I’m not sure how I stumbled across Little Green Cars (probably through Spotify radio, check out their website: http://littlegreencars.co.uk/), but now I can’t get enough. They’re playing all over the world this year, but as of now I don’t see any trips to Vancouver 😦 Oh well, I’ll just have to listen to their album on repeat and pretend I’m seeing them live. “The John Wayne” is my favorite song of the moment. Their harmonies kill me every time.
I have been suffering with the worst case of writer’s block. Not just on this blog, but in everything I’ve been trying to do. This move to Canada has given me the opportunity to devote myself to creative pursuits. Since I’m not working full-time (not by choice, FYI, I’d much rather be fully employed at the moment), I told myself that I would focus on what would make me truly happy. For me, this means writing something longer than a short story. It means actually writing a novel.
Just putting that out there is really scary for me. It means that I am admitting out loud that this is something I want to do. It has always been my big audacious goal and yet I have been so preoccupied with other things over the past few years that I’ve let it fall by the wayside. I’ve used work and school as reasons that I could never fully devote myself to writing anything worth reading.
Now that I have the time, I have no excuses. I could actually do this if I made it a priority. The only catch? I think I’ve read too much. As someone with a background in book publishing and a masters in library science, I think it’s safe to say that I am pretty devoted to reading. There is nothing I love more than curling up with a good book. When something is good, I devour it. When something isn’t so good, I finish it anyway (I’ve been told life is too short to waste time reading things you don’t like, but I can’t not finish reading something I start. It’s a sickness).
With all of this reading under my belt, you’d think that I’d have lots of sources of inspiration. That’s true to an extent. The only catch is that I keep stopping myself from pursuing ideas if I have any inkling that something like it exists in the marketplace. As a once-upon-a-time editorial assistant at both a literary agency and two large publishers, my mind often gets clouded by the business side of things. Is this idea marketable? Has it been done before? This is a horribly dangerous way of thinking because it focuses on the end result rather than the process. I shouldn’t be worried about whether or not I could sell this book I haven’t written. I should just be writing for the sake of writing at this point! The final outcome shouldn’t play a role.
So many of my days recently have been spent sitting down on my couch, brainstorming ideas and shooting them down one by one. Then I get nervous about the fact that I can’t come up with anything original. Then I start getting mad at myself for wasting all of this potential writing time by being anxious. It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately leads me to give up for the day, only to begin the process again. I am the best at making myself feel the worst.
I don’t know what happend this morning, though. Something changed. I sat down for some stream-of-consciousness rambling on my laptop and then out of no where it just kind of hit me. An idea that I’m actually excited about! I have so far tamed my impulse to Google the shit out of this idea because I know that if I find anything remotely similar it will squash all creativity. I’m just going to run with it because I know that’s what’s best. I want to finish something for once without being my own worst critic. For better or worse, this story is mine and I think I owe it to myself to tell it.
I love this conversation with Chelsea Handler. This interview is full of great advice and (of course) humor. She’s such an inspiring badass.
In case you were wondering, I have the cutest (and laziest) dog on the planet. Being this adorable is clearly hard work!
Yesterday, I was talking to someone about how difficult it is to make friends in your 30’s. Maybe this isn’t a universal truth, but it’s certainly the case for me and a lot of the people I know. To be fair, I haven’t been trying very hard since arriving in Canada. There is more I could be doing: joining a kickball league (this has been suggested to me more than once, but I’m not even sure if kickball exists here?), take a writing class, etc. But I’m just so out of practice at the whole making friends thing that I think I’m lacking the skills necessary. I feel like I need to attend some sort of workshop: “Making Friends 101: How to Create Social Network in Three Easy Steps.”
I am still friends with people I’ve known since I was 12-18 years old. That’s 20 years of friendship in some cases (crazy!), which means you don’t have to provide any backstory or explanation about yourself. These people are my backstory. There’s no need to be the best version of myself because they’ve seen me at my best and at my worst and have still stuck around. There is so much comfort in having that stability.
So when I think about developing new friendships, I’m kind of at a loss. I have my husband and my puppy, but while they are fantastic I’m also someone who needs more than that to feel truly at home in a place. Whenever I’m out and I see groups of girlfriends having coffee or window shopping, I have a total Carrie Bradshaw-in-Paris moment (please tell me you know what I’m talking about) and I feel this ache in my gut. But then I think about having to develop new friendships and it makes me feel so overwhelmed. I know I need to be proactive about this, just not sure where to start.
There are expat groups and things like that here which might be a start? I may also take a cooking class or something . . .
Has anyone else had trouble meeting people when moving to a new city? Any tips?
My blog was accidentally deactivated yesterday, but things seem to be working now 🙂
In other news, I am obsessed with The Little Couple. I want to be their best friend and visit their gorgeous house. They just exude this infectious positivity. They recently adopted a son from China and he is just the cutest kid ever. Look at that smile! I’m smitten.
I think I’ve become a runner.
I say that tentatively since this is all very new to me.
In the past, I’ve taken up running sporadically. I’ve scheduled time at the gym, focused more on whatever was on TV than what I was doing on the treadmill. I set a goal to run a 5K, but training was torture. I was proud of myself for completing it, but I never experienced that runner’s high that everyone talks about. It was just something to cross off of my life list.
I’ve mentioned before that moving has thrown me for a loop. I’ve been in Vancouver for two months and while I’m definitely feeling more comfortable and able to appreciate a lot of what this city has to offer, I still feel off balance. I don’t have all of the familiar things that made me feel grounded.
Running has become that stabilizing force for me. The first afternoon I set out on a run, I didn’t really know where I was going. I decided I’d run a few blocks and then just keep going and see how far I could get. I ended up at the beach, looking across the water at the downtown skyline, wild rabbits hopping across the grassy knoll behind me. My muscles were burning and I was out of breath, but I felt surprisingly calm. The anxious feeling that had taken up residence in my chest was gone and I felt like I could see things with a bit more clarity. It was exactly the release that I needed.
I feel like I’ve been chasing that moment ever since. I still face a lot of uncertainty, but once I lace up my shoes and head out on the road I can forget everything and just be in the moment. Concentrating on each breath, each step, each pump of my arms keeps me firmly grounded in the present. It stabilizes me in a way that I’ve really needed. In those moments, I am completely in control.
I don’t have any aspirations to run a marathon or break my 5K time. I don’t really have any goals at all when it comes to running. All I know is that I’ve come to depend on the way it makes me feel and I like knowing that no matter how my day is going there is something I can do to quiet all the noise in my head. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.