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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
MAY
19

What Are You Reading?

They say what a person reads says a lot about them. I've certainly learned a great deal since becoming an author about reading preferences and how unique they truly are. I'll be at an author event right next to the person selling what seems like the weirdest, most uber niche-based book there, and yet I'll watch people walk past my booth and buy the weird, uber niche-based book. It takes all kinds of readers. And all kinds of books.

I don't read as much as I used to, at least not since I started writing. A bit sad to admit this, but I've become that person who really only reads for a few minutes before bed. I always really look forward to it, but the bottom line is that by that point in the evening, I'm tired. Like, really tired. And not just because I will have already taken some sort of sleep aid. So after only a few pages, I can no longer stay awake. I'm not proud of this, meaning I actually like myself better when I read more.

The above picture represents a recent rare weekend at a charming B&B up in the mountains where there really wasn't anything to do besides read or play checkers in the parlor. (There wasn't even a TV in the room! Which tells you how often I find myself at a B&B in the mountains.) That was sort of my plan though. To rest and read, also write. But mostly read.

I've gone from preferring fiction in my youth to preferring non-fiction as an adult, but I did have a rare novel on my Kindle for this particular weekend. I haven't finished it, still, which goes to show you just how much I prefer non-fiction (the physical book in the picture is non-fiction and I finished in no time). And yes, whatever it may say about me, I read the People magazine. It has for longer than I can remember been the only magazine I pay to subscribe to. A girl's gotta stay informed on trends, after all. Even if she's about 2 months behind in reading them and always shares celebrity gossip with friends only to have them respond that it's old news.

Whatever reading material you keep on your nightstand or bring with you to mountain B&B retreats, I hope it enriches your life (I'm looking at you, People), offers you solace and inspiration, and that you never stop turning to the written word for the escape/nourishment/laugh/knowledge you need. And if you see me at an author event, please, for the love of all that is good, stop and buy a book!

JUL
19

I Want to be Famous

 

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I've come to terms with the fact that it will never be mine, fame and copious amounts of money, and really, that's OK with me. I rather enjoy paying my bills each month, saving where I can, fighting with the bank--let's call them Schmells Schmargo--to get them to overturn $90 worth of fees I should have never been hit with (in the end they refunded only $50.50, and it still felt like a small victory). On one hand, that I care so much about bank fees makes me feel a little bit desperate, but on the other hand, we're talking about 90 freaking dollars, not to mention the principle of the thing (I'm talking to you, Schmells Schmargo), and despite all the indignities that come with being a regular person (think coupons, sales, packing lunch, buying off-brand, fighting with Schmells Schmargo), I find the struggle quite invigorating. It's living. But every now and then, I just want to be famous. I want to breathe easy about retirement, to have living in the most expensive city in the country (NYC) followed by the second (hello, California) not even phase me, to buy my parents a beautiful house, to be so cute and popular that my picture shows up in the weekly People magazine. Heck, I'd even settle for occasionally just being recognized while out in public.

Just prior to leaving New York, I spent the day with a celebrity. He's not an A-lister, but he's very well known, and I found it thrilling just to be in the presence of someone who was stopped everywhere we went (at the botanical gardens, at dinner, at Target) for autographs and pictures. I felt famous simply by association. Even as I could tell he was years weary of these being-stopped-in-the-street moments, all I could think was how much better my life would be if such things happened to me. If the manager sent out free dessert simply because I was dining in his restaurant. If the people at the table next to me asked for a photo. If I had a bajillion Twitter followers. Or even 250.

My celebrity friend is a singer, and a very good one, too, but since he hasn't been focusing on recording for some years now, he hasn't exactly been "working." On our day about town, I was just finishing up my gemology sabbatical and getting ready to start my new job, and I was a little sad (translation: completely depressed) about having to say goodbye to the delightful world of Not Having a Day Job. I said as much to my Famous Friend when he began to complain about having nothing to do. Now, see, isn't that interesting? He was complaining about having nothing to do.

Me: "Having just experienced a phase of life where I had no job and no responsibilities, it was pretty much the best thing ever."

FF: "Yeah, but you were still working toward being a gemologist. You had a goal."

Maybe it's just a classic case of the grass always being greener. It's just that celebrity grass always seems like it's the greenest. Not to say that my Famous Friend envies my life (I wouldn't wish Schmells Schmargo fights on anybody), but does he envy parts of it? Parts of a regular person life? I think he does, and that makes me feel good inside. I'm still never going to be famous, but I'll settle for knowing that there are aspects of my life--even the mundane, lowly ones--that are enviable even to those who appear to have it all. I'll settle for my day about town with my famous friend, both of us singing in his car at the top of our lungs. I'll settle for that drive, the NYC skyline before us, and the way he said "Tali, sing girl!" when I hit the high note.

OCT
22

The Shredder

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I have company coming into town this weekend. This is rather momentous, as no one ever has cause to come through Cleveland, so needless to say, my spare room needs a lot of work. Not only is it my writing room, but it's also the dump-anything-you-don't-want-to-hang-up-or-put-away-or-deal-with-right-now room.

Full printed out and marked up drafts of both of my manuscripts were in there, and since it seemed a little weird to just drop them in one of those Shred-It bins (nothing good can come from leaving manuscripts anywhere...isn't that the point of The Words?), I sat down last night to the task of shredding them. Of course, after about twenty minutes of shoving a constant stream of papers through the machine, I started to get sentimental. They were my words. My drafts. All my corrections and edits a smattering of red across each page. It doesn't matter, it won't be worth anything to anyone someday because notoriety is probably not in my cards, but it was enough to make me stop shredding. Well, that, and I had broken the shredder.

Tonight's task: Removing the year+'s worth of People magazines also being kept in the spare room and that need to be recycled. Pretty sure those I can part with.

OCT
03

I know what you read last summer

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Pretty sure I've mentioned before my obsession with People magazine, and one of my favorite things they do are those "books you should read for [insert whatever season it is]" features. It isn't so much reading the reviews of the books, but I love the picture that accompanies the whole thing...it will have all the books stacked. For some reason I just love looking at all those book spines in a row; love getting a glimpse about what the actual books themselves look like.

So here is my version, except instead of "books you should read for summer," mine is really a "books I did read this summer" stack. I've talked about all of them except the last 3, so let me just briefly say that The History of Love was creative and endearing and definitely worth reading (if not somewhat confusing to keep track of all the different story lines), Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me was absolutely hilarious and I liked it way more than Tina Fey's, and The Fault in Our Stars was a good effort on what turns out to be very intense subject matter, but I just can't get into YA anymore.

My total for the family summer reading competition was 2024 pages, (earning me $20.24). I beat my sister but not my Mom, but I don't know if anyone's ever beaten Mom. In any case, there were some good reads in that pile. And now it's fall, which means I'll have to see what People magazine says I should be reading. Those book spines are calling my name.

JAN
30

Epic Fail: Peasant Dinner

I read an article recently about how we tend to flip flop our meals when it comes to the digestive ideal. Most people grab a quick, scant breakfast (or skip it altogether) and end up overindulging come dinner time. The article says we've got it all wrong. That we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a peasant. This seemed do-able, so today is day 5 of Operation Meal Quantity Flip-flop. True that it's been tough to carve out extra time in the mornings to actually cook breakfast (because this basically means getting up earlier....groan), but my big, delicious breakfast is now a highlight of the day. My lunches haven't really changed, as they were probably already prince-like (not too big, not too small), but where I'm totally failing is the peasant dinner. Because when I get home from work, I'm hungry. Really, really hungry. So I eat my peasant dinner and promptly follow it up with a real dinner. Which is, of course, exactly what this style of eating is supposed to help me avoid. But I ask you, what's so wrong with eating breakfast AND dinner like a king? Besides, I'm pretty sure this article came from the People magazine (since it's the only one I read), so I really should take all health advice with a grain of salt. Or an entire pinch....sprinkled over my morning hashbrowns.