Monthly Archives: July 2010

Living in an Angsta’s Paradise

I have officially become a tortured artist.

I had never believed in that crap before.  To me, the “tortured artist” was an anachronistic idea that allowed angst-ridden weirdo-artists to swath themselves in alcohol, drugs, and sex addiction.  Were their lives really that hard?  I doubted it.  

Then, I moved out to LA in my vain attempt to break into the writing world.  In all my vanity, I  had decided that it would take me two years, tops, to break into the TV writing biz, get on a show, convince network execs to give me a deal, and then write comfortably from the cold, unhappy winters of the East Coast, corrupting the minds of the 18-49 demo with intellectualized, comedic, drivel. 

I’m only three months in, but I’m already behind on my very-unrealistic two-year plan.

And so, every afternoon, as I toil through a corporate job which pays the bill but doesn’t get me any closer to the so-called “dream” of writing, I have the following (highly-annoying) conversation with myself:

OK, let’s set the stage for this little discussion.  Topic: my quarterlife crisis.  Yes, again.  Fine, this isn’t really a quarterlife crisis, unless I live to 100 – so if you want, we can probably call it a 30%-life crisis.  Well… then again, by the time I die, everyone will be living past 100 (hey, hey, healthcare).  That would make for a really long Happy-Birthday-from-Smuckers segment on the Today Show. Network television will be gone by then anyway.  Okay.  Get back on track.  We’ll call it a quarterlife crisis.  Although, “crisis” is much too overdramatic: perhaps it’s more of a “dilemma”?

Back to my dilemma.  Not that I’m freaking out, but… What am I doing here?  Am I doing the right thing?  If I want to write, shouldn’t I just quit my job and write?  But, it’s good to have a job.  And it’s not like I’m sitting on an unlimited pile of money.  Could there be alternative options, between this corporate life and the peripatetic, never-employed existence as a writer? (Is it weird that of all the writers I’ve met, 99% are men who wear Coke bottle glasses? Not even exaggerating).  Would I be better suited for advertising / journalism / magazine editing / or even academia? Should I settle on an existence that could take me back to the East Coast? Because although I could kick it in LA for 2 years, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it after that.

Maybe I should get an MFA.  Or an MBA.  Or maybe I should just start a routine of lying in fetal position every few hours to facilitate the osmotic transfer of ideas?  My friends all have legitimate jobs with workable hours and fat salaries and the promise of steady employment.  I could do that too, if I wanted.  But I don’t.  Or do I?  Maybe I just don’t know what I want.  (Heightened panic.)  What am I doing with my life??!?

Let’s watch Where Are They Now? Clips from The Biggest Loser.  That makes me feel better.  At least I’m not on the verge of a hypoglycemic coma.

I ate six cookies today.  Maybe I am…

Let’s get to the denouement.  I’m extraordinarily lucky.  I have options.  That might not seem like a good thing now, but in the long run, it is.  I just need to make up my mind and choose… choose the path I want to go down… — Why can’t I do it all??!?! — Calm down, crazy.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Stay in your job, and continue to write on the side.  — Even if I’m only writing educational finance parodies to ‘80s music??? — Sure.  Because, one day, you’ll have a breakthrough.  And if not, then at least you’ve tried, and you won’t ever regret it.

— Are you sure I won’t regret not selling out earlier?  Because the time value of money says I’ll regret it. —

You nerd.

Yeah, you’re right.


Filed under Careers, Life

The Young, Hip, Cat Lady

My friend wants to get a cat.

Of course, being a compassionate and caring friend, I immediately offered my thoughts on cutesy cat names like “Mitten” or “Cookiemonster.”  I helped her do research on cat breeds.  I even reassured her that cats sounded like great pets (less needy than dogs, more furry than fish).  And at no point did I wonder aloud, “Single and in your twenties… do you really want to get a cat?”

Yes, I think it’s bold and honorable that my friend is trying to shatter the glass litter box.  Cat ownership should not be limited to lonely, hunchbacked, elderly women who wear triangle-frame spectacles and veer wildly off-topic in everyday conversation.  The new Cat Lady demographic will skew younger, less nearsighted, and more lucid.  The cat companionship creed shall read: “Cats: A Young, Single Woman’s Best Friend.”

Haters will say that this is the beginning of the end for my friend.  They’ll say that cats are haughty and antisocial.  They’ll say that she won’t ever meet anyone walking her cat at the park (not anyone worth meeting, anyways).  They’ll say that she will end up an old, lonely, hunchbacked woman with a slew of cats gnawing at her toes, hoping that she’s dead.

But, who needs earthly human companions anyway?  No, a cat’s meow can’t alert us of burglars or help us set up a retirement plan.  Still, a sweet, declawed tabby cat can be a wonderful, low-cost, husband-alternative: one who will stay loyal, listen to your grievances, and obediently appear in your Christmas card photos dressed like a midget Santa Claus.  Plus, once your cat has babies, you’ll be able to fill the other half of your queen-sized bed with those warm bodies.  You may always have to settle for being big spoon (unless you decides to get a tiger), but at least you’ll have someone.

For my friend, it’s a big decision, of course… big enough to warrant a one-hour special on Animal Planet.  I just hope that she considers all the implications of her groundbreaking role as Young Cat Lady.  I don’t want her to have any regrets…

Speaking of regrets (and veering wildly off-topic), this weekend I saw a shirtless hiker with the following tattooed around his left nipple: L  (nipple) L.  And I did.


Filed under Life

The Boom and Busts

I’m worried.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been stuck in a rut.  I haven’t been able to get much writing done.  I’ve been hot-and-cold, trying to balance a few spurts of energy with an overwhelming desire to lounge around my apartment like a lazy zoo animal (one might call me a bipolar bear).  Last night, I built a pillow fortress so that I could Lay Like an Egyptian while playing Sporcle in bed.  It was really quite sad.

I’ve tried to get out of this rut.  I started an exercise routine (it’s on the Wii, but it still counts).  I took a cross-country trip home to Boston.  I even started reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which went against my “act coolly indifferent about the new ‘it’ book and pledge never to read it until it reaches the bargain bin at Borders” mantra.  But even with all these attempts to jolt myself out of inaction, I still feel like a booted car.

Recently, I’ve been thinking… what if it’s not just a rut?  Perhaps I’m a Boom and Bust, like Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods, or any young, attractive person who becomes heinously ugly as time passes by.  Once full of potential, with bright, rosy futures…the B&B is now the quintissential example of a person who peaked too soon.  So, am I one of them?  Am I on the way down, too?  If I am, indeed, Busting, then (1) can I make a comeback like Kobe post-rape or Hugh Grant post-prostitute?  Or am I just going to (2) flatline into oblivion, like Ryan Leaf and Jonathan Taylor Thomas??  And is this rut really the beginning of the end?  Am I going to just get worse and worse and worse until my head explodes into complete and utter failure?


No.  I’m not JaMarcus Russell.  Though I may be eating ice cream breakfast sandwiches today, soon enough, I’ll recover from this little rut. I’ll get my head back in the game.  Because I work too hard.  I want it too much.  I can’t be a Bust.

(Phew.  Thanks for the inner pep talk, me.)

…Plus, I don’t even think you can Bust without a Boom, right?


Filed under Life