follow tali on ...

the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
FEB
19

Catching Up

I didn't realize an entire month had gone by since my last post, but before we discuss anything else, we simply must discuss this chicken. Er, this not chicken. As a vegetarian, I've been thrilled with all the fake meats that have become so prevalent (and dare I say...popular?), but chicken is notably harder to imitate than ground beef. That said, I was pretty excited about KFC getting in the Beyond Meat game. Admittedly, I was a teensy bit less excited after eating it, only because I guess I had hoped somehow that the texture would be more chicken-like, but coated in that delicious coating and dipped in a tangy sauce, it's another solid non-meat option when opting for fast food. (Word to the wise, 6 of these "nuggets" are MUCH more filling than 6 standard chicken nuggets. And in more wise words, Quorn has my favorite meatless nuggets. Try them if you haven't.)

What a month it's been. From fake meats to making my first-ever lasagna (with, you guessed it, Beyond Meat!), there have been two work trips (including a complimentary upgrade to a $1900 per night villa the likes of which I will never find myself in ever again), one family trip, a new at-home work station, a private showing of a record-breaking $1 Million dollar pearl, multiple meet-ups with dear friends from my hometown, a new kitchen table (it only took two of us an hour and a half to put it together), my first runs both on a treadmill and in sub-30-degree temperatures, a probably related new running injury, and, naturally, as much Olympics viewing as I've been able to fit in.

All this said, I've done NO WRITING over this same time period. I've got it on my list for this blessed long weekend, and I'm looking forward to getting back into it. It's always a bit hard when a new book comes out to let the launch mode you've been so focused on go and to move back into writing mode. Especially when you're starting a new project, it can take a while for things to start cranking. But just from the stray hours here and there while preparing for the launch of Yuppie where I did manage to buckle down and write something, I'm already almost 20% done with what MIGHT end up being my next book. So I'm excited to see where this new little manuscript baby might take me. I'm equally excited to see how much progress they've made on fake chicken by the time it's done.

NOV
21

How It's Going

It's been a while! But I wanted to report on how the launch of Yuppie is going, mostly because this was the first "virtual" launch I've done. And by virtual, I don't even mean that I organized some sort of Zoom-esque book reading, because that sounded awful. And complicated. So my traditional book signing invites that get mailed out were replaced by general announcements, giving readers the chance to order autographed copies of Yuppie that would ship directly to them.

I have to say, it's been quite delightful to see the names come across of books for me to sign, and I've enjoyed the process of signing, packing, and shipping them all over the land. And really, I mean it. I've shipped books to New York, Ohio, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Indiana, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Canada, New Jersey, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington DC, Virginia, and, of course, many to various California locations. I've become such a frequent visitor at the post office that they know me if not by name, then by the blue Scotch shipping tape I wrap all the books in. "Do you WRITE books?" one of the employees finally asked me. "Because I see your stuff everywhere," he continued, referring to the signature blue wrapping. "Yes!" I replied. "Yes I do!"

Of course, I should mention that getting people to order this way (by actually taking action to request their signed copies) has been harder than I thought, meaning less people have done it than I hoped. I figured placing an order on a computer is much easier than driving to an event and sitting through a reading and waiting in line, but there's something about those events, I guess. Being there, taking your friends with you, seeing the author, going to lunch after and making a day of it, etc. And once at an event, you have a pretty captive audience, in that they're all going to buy books. So that's been a bit disappointing. But considering how much of an author's sales that book stores take after a signing, financially I've ended up ahead of where I would normally be at this point. So it's all good, and overall it's been a fun change-up to the way I usually launch books.

If you haven't ordered your autographed copy yet, you most definitely still can! There's some blue Scotch shipping wrap with your name on it. (And with a few more orders, I think I just might get my own parking space at the post office.)

OCT
09

A Cuppie of Yuppie

 

And then there were 5!! That's right my dear, small band of readers. My fifth book, Yuppie, is launching this month after much deliberation and back and forth regarding what to do about this pandemic. Since there is exactly nothing to be done about the pandemic, the book is launching anyway, although without the usual fanfare and in-person events and signings I so love doing. Admittedly, this is a huge bummer. As an author, these events and signings are such highlights for me. They also help me sell books. In case this is in any way unclear to you, BOOKS ARE HARD TO SELL. They are exponentially harder to sell in a global pandemic. And so I hope that those of you who may have attended one of the signings will still choose to purchase a book.

This book focuses on my young professional years, answering a question that absolutely none of you asked: what is it really like to work in business? From start-ups to Corporate America to non-profits, I attempt to answer this question, at least from my own experiences. There are certainly benefits to going the business route, and on most days, I do find satisfaction in the work I do. But there are also downsides, and so also on most days, I find myself wishing I had become a teacher.

Since I'm not doing any in-person readings, I thought I would attempt to read a few excerpts here in case anyone wants to listen to a bit of background on Yuppie and, more importantly, get a glimpse of my stellar Halloween decorations. I have no idea if the video will correctly post here, but for any who make it to the end and hear the slip-up that inspired the title of this blog entry, enjoy!! A cuppie of Yuppie for each of you this fall!

JUL
11

Thinking Woman

I love this little sculpture, that it's of a female and that she appears to be in thought. I've also enjoyed decorating my house with stacks of my favorite books--books being such a big part of what I myself think about. Whether writing them or reading them, one might argue the best thing about books is that they make you think, and usually about things outside your comfort zone, things you know nothing about, or things you never had a reason to even contemplate prior to reading about them. So I really couldn't think of a better spot for this little sculpture.

I confess I'm behind on my 2021 reading goal. This tends to happen when I'm more focused on writing a book, but even though I haven't been writing one in 2021 (the one I wrote in 2020 is being typeset as we speak!!), it still seems like reading hasn't been getting the time it deserves. And I feel badly whenever this is the case. It's so important--and enjoyable--that it's hard to accept that any excuse could really be good enough.

To prove that at least some reading has been happening, I'm currently reading Ethan Kross' Chatter and really enjoying it. Because as long as we're talking about thinking, I am a chronic overthinker. It keeps me up at night, the various stressful or unpleasant things I think and worry about, and while some people are better than others at internal self-talk and diffusing negative chatter, I'm not one of those people. If I feel overwhelmed, I'm going to think about being overwhelmed until I am even more overwhelmed. If I'm worried about how a co-worker is going to interpret an email I'm worried may come across with a tone I didn't intend, I'm going to think about all the ways it could blow up in my face. I try to think of myself as just interested in playing out all the scenarios, just wanting to be prepared for any number of outcomes, but there's really no sugar-coating the fact that I spend more time than I should worrying about insignificant things that usually blow over anyway. So, bottom line: it's a great book with actual suggestions for managing self-talk.

I also recently picked up (as in actually took it on a plane with me instead of my Kindle) an oldie but goodie, one of my absolute favorites, The Year of Magical Thinking. It's been years since I read it, but it's such an honest and refreshing look at grief. I love Didion's mentions of the memory vortices we get sucked into and the way irrational thoughts (such as being prepared in case a departed loved one comes back) can actually seem quite rational. It's hard to fathom the back to back losses she endured, but the rest of us are forever bettered by the books she wrote from those experiences.

So, I'm still reading, (however slowly), still anticipating the release of my new book in the fall, and newly experimenting with a topic that may become my next book. In short, I'm thinking more than ever. My little sculpture is in good company.

 

APR
17

On Not Working

I recently took a week off of work to stay home and do nothing. Well, I did sneak out to check out the Carlsbad Flower Fields (where I snagged the blooms pictured above). So I didn't entirely stay home. And I did go through my new manuscript 4 times to re-work some paragraphs and transitions after getting it back from my editor. So I didn't entirely do nothing. But I honestly couldn't remember a time where I'd ever done that before...took a week off work and didn't actually go anywhere.

I highly recommend it.

The thing about not working but getting paid for it is that there is literally nothing better. I mean, who wouldn't love to not have to work? But most of us have to provide for ourselves. It's one of the complaints I bring up in this new book...the frustration around people who reference working girls as "career women," as if there is any other type of woman for us to be.

And speaking of this new book, one of the last edits I made before turning it into my editor was a revision to the section where I talk about the notion of being a workaholic. I am decidedly NOT one, even though I draw satisfaction from the work I do, so I try and limit work to 8 hours a day as much as possible. In making the point that I like working, just not all the time, there's a line in the book where I had said, "I want to work, just not for more than 8 hours a day." Yet the line didn't sit quite right. Because I wish I didn't have to work. I wish I could have more weeks like the one I just had, sitting in my house editing a manuscript with an occasional outing to appreciate the beauty of nature.

"I want to work--and by that I mean I most definitely don't want to work..." is the beginning of how I ended up amending the sentence to make it more accurate. It's sitting better with me now, having admitted that I wish I didn't have to work at all. Alas, it's our lot. So we'll have to settle for quick trips to the flower fields of life whenever we can get away. My suggestion is to take those trips whenever you can get them, to carve specific time out just for this, and to not feel guilty about a few days away from the office. It will all be there when you get back, just as you left it. The flowers, on the other hand, are fleeting. So go. See them. Then come back and make any revisions you need to.

AUG
30

Re-arranging

Sometimes it's hard to know whether you like something so much because you get used to it the way it is or because it's actually good. It's a quandary I find myself in after finishing a manuscript, because there's usually an initial order in which I write and organize my stories. And I do get used to them being in this order, to the point that it can be hard for me to tell if they would be better if I changed some of them up, switch their orders, etc. Or more specifically, it's hard for me to actually move them, even if I do think they would be better in a different chapter.

Most of my books I don't write in order. I simply pick a story that sounds good to me in that moment and write it. Then I pick another one. I don't really think about order or sequence until all the stories are written. This is, I believe, the first time I've ever written a book in the actual chronological order in which it will appear in the book. As such, when I laid out all the stories (with this super sophisticated process of writing their key words on pieces of cut up printer paper), I didn't find as many things to move around, because they were pretty much where I wanted them to be. I only moved two stories after laying this all out, and, if I'm being honest, I've already moved both of them back to where they were. Again, it's like, is this just because I'm used to it that way or because it really is better? 

There are two additional stories that I feel *could* potentially be moved somewhere else, but I can't find anywhere that I feel their placement would be better than where it is now. So I'm inclined to leave them where they are. Which would make this the first time that I really did just write a book from start to finish in exactly the order in which everything will read in the final version. Something about that feels...cool? Neat? Interesting? Just me? OK.

I've probably mentioned that this is a book about work, and it's also the first time that I've finished a book and then had to write an epilogue because events happened that sort of affected the ending. Then more events happened and I had to edit the epilogue. Seriously, it's been just about the weirdest couple of weeks at work that I've ever had. Talk about re-arranging! Who knows what the ending will be by the time this thing actually comes out?? Stick around and see...hopefully summer/fall of 2021.