I’ve been trying to blog regularly (this week’s goal was four posts, but that’s not happening).

It’s been a weird week. Someone I know was in a car accident on Wednesday and it just completely wrecked me. They’re fine (thank God). It’s fine. Everything is fine. But on Wednesday, I was not fine. I’ve been trying to keep my everyday life at arm’s length here on the blog, but I don’t know if that’s going to work in the long-term.

I’ve been trying to keep people at arms-length here in my life, but I don’t know if that’s going to work out in the long-run.

Here’s how this relates to writing: For me, writing is about trying to capture the present moment. I don’t mean in the sense of trying to exactly transcribe everything that happens in your day, or even, writing how I am sitting at a picnic table outside on a cloudy Los Angeles day, the temperature is 60 degrees and I am wearing an off-white sweatshirt with grey trim. I can feel a cool, soft breeze on my face and the sky is…

I don’t mean that kind of present tense. It’s more about trying to capture how you are feeling and thinking and being in the moment, knowing that this particular combination of things will never, ever be replicated. It’s about trying to capture that transcendent moment—that eternal space on the other side of silence, somewhere beyond past, present and future. I think this is why writing can sometimes feel like it is outside of time.

I won’t be the same person tomorrow that I am today, or the day after that, or the day after that.

This is why when I read stuff that I wrote years ago or even last week, it feels like I’m reading something written by another person. Hopefully, I managed to capture the specificity of who I was in that moment—frozen in amber like one of those mosquitos in “Jurassic Park.”

Which is to say, there are points in time where I’ve heard the grass grow and the roar is absolutely deafening —when a friend went through a mental health crisis, when I catch a hint of vulnerability in someone else’s laugh, when I think about my friend who died when I was only 17, when one moment you’re talking to someone about dumb shit and the next moment, BOOM.

Just to be alive is to be so desperately, horribly vulnerable all of the time, every minute, every second of every single day. It’s the fucking worst.

It can be so overwhelming to see the people around you as just exposed sticks of meat. I know this feeling will also pass. I want to cry but if I do, I’m afraid the tears will never stop.

Half the time (actually more like 90% of the time), I feel like I’m running away from some inevitable reality of being alive, of being a person in the world. It’s all just too much.

I write to be present, even to this, even though it’s hard.



I listened to a podcast episode about writing with Dan Harmon and Jessica Gao because the title of the episode was “I hate writing, I love having written” (throwback to earlier post).

I don’t agree with this sentiment, per se.

One of the underreported side effects of joining a writer’s co-op is that you end up talking about writing—like, a lot. Soooooooo much talking (so much writing too though, so it’s all good). Anyway, it came up in one of our discussions that the people in my little discussion group didn’t exactly love the process of writing.

I had heard this statement before (attributed to Dorothy Parker), but now, here it was looking me in the face.

Sometimes, I can get a little intense (okay, maybe a lot of the time), and I just wanted to grab someone (consensually) by the shirt lapels and shake them while looking deeply into their eyes and asking, “But, why???”

What in the Flannery O’Connor is the point of writing if you don’t like it, if it doesn’t bring you some kind of joy?

[Just to clarify—I didn’t do this. No one was grabbed or otherwise harassed in the course of writing this post, future actions not guaranteed.]

You know when you just go down that question rabbit hole, trying to figure out why people do the things that they do, particularly when those things (writing) are apparently no more appealing than sitting at the DMV or going to the dentist for a root canal. Granted, the sample size was tiny, just three people, all male.

Don’t get me wrong.

I understand pain (so do my editors, har har, but that’s probably a post for a different day). I’ve tortured myself into writing many a piece, staying up until the crack of dawn to crack open what the story is about, what it’s REALLY about.

Not what I think it’s about.

There’s that inevitable part of writing where you bang your head against the wall or desk or plaster head cast of Plato, where everything hurts and you pray for death because death would be better than actually having to write this thing I’m trying to write.

The stakes feel like life or death. Maybe they are.

Writing is pain. Life is pain. But sometimes it can be pure joy.

In the podcast, Harmon talked about how crucial his blogging had been to his writing and how he wanted to get back into writing everyday—because it was addictive (addictions are enjoyable, right?)

Can writing be so painful you would rather be eaten alive by a horde of angry fire ants you just spoiled GOT for? Hell yeah.

But also, writing is fun—fight me.


Welcome back to my unofficial series on writing! It’s a brand new day to write, woohoo! Yeah. I’m tired as hell today and über-sensitive to match (You don’t hate me; I hate me). But onward and upward.

So, let’s talk about process and how writing is always a process, life is always a process, we’re all in process, blah blah blah, spare me.

I had a professor in college who…maybe didn’t quite subscribe to the idea that education is a process. Traditionally, we’ve seen education as a process of enlightenment. You don’t know shit. Then you know shit. It’s like magic!

I was taking a class on literary theory and, as in most classes on literary theory, each week or so we would learn a new type of theory: reader-response, feminist, marxist, post-colonialist, etc.

When I started college, I had this weird, classical education, quasi-Christian view of literature: great art is about transcendence, truth, meaning and probably Jesus.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Maybe it was going to college. Maybe it was going to Cambridge. Maybe it was my ever-expanding frontal lobe.

But—I started to take a slightly different approach to the Great Books™. Call me groundbreaking, but I saw each of the different theories we were studying as just another set of tools for exploring and understanding the text.

There was a sense of play—and a sense of being in process instead of arriving at one static meaning. I didn’t see each of the theories as True with a capital “T.”
I didn’t think I needed to choose only one possible truth from a set of available options.

My professor was not having it: She saw me as inconsistent and inconstant instead of in process. To her, I was just bouncing back in forth between Marxism and reader-response theory like a kid at trampoline camp.

This was 10 years ago, but I think it was a precursor to a shift that we’ve seen in education (or is it on Twitter?), from operating from a place of process to operating from a place of purity—

Be right. Be right all the time. If you’re not right, then shut the fuck up and don’t say anything at all.

When the truth is, we’re all in process. Hopefully. What other option is available to us, other than death and decay? I probably don’t agree with half the shit I believed 10 years ago.

This is where I awkwardly transition into arguing that when we cancel people, we shouldn’t cancel their work. We shouldn’t pretend as if Louis C.K. never wrote a TV show or that R Kelly never penned a pop song. For the love of theory, please don’t cancel the text. Because the text, believe it or not, is always in flux, always open to a new reading or interpretation.

Free the text.

There is no creativity without process.