All the Small Things

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Shrine Auditorium

Some people like to start conversations with “What would happen if.” What would happen if there was a black-ops team that hired out to help you get actual closure after a relationship by erasing all traces of the ex’s existence? What would happen if the guy who invented that “A train leaves Chicago at” math problem was upset that he never received adequate compensation? What would happen if you secretly won a big cash prize in a box of Frosted Flakes when you were 10 but your parents were staunchly opposed to sugar cereal– you get the idea. 

For most people, these become a running gag of conversation with the kind of friends who tolerate that sort of thing. For author B.J. Novak, famous from his work as actor and producer on The Office, they became a book of stories: One More Thing. The question is, is it any good?
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New Years Resolutions

I can’t remember the last time I actually made a New Years resolution. The concept of it is so of hollow and trite, and obviously people rarely act on their good intentions. But for reason or another, I’ve decided this year will be different. This year – 2014 – I will have resolutions.

What’s different this time? I think it stems from my inner guilt about not reading or writing enough. I buy books at a much faster clip than I read them, and I often find myself renewing library books twice only to get bored and not finish them. And while I think everyone has the right to put down a book they get bored of if you’re not hooked in the first 5 or 10 pages, I let myself do it more often than I should.

I also don’t write short stories nearly as often as I should or could. I don’t believe in making excuses when it comes to doing things you should do. So I won’t. If it’s important to you, you should make time for it.

And like reading, writing fiction is important to me. Very important. Part of my identity, even. I identify as a writer more than I identify as anything else. Yet I still struggle to make myself sit down and do the work that I enjoy. Hell, I struggle even to write a couple of blog posts each week. What is it that makes people like that, avoiding doing things they like because they are harder than watching TV or wasting time on Facebook and Twitter?

I can spend hours upon hours reading ads on Craigslist and fantasizing about moving into the ever elusive affordable studio or bedroom in an interesting, relatively clean and un-sketchy neighborhood, which will have a reasonable commute that I always hold out hope exists somewhere out there. I can do that, but I can’t open up a Word doc and start inventing a story, even though making up stories about people is second nature to me. I come up with a story for strangers I see every day.

And then I forget them and they disappear into the creativity abyss.

So here are my goals for 2014.

  • read 50 books
  • write 20 stories

Wish me luck!