haunted than happy; more regret than resolve. And you should know me well enough by now to know that this is usually the camp I sit in. It’s not that there’s anything irresistibly romantic about melancholy (read: it is the very definition of irresistibly romantic), it’s that there is value, at least to me, in pining for what might have been. What we do not accomplish. What we fail to achieve. To me, it gives us the opportunity to evaluate how badly we want it. And failing either makes us double our efforts to get or achieve this thing, or it allows us to let go of what turns out to be less important than we first thought.

I only set two resolutions in 2017, and I hit them both. I’m very proud of that, however minor they are in the grand scheme of my life. In addition to resolutions, however, I always write a letter to myself in preparation for each new year. It’s part encouragement, part tough love, and in general serves as a road map for the kind of person I want to be in the upcoming year. The letter that sat taped to by bedside table each day of 2017 was written last Christmas Eve while sitting inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. There was a pretty significant personal change I wanted to make this year; a rather toxic situation I counseled myself to get out of. I remember tears spilling down my cheeks as I rested my head against the cold cement of a cathedral column while composing the letter. Yet early on in 2017, I had already failed in my effort. And I won’t say it didn’t affect me greatly to wake up each morning and see my letter, knowing I hadn’t taken my own advice. But failing at this has brought about the doubling of effort I spoke of a moment earlier.

Something else that helps me in the wake of regret or falling short is to expand my perspective beyond a single year. It’s less about what’s in a year. It more like, what’s in a life? I was able to spend a few days in my hometown over Christmas, something I rarely do, and it was incredibly grounding to be amongst people who have known me since I was a child. Our lives are about everything we do, see. And the foundation we set is large; it is always present, regardless of how any individual year shakes out. We’re more than the sum of our years, so keep that in mind as you resolve, refocus, and reprioritize for the next five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.

Happy New Year!

JUN
17

Picture This

Picture booking a trip to Cleveland for game 6 of the NBA finals and then realizing with your team down 3-0 that game 6 is likely not to happen. Picture changing your plans at the last minute and booking the last seat on a plane to Cleveland for game 4. Picture lugging the dresses and heels and suits you wore over a week-long work trip with you across the country, as the last minute-ness of the change in plans doesn't allow you to go home first.

Picture upsetting your ex's family by asking in this state of last minute-ness (ie. no hotels available) if you can crash with them for a night. Picture sobbing in an airport bathroom when you realize the door to their friendship is no longer open, even though this is probably as it always should have been.

Picture getting pulled over in Cleveland and trying to get out of a ticket when you say you're here for "the game" and have a California drivers license. Picture the Cavs shirt you're wearing saving the day. Because it does.

Picture winning.

Of course, I could tell you to picture it all falling apart in the next game anyway, but that really doesn't matter. Because if you can picture 20,000+ fans erupting in unison after each (record-breaking) three-pointer, if you can picture being unable to keep yourself from jumping to your feet every possession, if you can picture the glee in watching Steph Curry momentarily being made to look like a lost little boy, if you can picture hope and belief in their most unadulterated forms ("Cavs in se-ven!"), then you will have gotten what you came for.

So picture that.

 

MAY
11

On Writing about your Love Life

There are some benefits to writing a book about your love life. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any, but don’t let that deter you if you’re considering the same. The good news is that you’re likely not in touch with any of your exes, so they won’t even know you’ve written a book. Again, let me reiterate: THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS. If, however, you ARE in touch with any of your exes (“in touch” means connected via social media, naturally), they might see you’ve written a book, but they’ll have no idea they’re in it, which means their comments like “You’re the real deal, Tali!” will trigger equal parts mischievous delight at your own stealth and acute horror at how close they’ve come to figuring it out.

Inevitably there’s One Ex to whom you’re still fairly connected. Let’s say, hypothetically, that this One Ex is whom the bulk of the book is about and it ends with him breaking your heart in epic fashion. Hypothetically. If you have such an ex, trust me: he won’t read it. THIS IS ALSO VERY GOOD NEWS.

Then there is the matter of future men you may date. Not that admitting in your book that you go to church and wish alcohol didn’t exist will leave you a particularly large number of interested suitors, but the point is, if they do read your book, they’ll know your game. They’ll know how you approach a relationship. They may know better how to woo you, but they’ll also know when you’re on your way out. They’ll be able to read the signs, because they literally already have. It’s an interesting situation, honestly, and in recent weeks I’ve had a potential suitor who wanted to discuss my first-chapter theory that most of the time you make up your mind about romantic compatibility right away, another who admitted the book made him think about how he would approach dating me if it ever got to that point, and yet another who told me he sides with my One Ex (the #1 way to not get lucky, by the way).

And we can’t forget the family contingent, because if there’s anyone who’s going to lose their mind reading about your romantic exploits, it’s your mother. And father. And possibly everyone else related to you. Not that your family was ever intended as your target audience, but you’ve got to give it to them, this right to be traumatized and to describe the book using charming descriptors like “painful to read.” But it’s OK, because you know they love you. You know they are proud of you. You know mostly they are just glad you’re no longer mixed up with the sumbitch you dated more than a decade ago. MORE VERY GOOD NEWS.

So, see, it’s not all bad. Sure, your family hates it and your exes avoid it and your future dating life is entirely in jeopardy, but it will all be worth it when a woman approaches you on behalf of her daughter who’s just gone through a rough breakup. You’ll sign a book for her, for her daughter too, and for just that moment, the two of you will be connected in a way that has you both clasping your hearts. It will all be worth it when a young man tells you, in tears, that he’s just finished the book and is so impressed by how accurately you’re able to describe “what this feels like.” Because these things will happen to you. They’ll happen to you a lot. And they’ll remind you why you write in the first place; why it’s so important to remind people of the simple truth that we are all the same.

MAR
19

The Signing at Loganberry Books

It's hard to beat Loganberry Books when it comes to intricate and charming details, literary nostalgia and whimsy, and let's not forget sheer size. It's a deceivingly large store, with ladders and chairs and pillows and tables. In short, it's the full bookstore package. Plus, they have a cat.

I'd done a few events there in the past, but always as part of a larger book fair featuring many authors. My first solo event, it wasn't as well-attended as I had hoped (you know, like in author dreamland where every person you invited and/or know shows up and you sell out of books) but I do have to remember that I don't live there anymore. It's not as if I can claim it as my own. Or bug my co-workers by incessantly reminding them that THIS IS THE WEEKEND of the book signing. Um, not that I did this with my California signing. How needy.

Cleveland is a special place for me because I spent so many years there, surely, but also because of the kinds of relationships I formed while I was there. And because the book I was in town to celebrate is the "love" book, of course that had me waxing pensive over how many men I met and dated there. One of the main exes I mention in the book is still in town, and, if I'm being honest, I had thought I wanted him to be there. I mean, three books? Don't I deserve that kind of support for being an ex that's just so damn prolific? But during the event I grew uneasy at the thought of navigating the conversation. "So, great book, Tali. I really enjoyed the part where you spilled the beans about the cowardly way in which I broke your heart." I mean, all's fair, (meaning he gets to break my heart and also that I get to broadcast the deets Taylor Swift style by writing about it), and truth is an absolute defense, but maybe some relationships really do work better in the past tense. It's why I'm a writer. It's why I'm single. It's why I probably need some new book tour cities in my circuit.

 

FEB
14

Happy Launch Day!!!

I know it won't eclipse Valentine's Day for anyone else but me, but Happy Launch Day for my new book!! Welcome to the world, Fooled. May it be as loved and inspiring as it's been to me over the past couple of years. And may my exes not hate me for writing about them.

Here's to love.

You, dear readers, certainly have mine.

Today and always.

FEB
09

Golden *what?*

And then it was Valentine’s Day. Well, almost. Seriously though, I’m not sure how this happened. A friend mentioned I hadn’t blogged yet in 2017 and I didn’t believe him. True that January was taken over by book preparations, so, there’s that, plus I’ve just spent 10 days in Arizona at a couple of jewelry shows. (Post to follow at some point.)

But back to Valentine’s Day. Because I sort of forgot about it until walking into a donut shop while on the road and seeing trays of heart-shaped donuts. I bought one. Naturally. And then I started thinking about love. It’s not a huge priority for me, really. Which seems odd to say. I certainly miss love, and hope I find it again, but it’s not something I’m willing to devote a lot of time to. Mostly because the odds of a return on investment being at all worthwhile always seem pretty slim. And I’d rather spend my time writing books and perusing gems than going on crappy dates.

I read a book recently that proved what I have always suspected: there aren’t enough men to go around. Or, more accurately, there aren’t enough college-educated men to match the number of college-educated women. It’s actually causing a big problem at universities, where the male students have so many options that the term “golden cock syndrome” exists, whereas the female students will not only struggle to secure one of the available men, but will also struggle to find one that isn’t taking full advantage of the syndrome’s benefits (ie. tons of women wanting to have sex with you).

Not looking to make a generalization here, I’d just like to point out that I have observed, even well past my college years, that golden cock syndrome is still alive and well in the adult male community. It can be hard to find someone who’s interested in monogomy, and with so many other women also seeking a man, I’ve met many men who are consequently not very motivated to make sure the experience you have with them is a positive one. Because when you’re in high demand (meaning you are desirable and in short supply), burning bridges isn’t really that concerning. It’s the same reason why Disney handled me with such little care back when I was offered an internship. It was a crappy deal, but if I didn’t take it, there’d be a line of others who would. So it didn’t matter to them that my overall experience was negative and that I ultimately turned them down. It affected them and their ability to fill that internship ZERO MUCH.

It’s gotten so rare for me to be impressed after a date that when it happened last week, word spread to my family at such speed that I received calls and/or texts from all of my siblings the next day. The hope! Don’t get me wrong. I have it too. The hope. I hope for a man so crazy about me that he doesn’t want anyone else. And I’m not saying there aren’t men out there who are as decent as they are interested in being faithful. I know they exist. They’re just harder to find.

In the case of last week’s date, the feeling did not appear to be mutual, which, of course, is the other side of this equation. Meaning even if you find a man you could be interested in, he has to think the same thing about you, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. My track record would, in fact, suggest that I am exactly NO ONE’S cup of tea. But, again, there is hope. And always will be. In the meantime, I’m having another donut.

OCT
12

Back At It

So's my cat, clearly (some help she is), but the truth of the matter is that I've begun writing again. After I finish a book I take a nice long break. This one has been especially long, but it's not as if there isn't still booky work going on. Typesetting decisions, cover options, etc. Most of this post-writing work falls on others, but still, it feels a bit hasty to the part of myself that can't even be reading more than one book at the same time to begin writing a new book when the last one hasn't even come out yet. But I've begun dabbling and think I may have what may or may not be the first few pieces of what may or may not end up being book #4.

Gotta say. It feels good to be back.

And if you're wondering when book #3 will be dropping, let me just say that if you find yourself in the mood for a collection of tragically relatable love stories (that are mostly not about love) around, say, Valentine's Day, then you just may be in luck.

Until then, I'm just going to keep writing. And (mostly not) loving.

 

 

MAR
25

The Editor

I'm preparing to do my final read-through of this darn manuscript before handing it over to my editor next week. It really is a bummer that even as your manuscript gets tighter and better as the read-throughs continue, you start to genuinely dislike it. The repetition. The many revisions and re-revisions. The fact that you can recite so much of it for memory that you fear your eyes may simply be glossing over entire pages without really paying attention. By this point I am, as per usual, convinced no one will ever want to read this thing. Probably a good sign that it's time to hand it off to someone else.

When my editor reminded me today that it's been five years since she edited my first book, it seemed a bit hard to fathom. Five years. It's not a huge amount of time, but it is nonetheless significant. The first little chunk in roundable figures. Five years. In so many ways, I feel like I'm in a much better place now. I've cut the tie with Corporate America. I finally left a city I had outgrown. I've become a gemologist. I pursued a dream and it worked out. I got to live in my beloved Manhattan. I tried a pixie cut. I've written three books.

Of course, in a few ways, things are worse, too. I lost a love, a future I very much wanted. I've perhaps lost some amount of faith as well. Not just in the world and the goodness at its core, but also in a belief system that becomes ever harder to embrace in its entirety. And I've obviously lost some youth, creeping ever closer to the point at which I can no longer consider myself young at all. None of these losses are insignificant.

But overall I have to be happy with where things have shaken out over the five years since I picked up one of those Guide to Literary Agents books and began looking for a kindred spirit--or, at the very least, someone who thought I had talent. Given where I sit at this moment (at my writing desk, looking out at the palm trees in my front yard and enjoying the cool ocean-laced breeze coming in through the window), I have to conclude I made a good choice.

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
03

Survey Says

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For anyone interested in helping me with my new book (or anyone that likes being given a reason to confess their true feelings about love or dish on a bastardly ex), I invite you to take this less-than-five-minute survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W2SWGHZ

If I use any of your quotes, I'll send you a free copy of the book once it's out. But that does mean you'd have to own up to which one is yours, since the survey is anonymous. In any case, I'm trying to get as many perspectives as possible, so the more the merrier.

Happy surveying.

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NOV
22

And....Done.

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"Call it crazy. It certainly would have been apropos."

This is the line that officially completed my third manuscript, a manuscript I wrote the last 3000 words of this weekend. To be clear, these are not the last 3000 words of the book...just as the line above is not how the book ends...it's simply the conclusion of the last chapter I had left to write up. The one, I hate to say it, I've been avoiding because remembering it sort of sucked.

There's actually a lot in this book that sucks, which means that I have more work to do on this manuscript than on any other. (Not to mention, it's 150% longer than my previous two.) Editing, re-writing, deleting, and--ultimately--making sure this is still a book that I feel good about putting out there. But for now I'm happy. Thrilled, even. I forgot how good it feels just to get the first draft all written out. It feels AMAZING. It propels me forward into the next phase, a phase that revolves around organization and detail and chronology. It's a phase I like so very much. It's a phase that gets me one step closer to holding the finished product in my hands.

Watch out, world. Here come all the love stories.

FEB
15

Post V-Day Post

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Ah, the day of love. I don’t know why it’s any tougher for singletons to get through than any other day of the year. We are, after all, always alone. And not having a love on this one day seems far less gutting than not having a love for, you know, the entire year. And yet. V-day always seems tougher. Especially here in the city where there are so many more people, and, by extension, couples. Today I’ve seen countless men walking through the streets with flowers in their arms. On their way to the hands of some adored companion. On the subways, it’s the same thing. Even the long line of people at the drugstore today opting for cards and cheap chocolates seemed worlds more fortunate than I—the girl buying Kleenex, cough drops, and Nyquil to battle the epic sickness that seems to overcome me every Valentine’s Day.

But as any single girl has to, at some point today must be recognized not as the day of lovers, but rather as the day of love. And I’ve certainly got plenty of that. My family is as wonderful as they come, my friends plentiful and sincere, and last night while gazing up at the Empire State Building and its glorious, festive display of red, I was reminded not just of how loved I am, but of how many people in this world mean so very much to me. Today and always.