Advice that shouldn’t have to be given, and yet…

You know how sometimes people give you advice that is so simple that it’s actually kind of revolutionary? There was a lot of that at Juniper. One of the best things that I heard that week, in various ways from most every author, is that you can’t fetishize your writing process. If you say you only write on your laptop in the back table of a Starbucks after work, you’re probably going to make excuses instead of writing anywhere else. Even worse, the pressure of being where you think you should be able to write will probably make the actual writing harder. I don’t suffer as much with physical process, but I think this applies to deadlines as well. Part of the undergrad struggle is having only barely enough time to write for each class deadline, amongst a ton of other stuff essays and work issues and that tiny shred of hope for a social life that we all desperately cling to. Most stories I’ve turned in came from the 48 hours before a due date, from a pretty uninspired idea and an all-nighter to fill a page count. Usually something decent comes out of revising it, but I rarely really love what I end up with. This is where the single most frequently given piece of advice comes in: you have to do something related to writing everyday. Writing. Reading. Blogging? (Does that count? I say it does.) The combination of these two kind of leads to Arisa Wright’s perfectly flooring statement, “I think we all take ourselves so seriously. When you get that relaxation, that’s where the juicy stuff happens.” My problem lately is that I have loose guidelines for an extension on my Great Author Immersion directed study so I’m not forced to write right this second. Plus, I’m trying to work on planning and spending time on these. Which is actually making me way too attached to the ideas to actually get anything done as far as real writing. It turns out these simple pieces of advice are harder to follow than they seem. But in the interest of not taking myself so seriously, I decided to try something that’s maybe actually like, fun? Groundbreaking, I know.

Soooooo, today my writing process is leftover gluten free Pieology (for obvious reasons), a movie I’ve seen a billion times so I can listen but not have to pay attention (Twilight, chosen for soundtrack, aesthetically pleasing color scheme, and Rob Pattinson, obviously), and the fantastic Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half (which if you haven’t read I must insist you get off my blog and read everything she has ever created RIGHT NOW). This is the writing process for someone who is trying very hard to be “chill” or whatever. I feel very very good about it.

xx, Tab

(The Coming Home Post I Never Posted)

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and call Juniper the pivotal moment of my life thus far. But it’s not even a limb cause it really was the most life-changing thing I’ve ever experienced. The whole live blogging idea kind of fell apart when I realized that actually living the experience was going to take every ounce of focus that I had, but I took insane amounts of notes and I’m going to work on documenting the experience over the next few weeks. Last week, I feel I earned a place in the writing community in a way that I never would have had the courage to claim otherwise. Like, I feel like a writer.

I know that sounds so lame, but there’s no other way to explain it. It was like this huge lovefest of similarly introverted weirdos supporting each other as they put themselves out there. It was also massive amounts of public transportation, the most horrendous mosquito attack I’ve ever encountered, rain and hella humidity, a little bit of the best sorority around, and much more beer than I expected. I have fallen frizzy haired head over mosquito feasted heels in love with Massachusetts, and now I’m sitting on the floor at LAX. So what kinds of thoughts does one encounter when leaving a seven-day-long epiphany of what they want to do for the rest of their life?

Hint: NOT happy thoughts.

Is it possible that I was actually jolly about buses and planes only a week ago? Because that Tab is LONG gone in comparison to this one. I woke up around 5 am Eastern Time to get to ride with my roomie to the airport (bless her heart for waking up that early for me) and got to Boston with 40 minutes to be on my plane. But, I mean, you know, it’s me so naturally every process along the way has to go wrong. My bag apparently gained 6 pounds on the trip (so I desperately piled all 8 books into my already very heavy carry on backpack and threw out anything not absolutely necessary. RIP 2 towels, my big tumbler, and all my good hangers). I got stopped in security (again) and had to wait on a search (I forgot about the half drank Dr. Pepper in my stuffed carry on). I made it to my gate minutes before the last boarding call and got my seat switched from window to middle between a lady who immediately fell asleep and stayed asleep the entire way (which irrationally made me extremely angry) and a sweet old lady whose hip problems prevented her from being able to get out without me and Sleepy getting out of our seats first. Needless to say, 6 hours later we landed in San Francisco and I was absolutely radiating rage. All of my excitement to take pictures and share my experience was completely gone. I thought to myself that I pitied the fool who tried to communicate with me before I got to food.

Now would be a good time to point out that the Pride Parade was in San Francisco this weekend, right after Supreme Court finally let love win, so not only is everything absolutely packed, it was absolutely packed with paired off and fabulously well dressed gay men. So here’s me, dragging around my million pound backpack looking for something easy to eat, incredibly annoyed because the SF airport only has weird, snooty food choices when all I want in life are McDonald’s fries, make-up less in a the real kind of messy bun, a boy tee shirt, leggings, a grandpa cardigan, and a jacket around my waist, completely seething. I finally get my TEN DOLLAR quesadilla and start to calm down just a teeny bit as I eat it (And I basically eat it like a wild animal). That’s when I start to notice the people around me. The women and gay men looked sort of pityingly when they walked by, and the straight men avoided eye contact at all cost. It turns out I’m kinda scary when I’m mentally murdering people for existing too close to me. Figures.

Anyway, the point of this pointless anecdote was that the judgement of those more fabulous than myself prompted me to go make myself slightly better looking in the beautiful airport bathrooms, and things improved greatly from there. I’ve still been pretty grumpy since I got home because spending all that time doing what I want to do is making it extremely hard to do all the things that I don’t want to do, but this is like the crunch time where I have to make both of those things fit into my reality. Moral of the story: Don’t be a grump. Find what you’re supposed to do and take it with you. And when in doubt…

xx, Tab