(Holy shit wow.)

Doing a little sprucing up around the homestead. Spring cleaning and all. I even sorted through my bookshelf (it’s true) and made a little give-away pile (remain calm).

Flipping through one, I found a pencil-scribbled note from 04/23/12 on the back page. Almost a year ago. I’d just gotten back from a trip to Memphis. A really great weekend with friends and family. A wedding I’d been looking forward to for…years.

So it’s only natural I was experiencing the “post-birthday party” letdown feelings. But I see something beyond the general gloominess that follows a fun vacation. I see restlessness here that I’m glad to report has settled. I think. For now.

Perfect not-cold sweater weather outside. Sun setting. Everything green. I try to look at my surroundings with fresh eyes. What if this were my vacation spot? My refuge or escape? I’d think it was beautiful. Breeze. Birds. Sunshine. Trees. Peace.

How can I bring vacation-me home and let her roam around my everyday life? She’s so hopeful and happy. So eager and open to good. Creative and relaxed. Energized. Her eyes want to notice things. Her eyes want things. Her body craves movement. Her mind needs food. She sees possibility. People like her and think she’s fine.

Post-birthday-party-me clearly saw vacation-me as the type of person she wanted to be. “Her eyes want things.” I underlined that word…and I think I know why. When I’m feeling stuck, I can lose my ability to want things. Drive, desire, chutzpah — what have you. But there are moments when I can get it back: in a new place, with an old friend, at a movie or in a book. Hell, sometimes a particularly good snack can transport me to a better place. You never know.

Book scribbles

Later that night, Ben Rattray (founder of change.org) was on the Daily Show, and I scribbled some more notes in the back of that same book. (Nice pre-loaded blog post fodder, last-year-me!)

“Putting your efforts and life’s work into making the change you need in yourself.” (paraphrase)

(Holy shit wow.)

Ben Rattray — 1st attempt FAILED.

These scribbles are a little more cryptic. But, thanks to the internet, I found a clip of the episode. And here’s what he actually said.

The paraphrased scribble was from Jon Stewart, actually, and I got pretty close: “Incredible story. Putting your efforts and your life’s work behind the change you wanted to make in your own being.”

In other words, hey lackluster SJ, you know this hopeful & happy, creative & energized person exists. But you’re having trouble tracking her down. In the meantime, what can you do to make your world a more hopeful, happy, creative, energized place? Do those things. She’ll come back. 

The idea sounds absurdly simplistic when I spell it out like that, and I’m also not sure I’m completely articulating my point…it’s bouncing around in my brain, but I can’t quite reel it in.

If you have six minutes to spare, watch Rattray’s full interview. If not, just take his final words:

The power that people have to make a difference right now, with social media, is far greater than ever before. and if you identify an issue you care passionately about […] you have a greater chance of success than you can possibly imagine.

(Holy shit wow.)


where have i been?

It’s been a month since my last post. (That sounds very formal and confessional, doesn’t it?) It’s been exactly a month. I have lots of good excuses. I’ve been busy… I’ve been out of town… I’m focusing on other things… But. Here’s the thing:

I don’t really feel like writing lately.

(Is there a more frightening sentence in all of language?)

My friend Jeff blogged about a similar feeling once (on my birthday, turns out), coining the term “Creanxiety” to describe the particular anxiety of creative folks (or, the particular creativity of anxious people?…).

(And, yes, I’m pretty sure he coined it. His blog is google hit #1.)

Creanxiety: the uncomfortableness that results from not being able to express what’s inside to the outside. The feeling of wearing a shirt that’s just-too-small. All day.
And that shirt is your whole life.

So, I don’t really feel like writing lately.

This is the drop in the well that never makes a splash. You lean in closer, ears aching for a sound. But there isn’t one, no matter how hard you listen. You wonder, How long is this going to continue? You’re afraid to wonder, Will I always be in this nowhere-place?

There are a handful of you lovely people out there who have told me how you enjoy reading this old thing. When I hear this, I am always grateful, so I say thank you. But I usually also tell you, “I enjoy it, but I don’t do it enough…”

That’s not really an apology. It’s a cry for help.

Since I don’t really feel like writing lately.

For a writer, that’s like saying, “I’m dying here.” And I mean that. With all the un-ironic, meta-emo self-awareness I can muster.

Now is the time to lay hands on and pray. Now is the time to bring casseroles and cold cuts. Now is the time to talk in hushed tones, urgent and concerned.
Now is the time for the drop to hit bottom.

Let’s all hope it makes a sound.

ABC yadda yadda Z

November is here! The month of month-long challenges: No-Shave-November…National Novel Writing Month…and now, most famously, ABCDEFriend-Blog-Challenganza. (Official name still pending.)

Wet Hot American Alphabet

This month, three friends and I will embark on the epic blog-adventure-task of being inspired by a different letter every day on our blogs. (Or reasonably close to every day… so long as we get through all 26 letters in the next 30 days. We are Morgan Spurlock.) There will be photography, drawing, writing, music perhaps…

It’s exciting! My last blog challenge (see February 2011) was a surprise smash success, so I can only hope the added motivation of partners-in-crime is going to give me the extra push I need to make it through 26 posts in 30 days.

I imagine it’ll go a little something like this:

And also this:

What it is.

Super awesome Wet Hot poster found here.
I saw the show in L.A. last June. It was the berries.
B is for berries.