Sink-Row-Nis-City

During my first year of grad school, one of my classmates bought all of the first year students a copy of The Artist’s Way. He was so excited to share the gift of creative unblocking with our small but mighty group.

Not one of us cracked the binding.

He was devastated.

Fast forward nearly 8 years.

I had been thinking about [FINALLY] embarking on my Artist’s Way journey. The universe was giving me so many signs:

An acquaintance was nearly finished with the 12 week process and called it “life changing.”

For a few months, I had been hearing the book calling my name from the bookshelf.

I went on a cruise through the Panama Canal and had coffee with a Broadway veteran (who was also sailing and giving lectures). I was talking to her about my proclivity for self-sabotage and she immediately responded, “Have you ever done The Artist’s Way?”

Alright, universe. I was getting the message!

Meanwhile, I was still in my Eat Pray Love induced book-hangover. I read the book at such a luxuriously slow pace that it nearly felt like I was living the experience, too. I would read each little nugget, anecdote as if it was a savory morsel and I was scared to over-indulge.

I talked about the book all the time. I blogged about it. I felt like Liz was my friend.

I finished it while in the hottub on that Panamanian cruise. Some fellow cruisers, also enjoying a late night bathe and observing that I was nearing the end of my book, joked “Should we go and grab you some tissues? Are you going to need this hottub to yourself for a few minutes?!” Obviously, they had never read the book, or they would have known that the really rough patches had happened a hundred pages earlier!

So, fresh off the boat, high on Eat Pray Love bliss, and determined to begin The Artist’s Way, I ventured into my local Barnes and Noble. [The funny thing about living in New York City is that my “local” Barnes and Noble happens to be the flagship Barnes and Noble, complete with a few hundred seats for a proper book reading and author talk-back, should the occasion arise.]

I strolled into that bookstore to buy a new journal. I was hesitant to purchase one, as I’m always in some sort of financial crisis (“I’ll just write in one of my old composition notebooks! It’s not a big deal…”), but my friend (the same devastated grad school classmate who gifted me The Artist’s Way) urged me, “A new journal feels like a new start!”

I’m embarrassed to say that I spent nearly an hour selecting the most perfect journal I could find. Once I had committed myself to the new start, it had to be right!

Lo and behold, next to the checkout counter, there was a poster announcing that Liz Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, was giving a talk-back on her new novel that VERY evening in that VERY Barnes and Noble.

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It felt like the universe was my very own fairy godmother.

I canceled my plans to take a dance class that evening and arrived at the reading 15 minutes early. (Those who know me understand how impressive that is.) I settled into the back row and told myself that I wasn’t going to purchase the book or stand in line to meet Liz because that just seemed silly. Also, I didn’t have the funds to buy the book as I had just spent nearly $40 on my perfect journal. I would just listen to her read and then go on my merry way.

She.

Was.

GLORIOUS.

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Oh my goodness. She said so many inspirational, lovely, real things. If her book tour is coming to your city, GO! You must! Do yourself that favor!

In the end, I bought the book because I wanted so desperately to meet her, because I just loved her energy and her presence. As I stood in line awaiting my turn, I rehearsed what I was going to say. [It was like I was 12 years old and meeting Justin Beiber backstage.]

Maybe I should just say “Thank you” and “It’s so wonderful to meet you!”

No. No. No. 

Tell her what you want to say! You’ll kick yourself if you don’t! LOTS of people are taking their time with her, and she doesn’t seem put-out one bit!

My inner monologue raged back and forth.

As I approached her, I just blurted it all out:

image_6 image_5 image_4image_3Apparently I was supposed to be born Italian as my hands are NECESSARY for me to communicate (?).

“It is so wonderful to meet you! I just finished reading Eat Pray Love, like, last week, and it was such a cathartic, inspirational experience for me. I had no idea that you were speaking tonight, but I came into this Barnes and Noble to buy a journal for The Artist’s Way, because I’m starting tomorrow, and I saw your poster, and… well… it was kismet!”

“You’re starting The Artist’s Way?! That’s awesome! I’ve done it at least 10 times! Make sure you do the WHOLE THING!”

It truly WAS kismet.

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I’m now on Week 5 of my 12 Week process. Synchronicity is a HUGE theme throughout The Artist’s Way. Fittingly, it’s no surprise that’s how my journey began.

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She’s Reading, Okay?

Immediately after I graduated from high school, I had my wisdom teeth removed.

[Related Story: Before the procedure, I asked my mom if the Tooth Fairy would be visiting me. She informed me that the Tooth Fairy would be visiting my surgeon, thankyouverymuch. As I emerged from anesthesia, I heard her having a conversation with my doctor. He asked her if she wanted to keep my teeth. What were the first, drugged-up words out of my mouth? “OOOOOH! TOOTH FAIRY!!!” I probably could have given David a run for his money.]

During my recovery, I planted myself in the hammock in my backyard with books 1-4 of the Harry Potter series. I devoured them. I was totally caught up in the magical world. At about the halfway point of the fourth book, I had a staggering realization: Once I finished that book, I wasn’t going to have anything else to read. [The fifth book wasn’t going to be released for another two years.] In a fit of complete and total irrationality, I just stopped reading. I know. That action defies logic [and yet, still makes sense in my mind].

It was a few years before I picked up the books again [I re-read books 1-4 and then finished the series]. The original feelings I had of being immersed in another world, however, were the same.

For a longer time than I am willing to admit, I have been struggling to get through Devil in the White City. Everyone that I know raves about it. It just wasn’t really for me. However, I cannot abandon a book once I’ve begun reading it. It took an agonizingly long time to finish. To put it mildly: reading it was NOT a Harry Potter-esque experience for me.

Since finishing the book last week, I’ve been completely and utterly consumed by a new series.

***Before reading on, please place your ‘no judgment’ caps upon your heads.***

I started Fifty Shades and I have not been able to put them down. I shamelessly read it on the subway. I’ve turned down social events and excursions to read. I’ve claimed that I had work to do, or I didn’t want to be hung over, or I was really tired. In actuality, I have been staying awake until ungodly hours of the night devouring every page.

I’m not claiming that they are believable or even well written. However, they ARE page-turners and it is SO amazing to get lost in a book. The escape is thrilling.

Anyway, the silliest part of this whole story is that I am a book hoarder. HOARDER. I LOVE to buy books. I then promptly put them on my shelves and never read them. [My mom is the complete opposite of me. She buys and reads books voraciously and then immediately gives them away. I think one of her greatest disappointments in life is that she and I don’t have the same taste in literature.]

So, I’ve been compiling something of a reading list for myself, mostly based on books that I already own.

Now, once again you can withhold judgment on the actual books. I’m not claiming that I have great literary taste. In this instance, I defer to this scene from A League Of Their Own.

Mae Mordabito: Sound it out…
Shirley Baker: Kimm…
Mae: Kimono.
Shirley: Kimono, kimono. Off. And. Gr– Gra– Grabb”d.
Mae: Grabbed.
Shirley: Her. M– mi– mil– mil– milky, milky. White, white. Milky white.
Evelyn Gardner: Mae! What are you giving her to read?
Mae: Oh, what difference does it make? She’s reading, okay? That’s the important thing. Now go away, go, shoo, shoo. Go ahead, Shirley, you’re doing good.
Shirley: Thanks, Mae. Milky white bre– breasts!
[Gives Mae a surprised look]
Mae: It gets really good after that. Look. The delivery boy walked in.

BOOKS CURRENTLY ON MY SHELF:

Fifty Shades series (currently halfway through the 2nd book) [completed 4/18]
Divergent, Insurgent [completed 5/7… Awaiting Allegiant 10/22/13!!!]
A Return to Love
The Life of PI
The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
Geek Love
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Casual Vacancy
The Secret Life of Bees
Wicked
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
One Hundred Years of Solitude
A Soprano On Her Head
Atonement
Without You
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Game of Thrones (all 5 books)
Percy Jackson (all 5 books)
Good in Bed
House of Leaves
Eat Pray Love

BOOKS CURRENTLY ON MY KINDLE:

The Great Gatsby
Anna Karenina
The Help

CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM FRIENDS:

Gone Girl
The Rules of Civility
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
How to be a Woman
Are You There Vodka…, My Horizontal Life
Bossy Pants

Since I’m not an incredibly fast reader to begin with, I’m sure this will keep me busy for some time. Is there anything else that is a must read? Anything on here that I should skip? Are you judging me for loving Fifty Shades? [I don’t care. I can take it.]

*Updated upon completion of books.

Anxiety: Ain’t It a Bitch.

I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety this week.

Sources?

Poor Friday night decisions (poor Saturday night decisions, for that matter), auditions, my inability to motivate myself to go on auditions, auditions that I bomb, work, lack of work, the half marathon, why I prefer to have a crush on a person who has no interest in me rather than pursue something with someone who is really interested, insomnia, the messy state of my bedroom, why my health insurance doesn’t kick in for another 17 days, money, how much I miss soda, how I should drink more water, money, my achilles tendon, my need for a new perfume (I like this one!), when I will have time to bake Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and Peppermint Patty cake before Sunday, my plantar fasciitis flare-up, my phone’s inability to keep a charge for a whole day, how I want to clean my apartment…

You know. The usual. [Oh wait. These things don’t keep you all awake at night, too? Oh. Hmm.]

Anyway, I’m brainstorming some ideas to quell said anxiety. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Pot – I’m the worst at this. Once I had some crazy brownies and I found myself googling “Can you die from a pot overdose?” This is probably more anxiety-inducing that relieving (for me), but I’m open to anything.

2. Yoga – A friend of mine should call me “the girl who cried yoga” for all of the times that I’ve told her I would come and take her class and then bailed at the last minute.

3. Passionflower – It’s a natural, herbal treatment (like pot? Hmmm). The interwebs are raving about it. I’ll pick some up at Trader Joe’s and report back.

4. Running – There’s nothing like an endorphin release, right? Sadly, I’m having those running related anxieties, so it’s not quite the same high.

5. Cleaning – Chaos begets chaos. Clean is the way to go.

6. Reading – I’ve started reading before going to bed, and I think it’s actually really helping me! I know when I was in high school nothing put me to sleep better than my required reading assignment… HardyHarHar.

7. Xanax – Why not just bring out the big guns? Kiddingnotkidding.

What do you do to quiet your brain?