How to quit

How to quit

I haven’t signed into my Twitter account since June 4. “I need to be on Twitter” is one of the stories I’m testing out during my #40StoriesProject, a yearlong attempt to learn which of the things I’m telling myself are outdated. The plan for this particular story was to stay off Twitter for three months, but having hit that milestone a few days ago, I don’t see myself going back. I was better informed when I was doomscrolling every day, but about what? If I want to know what’s happening in the world, I get the important stories elsewhere—newspapers, texts from friends, even Instagram. I don’t miss being extremely online, and my reduced exposure to, well, everything has freed up a lot of space and energy, which I’m putting toward personal projects after a lengthy creative drought during the pandemic. Even the alleged value of Twitter for someone interested in a writing career seems largely negated by how bad being on Twitter makes me feel about writers and writing.

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Are you sending rapid-fire emails and calling it a life?

Are you sending rapid-fire emails and calling it a life?

A few years ago I started going to therapy to figure out how to get my boyfriend to stop abusing me. I wasn’t the person in that relationship who most needed therapy, but I still needed it, and I was the person who was willing to go.

Anyway, even though my stated purpose for being in therapy was to deal with this specific situation, I found myself talking about work all the time. Good news for me: All of my issues were intertwined. I was letting a man control me through temper tantrums and gaslighting because I believed that, somewhere along the way, I had lost the right to manage my own life. And I had lost that right because, in my mind, I had become incompetent.

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#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.

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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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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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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2021 New Year’s Resolution: Roll with it, baby

2021 New Year’s Resolution: Roll with it, baby

Back in September, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution for the coming year would be the lyrics to “Roll With It” by Steve Winwood. Most years, I come up with a set of 5-10 goals for the year, but after looking at how last year’s list turned out, I realized it made no sense to try to commit to anything that might end up beyond my control. Instead, I’m going to attempt to give up my desire to control anything and lean in to whatever 2021 throws at me. The past couple of months of my life have been marked by tremendous resistance to what is, which is honestly a horrible way to live. I like my life to feel magical, and nothing feels less magical than living completely in my head, being angry about things I have no power over and fruitlessly trying to bend the universe to my will.

Enter Steve Winwood, my spiritual teacher.

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Élodie and Me

Élodie and Me

Élodie Clyde makes a perfect Negroni. On Sunday nights, she draws a lavender-scented bath, lights some candles, and soaks until the water begins to cool, rereading The Dud Avocado or The Golden Notebook. She always has champagne in the fridge, which she serves only when warranted, and in an assortment of mismatched antique teacups. Clad in a series of caftans, she hosts hours-long dinner parties that begin with elaborate spreads from Sahadi’s and end with a range of digestifs and board games. Her closet is filled with Ulla Johnson dresses and confusing t-shirts from Parisian concept stores. Élodie cares about other people’s feelings, but just enough; she never takes responsibility for them. Her life is big, but never suffocating.

Élodie Clyde doesn’t exist.

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