#40StoriesProject

#40StoriesProject

Ten days from now, on my 39th birthday, I’m launching what I’m calling the #40StoriesProject. During the year leading up to my 40th birthday, I’ll be testing out 40 stories I hold about myself to see whether they’re actually true. 

Some of these experiments will be in service to larger goals. For example, “I hate rejection” will force me to write and submit more. “I’m messy” will help me figure out a sustainable way to keep my apartment clean. Others are smaller ways to force myself out of my comfort zone, e.g., “I can’t dance” and “I don’t like to look foolish.” Some will be minor things, such as “I don’t like red” and “I am a latte drinker” and “I have no interest in the SAW franchise.”

I have a full list ready but I’m sure many will change throughout the year as my priorities do. I’ll be using the #40StoriesProject hashtag to track progress in my Instagram stories and mark goal “completion” (whatever that means) on my feed, as well as on this blog.

How I read so much

How I read so much

I read 165 books last year. In a normal year, this would be embarrassing in the way it reveals how little of a social life I had, but it was 2020 so I guess it’s basically fine that all I did was read. Anyway, a lot of people have asked me how I read so much (I suspect that people often say this to justify a blog post they wanted to write anyway, but in this case I promise it’s really true!), so I decided to write this post in case you’d like to know as well.

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Start here ⬇️

Start here ⬇️

This week, I migrated all the posts from my old blog to this one, and in the process of going through my archives to make sure nothing was amiss, I discovered that, actually, I like a lot of my old writing! So I decided to make a post of posts. It’s like a fund of funds, except I’m not going to come to your Investment Committee meeting and explain what all is in it, I’m just going to share the links below.

Here are a few of my favorite older posts that should give you a sense of whether you’re going to hate-read or love-read this blog:

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The spirit, not the letter

The spirit, not the letter

During the month of January, I did four things every day: studied French, studied Japanese, wrote in my journal, and did one new thing. I rewrote the beginning of a novel I started in 2018 so that I can query agents. I read (and this is embarrassing) 29 books.

I once told a friend who asked me how I get so much done that I spend half my time ripping through my to-do list and the other half drunk in a gutter. It was a joke, or at least more of one than it used to be. But I am nothing if not inconsistent. I don’t do “balance.” I’m either on the treadmill every day or “Exercise? I don’t know her.” I eat a fully vegan diet or one that is exclusively mac and cheese. I love both things and people wildly or not at all. That Carly Rae Jepsen song “Too Much”? Oh yeah, I do know her.

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How to have a nice life in quarantine, part 1

How to have a nice life in quarantine, part 1

Quar is hell. But does it have to be? Not according to my Instagram, which we all know is a perfect facsimile of real life! Joking aside, though, most of us have spent A LOT of time at home for the better part of a year now, and it’s getting kind of old.

My friend, director Ivy Jelisavac, mentioned that she was interested in reading something about how to have a nice life in quarantine, so I decided to use that as a writing prompt. It’s really hard, all of this—and in different ways for different people—so while I don’t have all the answers, I can tell you what’s worked for me. I’m not going to claim I’m thriving in all of this, but I’m not, like, super miserable, which seems like a victory in these times, which are, as well you know, unprecedented.

This is the first part of a ???-part series (I’ll replace those question marks with a number in the next few weeks). Here are a few ideas to start with:

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5 things I love: Week of January 10

5 things I love: Week of January 10

1. Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

I saw Pizza Girl on a best of 2020 list and knew I’d love it. It reminds me of a Jenny Offill book but with weirder characters and a more-warped plot. I breezed through it and really hope Frazier has another book on the horizon!

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Year of New 2021: Week 1

Year of New 2021: Week 1

I decided at the end of last year that I’d attempt to restart my Year of New project on January 1. I abandoned last year’s attempt pretty early on, even before COVID-19’s impact fully hit the States, as I quickly realized it was feeling more like a chore than a creative outlet.

I sort of feel like I spent the end of 2020 in creative recovery, similar to what Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way aims to do for its students. 202 was a long, hard year where I didn’t feel like doing anything creative. In the last couple of months, however, I could feel this start to change. But instead of launching into something big, I wanted to try a smaller, more incremental endeavor. This led me back to Year of New.

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I wonder what I’ll miss about you

I wonder what I’ll miss about you

I miss very specific things about the last man I loved. His long fingers, strumming a guitar in my kitchen. Both of us singing along to the classic-rock station while we drove through the hills of Central New York. The mixed-media art he made out of reconstructed musical instruments and hung in the woods for his friends’ annual music festival. The pure happiness on his face the time we met a giant Malamute named Gershwin on a snowy street in Hudson, New York. A Thanksgiving trip to Montreal where we ate foie gras poutine and watched Beverly Hills Cop and spent hours wandering Bozar. The way he’d randomly surprise me with bodega flowers or hide a copy of Carrie Brownstein’s book on my bookshelf for me to find. He knew me, in a way I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to know me—still don’t, except for maybe you.

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