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.
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:
Continue reading “Start here ⬇️”
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.
Continue reading “The spirit, not the letter”
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!
Continue reading “5 things I love: Week of January 10”
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.
Continue reading “I wonder what I’ll miss about you”
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.
Continue reading “2021 New Year’s Resolution: Roll with it, baby”
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.
Continue reading “Élodie and Me”
At the beginning of this month, I started Tiffany Han‘s Raise Your Hand Say Yes Inner Circle, a yearlong course in changing your life. That’s not how Tiffany frames it, really, but this is the second time I’ve done the Inner Circle and that’s the most succinct and accurate thing I can say about it. As I write this, I find myself mourning the fact that we’re already one-twelfth of the way through this cycle.
Continue reading “October wins”
I was asked to write this list for a class I’m taking today, or a class I would be taking today but will now be watching a recording of on Sunday as I got a late invite to a(n outdoor, distanced, masked) wedding.
Ten years ago, something bad happened and I lost most of my closest friendships. I’m forever shocked that I survived the year that followed, and as a person whose body typically reminds me of residual trauma before I bother to look at the calendar, I’ve been apprehensive about living through the anniversary of all of it.
Weirdly, though, thinking back on everything that happened in the context of what’s happening now, I see it as proof that I can live through most things. That year of my life was truly unlivable, and the one after it wasn’t much better. I hated myself and questioned all of my life choices—the bad ones, naturally, but also the ones that looked good on paper. I believed my life was irredeemably bad and, worse, that I deserved it. It was a long time before I recovered from this mindset in any meaningful way. For years, it dictated who I let into my life and how I let them treat me.
Continue reading “Making a mess”