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Do Something Creative for Its Own Sake. Period.

Untitled-1It’s the easiest thing to drop from the to-do list, and the simplest thing to excuse yourself from doing: A creative thing for its own sake. Getting that (whatever it is–writing, painting, scrapbooking, model-airplane-making) onto your schedule, and fending off all other competing, and arguably more urgent issues, is easier said than done.

And that’s the thing about inspiration as pertains to all creative projects: You can’t wait for it show up.

If you sit around pining for your prince to trot in on his steed and save you from obligation, tedium, and routine, you’ll be sorely disappointed. It ain’t coming. Creativity is the horse, not the prince. A horse will take you somewhere, anywhere–but you have to get up on it and tell it where to go.

So I decided to submit a manuscript to be considered for an advanced writing workshop at the 92Y in Manhattan. I have been wanting to invest the time and the money to devote to being in a writing class, and realized if I waited til I had both,  it would never ever happen. So I submitted a manuscript to be considered for admission, and then when I got accepted, I said, OK. I’m doing this.

In fact, I’m writing a short story right now–which is laughable because I’m not a fiction writer. But I’m really loving it–and hating it, because this is hard, and yet immensely enjoyable. And yet I’m 100% sure that if I didn’t have a draft due in a matter of days, I would not be doing it, period. That friction, that discomfort, that inertia you fight to get shit done, that’s where the magic happens.

You want a spark of inspiration? Start the fires going again? Then you’ve got to sit there and rub two sticks together for a while.

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Eat an Ugly Hot Fruit

There are lots of nice-looking tomatoes out there, but if given the choice, I skip the conventionally pretty and go for the ugly-hot ones instead. Think Black-Eyed Peas over Black Swan kind of hot.

You can find identical tomatoes that appear to have popped out of a factory any day of the week. But the days are numbered for these crazy looking guys.

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Leave on Time

I looked around the office. Everyone was in their seats: The health editor was bent over a manuscript; the lifestyle editor flipped through blogs in search of her next story; the market editor hunted down gloves for an upcoming shoot. Normally, I would just keep myself planted there, to be part of the team, to be there even if I had nothing pressing for the next day. But not today. Why? Because sometimes you have to leave on time, just because you can.

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Try the Whelk (Even If You Don’t Know What It Is)

No, not this Welk. But I couldn't resist the rare opportunity to use this picture.

Last night I met a new friend for dinner at the John Dory restaurant on 6th. I had champagne and oysters on the brain, craving the alternating pleasures of crisp, toasty bubbles paired with the cool mouthful of salt and sweet oyster flesh. I had never heard of whelk (aside from Lawrence, kept fresh in my mind thanks to the predictably awkward SNL skit), but the waitress insisted that these sea snails were delicious. I love shellfish of every stripe, so I went for it.

And THIS is why I have, as of late, decided to let Read more

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Go Out for Brunch (i.e., Get Out of Your *** House)

Today is my birthday.

October 9th. It falls during the preliminary days of autumn when you don’t know whether to wear shorts or pack a sweater. The day before Columbus Day. And, in grammar school, marked the beginning of Fire Prevention Week, during which local firemen would come to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in their full gear and scare us Catholic schoolkids half to death with warnings of home fire drills and rope ladders.

Today, Oct 9th in Manhattan was unseasonably warm Read more