Saturday, July 19, 2014

Someone Else Lives in My Apartment, Too


It was 3am on a Friday night when I got up to use the bathroom, no contacts in or glasses on. As I leaned down toward the sink to wash my face, I heard a strange, sinister rustling noise. I looked up to find that my face was inches away from a giant cockroach hanging out on the wall. I apologize for making you look at this photo, but if I have to see this thing, so do you.

I yelled, "Oh, God" a lot. I shed a few tears of anxiety. I trapped it between a glass & a Tupperware lid. I flushed it to its watery death. I sent my landlord a frantic email asking to have my apartment bug bombed as soon as humanly possible. Then I tried to fall back to sleep, but I was thoroughly convinced that every bit of noise & every feeling against my skin was one of its cockroach brethren, come to exact revenge by crawling all over me until I died in a panic of disgust & fear.

Today, I learned that you can't drown a cockroach. Today, I learned that cockroaches are attracted to water. Today, I learned  that cockroaches come up through the pipes. Today, I have been terrified of using my bathroom, taking a shower, washing my hands... basically, I live in fear of my own apartment. It's all going very well.

Not to make light of this horrifying situation, but I think I may have watched too much Men in Black.


Monday, July 14, 2014

The Time a Stranger Maybe Drew Me Like One of His French Girls


If you're open to weirdness, weirdness will always find you, especially in a city - even this city, where you envision the professional, buttoned-up likes of Olivia Pope & Barack Obama & Michele Bachmann & Jed Bartlet & whoever else the general populace associates with Washington, D.C.

This afternoon, I encountered a special & new-to-me variety of weirdness.

I sat in Meridian Hill Park reading a book in the sun, a yoga class happening next to me & "free energy healing," whatever that is, taking place a few benches down. A middle-aged man, looking appreciatively down the length of the park, turned to me & said in a thick accent, "This is a great park. I'm visiting from Florida, & I could just stay in this park all day." He asked if he could sit at the other end of my bench, & though I wanted to keep reading, I found myself chatting with him a bit.

He introduced himself as Winston, a photographer & a painter who had spent the weekend in D.C. taking strangers' portraits. "Two minutes," he told me. "It will only take two minutes."

I wasn't super-keen on talking to Winston any more, & that's when I probably should have said no, gone back to my book or just walked away. Something about him made me a little bit uncomfortable, but I told myself I was probably just being uptight, as I sometimes am, so I agreed to let him photograph me. After all, it was a public park, & there were dozens upon dozens of people around us. Maybe, I thought, this will be like Humans of New York!

Winston asked me to sit on a flight of cement steps & snapped four or five shots, some close-up & some from further away. It all seemed very normal, & I began to feel less weirded out. After a few shots, he asked me to swing one leg over the side of the stairs, sitting sideways. As I repositioned myself, he touched my foot to move it into place, & I recoiled at the unwelcome contact. Not OK.

And then it got weirder.

"Would it be OK..." be began. "Would you mind if I take a photograph of your thigh?"

HEY, HUGE RED FLAG. YES, I MIND THAT.

I gave him a firm no, & when he asked why, I told him it made me very uncomfortable. "This wouldn't be for portraits," he said, "just for me." As though that was going to make me say yes? No, Winston. No, no, no, no. As I stood up, he asked to take one more photo - a normal one - & then told me, "OK, we're all set. I told you it would be quick! Thank you so much," as though he hadn't just creeped me right the hell out.

I asked if he had a card or a website, someplace I could see his art (& yes, I recognize that I should've asked this before agreeing to be photographed). He told me he was hoping to have one soon, then he asked if I'd like to see some pictures of his work. As I stood at a safe distance, he clicked through photos of beautiful paintings, tilting them my way. "I sell these for thousands of dollars," he told me, "to very rich people."

One of the photos was Jan Vermeer's very, very famous "Girl With a Pearl Earring," painted circa 1665.

OK, Winston. That's enough. We're done here.

It was only then that I started to walk away, bidding him adieu & wishing him well while trying to effectively cut off all further communication. As I made my way toward a bench closer to the yogis & the energy healers, the last thing I heard Winston say was this: "I do nudes, too, you know. But I don't sell those in galleries."

Keep your eye out for nude paintings with my mug superimposed over them, please, as I try not to think about whatever that so-called artist is doing with photos of my face in in his private collection. And maybe just... don't talk to strangers.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

She Whose Idiocy Must Not Be Named

 

I recently used Craigslist to sell an old phone to a stranger, which is the exact sort of transaction Craigslist was made for (although much less hilarious than Missed Connections & far less sordid than Casual Encounters).

I sifted through the responses to my post & chose a buyer who seemed nice & normal & responsible, however one can determine such characteristics via email. He was willing to meet me midday near my office, in public, & I brought a coworker with me to be extra-safe.

As it turns out, said buyer was a friendly, slightly nerdy guy who couldn't have been older than 26 & who probably couldn't have taken me in a fight. He paid via PayPal, cracked jokes with my friend Alexa & me, thanked me profusely, made fun of me a little bit for including my Twitter handles in my email signature, & went on his merry way. Generally, the whole thing was an easy, hassle-free experience.

He texted a couple days later to politely suggest that the next time I sell a phone, I first wipe it clean. Cue embarrassment. First of all, who doesn't clear a phone of their personal data before selling it to a Craigslist stranger? Second of all, I thought I had! Apparently technology is not my strong suit. And finally, that cringe-inducing, panicky thought: "What the hell did I have saved on that phone?" Luckily, I'm not one for nude photos or otherwise incriminating data, so I wasn't too worried. I changed my passwords, & my Good Samaritan buyer assured me he'd deleted everything. Lesson learned for next time.

Fast-forward a few months.

A few days ago, I spent some time Googling how to get to Savannah, GA, for an August vacation. I mapped all sorts of configurations, ultimately deciding to go with Amtrak (yes, I'm literally taking a midnight train to Georgia, but that's a story for another day). Two days after my trip-planning, I got a text message from a number I didn't recognize... until I scrolled through our past text chain & realized it was the guy who bought my phone.



Many a time I've wished to be a great & powerful wizard, even an evil one, & this is one such instance. Because we all know how that story ends, right? Neither can live while the other survives.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Confronted a Rude Stranger in a Starbucks, & (Surprise!) It Did Not Go Well

I'm of the belief that there's a special place in hell (you know, if I believed in hell) for people who listen to electronic devices aloud in communal spaces. If you're watching a YouTube video or playing Candy Crush or calling your mom or listening to Iggy Azalea in a place where there are other people - especially people who are working quietly, as in a coffee shop - then you should be wearing headphones. Period.

Of course, not everyone is on board with this concept; if they were, I wouldn't be complaining about it. Because I spend a great deal of time working in otherwise-quiet public spaces, I've encountered many a situation in which someone who is not on board with this concept aurally offends me on a deeply annoying level.

Today, I encountered the worst offender yet.

The Starbucks on P Street in Dupont Circle is hidden & quiet, one of my favorite work spaces in D.C. Its upstairs level has lots of one- & two-person seating arrangements, making it perfect for workday camp-outs with no "I've been here too long!" guilt. My friend Emily & I had been there for a few hours when the whole upstairs level flooded with a robotic voice & a barrage of bad elevator music; someone, somewhere was taking a phone call on speaker, & he'd been put on a loooooong hold.

Everyone around us looked appalled. The architecture of the building meant that the noise, which originated from a corner of the first floor, echoed up over a balcony & throughout the second floor, clearly disrupting every single one of the dozen of us up there. It was one of those moments when strangers came together in sympathetic annoyance, muttering, "Can you believe this?!" as "Your call is important to us" repeated at 30-second intervals.

Finally, I'd had enough. I walked downstairs to ask the offending call-maker to kindly cease public use of the speaker function.

What I found was a guy who didn't look crazy or rude or otherwise threatening. He was wearing a nice suit, & a freshly pressed purple dress shirt. He was bespectacled & balding, probably in his late 50s or early 60s, & he had the sort of accent I associate with Manhattan Jews. In other words, he both looked & sounded like he could be the father of any one of my friends. His speakerphone didn't seem loud from that corner, yet it was booming throughout the second floor. I figured he had no idea, & that if asked, he'd be happy to be a decent citizen of the world.

"Excuse me," I began. "Would you mind taking your phone off of speaker? I know it seems quiet from down here, but it's echoing up over the balcony, & it's actually really loud from the second floor."

He stared at me. I wondered if maybe he didn't speak English. I continued anyway: "There are a lot of us working quietly up there, & it's just... it's actually really loud." I thought I was being polite, but as his face contorted in anger, I began to second-guess my tone.

"Are you kidding me?" he boomed, morphing into a wild-eyed, Patrick-Bateman-with-an-axe type. "Are you serious right now? You know this is a public place, right? You know that?" I nodded, bristling with nerves & indignation, & reiterated that the second floor was full of people on laptops & that the noise was much louder from where we sat. "This is so rude," he insisted. "I can't believe this." It occurred to me that everyone upstairs could hear the conversation.

When I countered that it was actually sort of rude to blast hold music throughout an otherwise quiet public space where people were working in silence, he spluttered & stuttered. "You know, that's pretty rude!" he erupted. "This is a public place! You can't make other people be quiet! You can't dictate what I do!"

I was visibly flustered but tried to stand my ground. "Well, it's a coffee shop, so a lot of people are working here," I told him. "But look, I didn't come down here to be rude. I just thought you probably didn't realize how loud it was up there & that you might turn it off if you did."

"I'll turn it off," he snapped, as though he was doing me a huge favor by not being an asshole, "but this is really unbelievable. I mean, I've never gotten a request like this in my life."

"I wasn't trying to be rude," I repeated as I walked away. "Do whatever you want." My hands were shaking, & I could hear my heartbeat in my skull. The baristas I passed on my way back upstairs looked concerned, mouths agape, & when as I crossed the room to reach my table, a few strangers gave me smiles of... approval? Shock? Disdain? Impression? I was shaking too hard to be sure.

Shortly after the confrontation, my new friend stormed out of the Starbucks, hopefully never to be seen again. All was quiet on the home front for a good... 20 minutes. Then, as I wrote this post, someone else turned their phone on speaker - hip-hop music, this time, assaulting our ears on floor two yet again.

The struggle is so goddamn real, you guys. If I can't trust the rest of the world to wear headphones, I'm going to need to invest in a better pair of my own. Or just some straight-up earplugs.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Time I Was a Fancy Hobo in Chicago

I'm not a particularly fancy person. Most of my clothes are from Target, & I still eat ramen for dinner sometimes. I swear a lot & frequent dive bars. I don't know makes for a fancy person, necessarily, but I think most of those things disqualify me.

In May, I went to the fanciest event I've yet been to: the black tie wedding of Tom & Anna, two friends who I met at Bloggers in Sin City last spring, which took place in downtown Chicago. Many, many texts were exchanged in advance of the event, as my friends & I decided what to wear, when to arrive, where to stay, & other such vital details. For my part, I tried on no fewer than 60 gowns in an attempt to dress myself in a properly fancy manner, scouring every Macy's in the Greater Metropolitan Area for the perfect formal frock. I purchased six gowns online, all of which I returned when I decided to go with my top choice, the navy gown you see here, finally located at the Macy's at Tyson's Corner. Whew.

The weekend of the big event, four of us went last-minute shopping for sparkly heels & appropriate clutches, & we got our hair & makeup done by professionals who know hair & makeup better than we do. And when the time came for us to celebrate with Tom & Anna as they said "I do," we all felt - & looked, if I may say so myself - like pretty, pretty princesses. The wedding was a fabulously good time, the newlyweds were the happiest, & I have never felt so fancy in my whole life.

And then.

My plan was to stay in Chicago for a few extra days to explore the city & catch up with friends who live there. Unfortunately, I was slated to spend each of the next three nights at a different apartment, which meant lugging my suitcase through the streets of the Windy City - not exactly a tourist's dream. In a moment of brilliance, I decided to ship my suitcase back to D.C. before me; I'd set aside a few things to use during the next few days, & my heavy suitcase would be waiting for me D.C. when I arrived home! The kind folks at FedEx were delightfully helpful in making it happen, & I was quite pleased with myself for coming up with the idea.

While it was a smart plan in theory, the reality went less smoothly.

I put some clothes & toiletries & an extra pair of shoes into a Men's Warehouse bag - a paper bag, you guys - which, laden with all my things, turned out to be heavier than I'd bargained for. And though I didn't have to tote a rolling suitcase around the city with me, I still had to take the paper bag everywhere - you know, like a goddamn hobo. Needless to say, I didn't end up doing much sightseeing, after all. I shopped on the Miracle Mile, spent hours in a busy Starbucks writing & people-watching, sat in a park watching the season finale of Grey's Anatomy on my iPad. I did bar trivia with Jess, went out to dinner with Ethan, caught up with Kevin - & I brought my paper bag with me to each of them, carrying all my worldly belongings (OK, that's dramatic) everywhere I went.

Flying without luggage was a delight, as was returning home to find my suitcase waiting for me inside my apartment. But, um, maybe I'll plan ahead next time & bring a backpack with me - or better yet, a bindle.

I think the cigarettes really make the shot, don't you?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Social Experiment: Wearing a Feminist Statement Tee in Public

"Kate! I'm wearing a shirt tomorrow that you're going to love," my friend Jenn told me. She knows me well, it seems, as her prediction was confirmed when she showed up at brunch the next day sporting a men's tank that read, "A WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE." The next time I opened my computer, I bought the shirt for myself.*

The first time I wore it was on my day trip to Cleveland two weeks ago. As my friend Lindsey & I walked the streets of the Cleve, I noticed other peoples' eyes on me, trying to read my wordy tee as I strolled by. Though I knew I'd be making a bit of a statement in the shirt, I hadn't realized how uncomfortable I would feel with the attention.

I became fascinated, though, by other people's reactions to the sentiment emblazoned across my chest. Those passing quickly by seemed, at first, to be shocked. As their eyes widened & their brows furrowed, I could see them thinking, "A woman's place is in the house? Oh, this bitch!" & then, as they continued to read, a look of relief. Mid-way through the shirt, I look like the anti-feminist - & then, at the end, I just look like a raging feminist.

But in the cosmopolitan & forward-thinking land of the Midwest, though, raging feminism isn't always an endearing or valued trait. I watched as some of the folks finished reading my shirt & threw me a look of annoyance or disgust - not necessarily at the idea of that women can be lawmakers but, I assume, at the idea of needing to broadcast my support of it. "I'll feel better wearing this shirt in D.C.," I told myself.

Today is my first day wearing it in the District, though, & it feels just as weird - in a totally different way. At Trader Joe's, an enthusiastic man in a neon pink tee high-fived me: "Oh, you know that's the truth!" he shouted as he slapped my hand in the produce aisle. At BakeHouse, an adorable neighborhood coffee shop, a hipster barista looked at me with equal parts disdain & amusement & asked, "So do you, like, work on the Hill?" Suddenly, I felt like I was trying too hard to be DC-quirky, damn it.

I guess that when it comes to wearing liberal statement tees, a girl can't really win. But speaking of winning, did you know that there are a record number of women in the Senate right now? A woman's place, indeed. So I think I'll keep wearing the shirt - at least until I get one that says "A woman's place is in the White House." Hillary, girl, I'm waiting for you.

*You can buy this tank & similarly sassy clothing items from Wicked Clothes, if you're so inclined. Free shipping!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You Can Always Go Home Again

I spent 11 days in Ohio. Like, a week & a half. ELEVEN WHOLE DAYS. It was... a lot. Before I left, I thought, "There's no way I can handle 11 days away. That's an eternity." And in some ways, it was, because 11 days is a really long time. It's a long time to live out of a suitcase, a long time to live at my mom's house, a long time to be away from my apartment & all of my belongings, a long time to be "on" for visits with friends & family.

But it was perfect.

The impetus for the trip was to attend the wedding of one of my favorite couples, Sean & Kristen. During their outdoor nuptials & day-long reception at an adorable, picturesque Ohio farmstead, I caught up with many of my favorite individuals & tried not to sweat to death. We joked that everyone had at least two exes in attendance, & yet somehow, everyone got along smashingly because that's how small-town friendships work. I was honored to be present to celebrate this couple & their love for one another, & I always appreciate an open bar populated by so many people I like.



Speaking of people I like, I also spent a lot of time hanging out with my mama & petting her tiny, excitable dogs, who look like twins.

 

As always, I ate at all my favorite places - sometimes healthy but oftentimes not, because vacation & also because oops. I went to four of those favorite places two times apiece, with a bunch of others peppered in to spice it up. Rockne's! Melt! Happy Dog! Clogged arteries & dying happy! Instagramming photos of my food!


And for better or worse, I basically never said no to dessert, including tiny donuts, Graeter's Buckeye Blitz ice cream, a pistachio macaron, & crème brûlée cheesecake. And yes, I'm planning to eschew cabs & public transportation for awhile in favor of walking everywhere for the next... forever. Just as soon as it stops raining.


But it wasn't all food & booze, I swear. I also took in all the sites I love & saw some new ones, too, in the three Big C's - Cleveland, Columbus, Cuyahoga Falls. And while I know my hometown isn't exactly "big," Cincinnati sucks & home is where the heart is, et cetera.


My friend Lindsey even took me to Cleveland for a day, where we started with a visit to Sweet Lorain, a massive vintage superstore. Every three steps or so, I shouted some excitable phrase, like, "Oh my God, look at this!" & snapped a photo of something colorful &/or absurd. Not recommended for people who are easily distracted by shiny objects.

 
 

Speaking of shiny objects, we were easily distracted by nearly everything we found at a massive toy store called Big Fun, including meat tattoos & animal masks & wax lips & finger puppets & a drawer full of Pogs straight outta the '90s.


Of course, I saw lots of other favorite people, too, & made all of them take photos with me for the sake of vanity & posterity.

 

I got back to D.C. exhausted & exhilarated & a little bit sad to leave the Buckeye State behind. And yes, I wrote this post almost solely to show off all my wonderful photos, so I apologize for the total lack of interesting substance. This was the longest trip I'd taken to Ohio since 2011, & I spent each one of those 11 days feeling fortunate to come from such a wonderful place still filled with such wonderful people who always show me a, well, wonderful time. 

I've always mentally adapted the lyrics to that old Hawthorne Heights song, & this visit only reinforced it: I can make it on my own, but part of my heart will probably always be in Ohio.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

This Land is My Land

As soon as I moved out of D.C. in 2010, I started to recount all the things I didn't do while I lived there. What about all the monuments, all the memorials, all the museums? What about all the great touristy stuff right in my own proverbial backyard that I never even bothered to check out? On return visits, I tried to get some of it in but never quite found it atop my priority list.

When my friend Isaac called a few weeks ago to say that the Washington Monument would be reopening & that he wanted to get tickets to go to the top of it, I was happy to join. It's been closed since August 2011, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit the District & did precisely no damage except to the city's tallest building & most iconic monument. The repairs made & ugly scaffolding removed, it was finally fit for visitors again, & we (in a somewhat overeager fashion) bought tickets as soon as they went on sale.

Tornado warnings & possible thunderstorms threatened to cancel our plans in the lead-up to the evening, but when the time came for our 8:30pm tour, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Clear & just a little bit windy, with an uncharacteristic lack of humidity, it was the ideal night to look out from 550 feet over the Mid-Atlantic area. I'd never been up the monument, & my friends hadn't been for more than a decade apiece, so we played tourist in our own city & made the 70-second elevator ride to the top for the best view in the capital.

As we stood in line, sandwiched between two groups of middle school students visiting the District on class trips, I remembered what it felt like to be an eighth grader from the suburbs experiencing a city for the first time, to horse around with my friends at the FDR Memorial & snap photos with the massive bronze statue of Fala the dog, to stand in the bread line, to jump across the stones in the fountain. I remembered what it felt like to be 21 years old, a rising senior at Kent State University, sitting on the lawn outside the Washington Monument with friends in my summer work/study program, the first time I'd ever lived out of Ohio, inexplicably moved to tears as I watched fireworks explode over the city on a muggy Fourth of July night. I remembered when it felt like just a few years later to be 23, when my friends & I braved the bitter cold with thousands of other Americans standing on the National Mall at dawn to celebrate the first inauguration of President Barack Obama, back when we still truly believed in change we could believe in.

I remember the big moments, like all of those. But I'll remember the smaller, quieter ones, too, with friends like these on nights like this, just living life, looking out over the first city that ever held my heart - the city that took me in, watched me go, then let me come home again.




Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's a Zoo Out There - But, Like, Really

My email went to five music-loving friends. It was short & to the point:
Anyone want to join me at Portugal. The Man's free show at the Zoo next Monday? At 6:30, it's cutting it pretty close to work hours (it's still sort of during work hours), but it sounds quirky & bloggable, so I'm going to go & would love company.
Yeah, sometimes I make plans around events that might make for interesting stories - & in this case, it paid off.

The Smithsonian National Zoo's partnership with Portugal. The Man (don't blame me for their inaccurately placed punctuation) is intended to raise awareness of endangered species, specifically Sumatran tigers, the smallest surviving tiger species with only 400 left in the wild. The Zoo distributed copies of the band's new song, aptly titled "Sumatran Tigers," to 400 social media influencers. The catch? The polycarbonate records are made to disintegrate after a certain number of plays - literally "a song manufactured to go extinct unless it's reproduced." Through this #EndangeredSong campaign, record recipients were tasked with "breeding" the song, digitizing it for the masses & ensuring its survival.

Yeah, this is the most genius social media campaign ever, & I shall refer to it forevermore as the most impressive effort I've thus far encountered. So first, there's that.

But secondly, there was also this free show, which I was excited to attend. I arrived with three friends, two friends-of-friends, & a picnic blanket (OK, it was someone else's picnic blanket), full of enthusiasm & sweating bullets in the sudden D.C. heat. We joined about 2,000 fellow attendees for a nice, seated lawn show at which everyone in attendance seemed to be in unanimous but unspoken agreement about the "seated" part.

Except for one kid.

This little bro, who was probably about 16, stood up to dance alone, blocking other people's views & inspiring boos from the crowd behind him. When a cop approached him & asked him to sit, he solidly refused - casually at first, then with more intensity (here's a video), & finally, he was hauled off the lawn in a spectacle that stopped the band & paused the whole show. When he was finally cuffed & hauled away, the whole audience cheered & the band apologized & everything continued as planned.

Until the last song. During the last song, one of his friends decided to stage a protest of his own, more peaceful this time but equally obnoxious. He approached the band at the edge of the stage & leaned in for a hug from lead singer John Gourley, who waved off an approaching police officer & accepted the hug in an attempt to diffuse yet another distracting situation. Except then the kid ran on stage, picked up a tambourine, & danced with the band through the duration of their final - & very long - song. That led into "Hey, Jude," & on the na-na-na-nas, the whole crowd finally stood en masse & sang together, confused & amused.

These two ridiculous interruptions sullied an otherwise excellent show for an excellent cause, & my friends & I grumbled about them with an appropriately level of oldness. "Do you think they're on drugs?" one friend asked. In fact, I think I can pinpoint the precise moment I became an adult: It was when someone asked me how old I thought the rebels were, & I said, "Old enough to know better, young enough to be on Molly." Also, I initially wrote "hooligans" there instead of "rebels," so it's official - I'm old.

It also reinforced, as so many experiences do, that D.C. is the right city for me. This ain't Coachella, bro. Sit your hippie ass down & enjoy your free zoo show from the grass like every other goddamn suited-up pseudo-hipster in this town.

The Smithsonian National Zoo's Global Tiger Initiative is working to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. Text NATZOO to 20222 to donate $10 to their efforts. Learn more or donate online.

Monday, May 5, 2014

"I Always Thought That Only R.L. Stine Wrote Books"


Writing a book has always sounded like something other people do - people who aren't me. I'm a good writer, I know. It's what I love to do, & even though it's not the focus of my professional life, as I planned when I majored in journalism in college, I've found ways to grow as a writer, to keep it in my life in a meaningful way, & even to find an audience for it (hi & thanks!).

I've thought about writing a book, for sure. I've thought about it my whole life. I used to tell people, "I'll write a book when the time is right. But it's not right yet." Over time, I stopped telling people that - stopped telling them I wanted to write a book at all - because I began to think I'd never reach that point, that the "right" time would never come.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended Brunch, Blogs, & Books: Going from Blogger to Published Author, a panel organized by local blogger Tyece of TwentiesUnscripted.com. After an hour of schmoozing & bottomless-mimosa boozing over brunch at Madhatter, three panelists - two bloggers-turned-authors & one former book beat reporter - took the stage to tell their stories & answer our questions.

The brunch was delicious, the company of my friends Jenn & Maxie was spectacular, & the panel was really interesting - but frankly, it wasn't mind-blowingly helpful or oh-my-god informative. The panelists were all just normal women, around my age, who seemed like people I could know, friends I could have. They were just regular people who turned their side hobby into a side hustle, worked their love of words into something bigger than a corner of the Internet. 

But that was what was so powerful, because like I said: Writing a book has always sounded like something other people do. Writing a book has always been for people who are smarter than I am, more driven than I am, better writers than I am, more compelling storytellers than I am. Writing a book has always been for people who have more time & more ideas & more words & more fans. In short, writing a book has never been for me...

...until yesterday, when I realized, for the first time, that it could be. These women were normal, like me. They had day jobs, like me. They expressed self-doubt, like me (the title of this post came from panelist Alida Nugent, a.k.a. The Frenemy). And yet they still created successful, on-actual-bookshelves books - like I could someday. Watching these totally average (in the most inspiring way!) women talk about moving from blogging to book-writing, it hit me in a much more powerful way than it ever has before: Hey, I could do that.

Panelist GG Renee Hill told us, "If you feel an urge to write a book, listen to it. Write the book. Don't wait until you're ready. You'll never be ready."

I'm not ready - which means I'm probably ready. And now I'm going to try to figure out how to do this.
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