oh for crying out loud

“EIGHT WEEKS?! Dear god!” is what I just said to myself, after doing the math on how long it’s been since January 1. Since I last wrote anything on this “blog” that I “write.” The irony is not lost on me that I write for a living but can’t, for the life of me, write for fun. But I’ve been thinking about it, I swear.

If I had a nickel for all the times I’ve almost-blogged the last few months… (Have you enjoyed reading my almost-blogging? Been real fun, right?) That nagging voice of inner Resistance will find any good excuse to keep you from writing, even the sneaky-sneaky Thinking About Writing: the seductive almost-but-not-quite euphemism for not writing at all.

You feel me, fellow creative-procrastinators out there? Forgive me muses, for I have sinned. I have royally fallen off the blogging wagon. But more like I fell off the wagon…and then a Native American tribe came along and took me in, like what happened to the lady in Dances With Wolves, and then I’m not seen again until years later, when I teach a handsome stranger how to say “buffalo” — and also how to love.

That kind of wagon-falling. Severe.

One disgruntled reader’s affectionate scolding has been bouncing around in my brain (since he told me this…on Christmas Eve):

You owe it to yourself to carve out time for writing every week.

Owe it to myself. That phrase has teeth. And they’ve been gnawing on the nails of my conscience…

Another loyal reader called me out a few weeks ago, saying a simple paragraph would at least be something for her to read. This was a slight revelation: maybe I don’t have to spend as much time perfecting posts, if time is what keeps me from writing. It’s a perfectionist’s paradox: If I take some pressure off myself, care a little less, I actually accomplish much more — and much betterly, too — than when I push myself to the edge of insanity with anxiety and unreachable expectations.

(Hullo therapy bills, you are now paying dividends.)

So. Here we go. An attempt at trying to TRY a little less. Try less in order to DO more. (Hullo Yoda.)

Most of my almost-written blog posts stem from random snippets of inspiration that I collect — mostly in a series of docs on my desktop, curated by month. I’ve been performing this ritual, a lovely mix of hyper-organization and typical-me haphazardness, for years. It amounts to a digital scrapbook of articles I read, funny things coworkers did, things I learned, encouragement from friends, ideas for screenplays…all the things that bounce around in my brain. (Some of the All The Things.)

So maybe that’s the twenty-thirteen 2.0 of whatsarahisreading: instead of a few posts and a self-imposed pressure to Say Something Important, maybe many shorter posts that just try to Say Something.

(If nothing else, I know this will keep one of you happy: looking at you, HKB.)

So. Here’s one Frequently Snippeted Topic: Television. One of the realities of a post-30 Rock world for me, besides the genuine sense of loss I felt that next Friday morning, was an immersion into the world of online entertainment writing. I found comfort in Emily Nussbaum’s New Yorker analysis and Vulture’s top 10 lists alike, both serving as that welcome reminder during any time of grief: you are not alone.

Maybe that’s what we have to look forward to in the new blog year. Thinking about little slices of life (a lot of them TV-based, let’s just be real) and looking for small reasons to remember you are not alone. Along with the usual self-criticism and idiosyncratic liberties with syntax. That all seems like a good enough reason to hop back on the wagon.


Best Thing About Super Bowl Sunday

[ Reminder: our new Blog Challenge, now that it’s red carpet season, is to blog about “best-of” experiences. ]

I’m not a football fan. This should not surprise you avid readers—or any person who’s ever encountered me for 5 minutes or longer. (Though you may recall that I discovered the magic of live games back in December: read all about it.) Otherwise, it’s not for me, and that’s fine. Go crazy, America! But this, oh this, fantastical little number from our friends at NBC…it makes me do a touchdown dance of my own:

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Genuinely, I’m smiling from ear to ear. In some strange way, watching this video has helped remind me what I really want most out of life (yes, for one, impromptu Broadway-smash dance numbers…plus an ongoing reality-based friendship with Tina Fey) but also THIS. All of that. Comedy. Acting. Writing. Surrounding myself with creative folks who help me be better at all of that.

I’m lucky that I get a lot of that from my job. My “day job”—as we creative-types tend to call our not-quite-dream employment—is actually quite a wonderful way to spend my days. I get to write for a living, and I work with amazing people who are fun and talented and couldn’t be nicer to me or more understanding toward my many creative-person foibles. So when I talk about the future, I’m not begrudging the Now. I’m just saying that I’ve always felt that maybe something else could be my ultimate sweet spot…

I know I’m also lucky to be a part of The Skinny Improv, to get to work with all the fun and talented people I’ve met there in the last 5+ years. That place saves my life again & again, through giving me friends and a safe outlet for my pun-based urges.

But. Still. There’s a small part of me that wishes—sometimes with enough strength to move all the other parts of me—for something more. The same part of me that used to take notes when watching SNL. And kept a journal after every improv show. And spent hours in front of the bathroom mirror making up elaborate scenes for herself as Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ onscreen girlfriend. (Yeah, I know everybody thinks he’s gay now. We’re cool.)

I’m excited, frankly, to keep writing at work and making funny things with my friends, and getting more serious about the other dreams at the same time. Letting that small, wish-filled part come out to play more often.

She’s fun and talented, too.

Arrrrrrren’t you glad this is a thing?

So…a restless late-night google hunt for haircut inspiration tonight led me (where else) to searching for photos of Tina Fey. Many of the same magazine shots show up over & over, but after some scrolling I found this little gem of variety:

The Bookaneers want to read to your booty...

I’m kind of in love with it. A lot.

I vaguely remember watching this when it happened (the blog post where the photo lives is from April 2009. You can watch the video there, too.), but I’d forgotten how delightful it all is.
British accents!
A dog with an eyepatch!!
Tina Fey teaching Elmo the value of reading!!!

Just watch how Elmo reacts to the world. It’s amazing how much emotion his little “face” can express. This is a Muppet who knows how to enjoy life. He’s curious about everything and delighted with each new discovery.

(Elmo : Sesame Street :: Kenneth Parcell : 30 Rock )

Any favorite Sesame Street memories, readers?? One of mine has to be the little man who was painted on the juice glass and had stop-motion adventures in the kitchen…