Month: November 2017

The incoherent rambling of a wannabe writer

Magazines have always been a favorite outlet of mine. Their glossy pages and giant letters called to me and encouraged me to pay the $5 for the random issue that stood out in front of me on the newsstand that day. That’s how I knew I wanted to write. I wanted to be one of the people whose names were printed in small black letters under a grand article title. I just didn’t know how to get there. So I interned. I spent every summer from the age of 16 to the age of 19 working in the editorial office of KIWI Magazine where I did everything from fetch office supplies to research holiday gift guides in June. It was not what I imagined. So I went to college.

In college I studied communication, focusing on journalism. I pretended I knew what I was doing when writing essays at 4am or when researching for an article about “BENNYs” for the school’s newspaper. But I could never say my heart was fully in it. I never felt complete after turning in a mock article. But I remember loving the research. I loved being given a topic and thinking of only that topic for 3 days straight; spending hours in the library researching and printing, I practically had my own computer there. But this was school. Life would surely be different. It was this thinking that lead to a new internship. My cousin’s girlfriend was working in the advertising department for a beautiful food magazine. She sold advertising space to mom and pop shops on the East Coast. She told me her friend in the marketing department was looking for an intern to help out for the summer. I decided to give it a go.

That summer was one of the best I’d ever had. I was almost an adult, I worked in an amazing office, I made a few friends, but was only allowed into the editorial office when dropping something off. Apparently there is a hard line between the business side and the creative side of a magazine. And that summer I was on the wrong side. So instead, I took home back copies and studied the glossy pages. I worked on their summer events and followed the magazine’s publisher around as if she were a god. I don’t think she ever actually took notice of me, though. Didn’t matter, I was where I needed to be at that time.

Next summer I graduated college. I was given the opportunity to intern there again, but turned it down in favor of a paying job… One I did not have yet.

July 2013 I was offered an advertising coordinator position at one of the biggest newspaper publishing companies in the country, so I took it. It really is all about who you know. I assumed I would work at the newspaper during the day and write at night. And that is how this blog was born. My first post was sent from my parents house in Naples, Florida the day before I flew back to New York to start my first real job.

But as days passed into weeks, and weeks into months my writing became almost nonexistent. By the following February I had sunken into a full blown depression. I wasn’t mentally prepared to work in a windowless office in a position that required absolutely no creativity. I was miserable and couldn’t even hide it anymore. By March I had booked a trip to Europe. My favorite place in the entire world was Rome, I thought it was about time I had gone back. After extensive googling and convincing, I bought a slightly sketchy groupon for a 6 day trip that would bring me to Paris for three days and Rome for another three. That November, with my boyfriend of a year in tow (much to my parents’ chagrin,) I touched down in Paris and squished the two of us into a train with the morning rush hour traffic.

The next three days we met Paris.

I visited museums and ate croissants. I was dumb and hadn’t researched enough, but it was fine. I was in Paris after all! We walked around the city eating crepes and ogling  fancy stores. On the fourth morning we woke up early and left our Moroccan themed hotel for the last time. We shuffled our way into Charles de Gaulle airport with sleep in our eyes and pillows in our hand. While walking to our gate, I passed the French version of the Winter issue of my old magazine, and it definitely caught my eye. Snowflakes covered the magazine name and every headline was in French, bien sûr. I needed it.

I have only ever bought magazines on the stand. I enjoy having the ability to buy whenever I please. I don’t feel rushed to read it and can take a month or a year if I so choose. But today something was different.

This afternoon, while reading the beginning of The Art of Editing No. 3 I was given the option to continue reading if, and only if, I subscribed to the Paris Review. I had always enjoyed the Paris Review but hadn’t been a loyal reader. But I was entranced by the article. The interviewee had my total and complete attention and I wanted to be her. I wanted to know everything there was to know about her life and her work, her career and her current whereabouts, so I subscribed.  I was given the option to subscribe for one year of four issues, or two years of eight. Each option gave me a “free gift” of interviews from over the years and neither was cheap. I have spent the last two years deciding whether I want to spend the $6 to subscribe to Conde Nast’s Traveler even though I check their site weekly, but this morning, I deep dove into a $95, two year subscription of a literary magazine that I rarely read.

Is this what a stroke feels like?

Yes ok, that was dramatic of me to say. But I feel different. As I get older, more of me is looking to become the elegant literary buff I wanted to be as a kid and less of me is looking to write. My book collection has grown 10 fold just from last January, and I haven’t even read half of them yet. I think it’s funny that now I dress in mostly black, with dark sunglasses and avoid eye contact with strangers so that I seem more mysterious. None of this is intentional now. Now it is just me, the way I react to being here, in a job that requires no creativity. I guess I’ve accidentally decided to let myself sink into invisibility so that when I do let out my creative ideas people are surprised, instead of expecting them the way they used to.

Reading and writing have always been my hobbies, they were my wheelhouse, so to speak. They were where I was most comfortable. But now I tend to gravitate to words that are already written; concrete ideas that don’t need me to develop them. I shy away from writing and it makes me sad. But writing isn’t something you’re just good at all of a sudden. You need to practice. I just wish I had more motivation to.

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The novel that never was

I’ve always wanted to write a book.

Ever since I was younger that was always my goal; it was something I could wrap my brain around, it gave me something to word toward. It almost got to the point where it seemed like that was what I was working toward in school, going to college, getting a journalism degree, and writing a book, in that order.

I’ve always accidentally been traditional. It’s not something I do due to the sheer joy of tradition. It’s just something I was able to get comfortable with.

Once I was in college I started so many stories. Each one so different than the last, having nothing to do with each other, or me. I related to all of it and none of it. But each one only got about a chapter or two deep. None were given the follow through that they deserved because none of them was the book that I was writing, they were just practice.

I always practiced writing; whether it was for the school newspaper or for class. And I read. I studied the way other writers wrote, where they wrote most comfortably, how drunk they were when they were writing. I dreamed of one day owning an old wooden cabin by a lake, somewhere I could bring my own typewriter in order to purge all of the thoughts that were stuck in my brain. That was where I was going to write my book.

Now I barely write. I have notes in my phone, random story ideas, but nothing ever comes to fruition. I’ve labeled all of them “book idea” so that if I ever needed to search for them I could find them, but what would be the point?

I miss writing, I just don’t even know what to write about anymore. I’m not able to finish a sentence, never mind a story arc. What I wouldn’t give for some good, old fashion inspiration.