Oh! That is Silence!

It was 3 in the afternoon.  The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. I was very seriously considering plugging my phone back in – because it was blinking with 12% battery.  And I’d been sitting on the couch, typing away on my laptop for quite a while without plugging it in, so it was running a respectable 24%.  23%.

Life after surgery.  Pure glamour, let me tell you. 

And then – BOOM.

I knew what happened.  I heard it – and my brain immediately started arguing with itself.  Surely, that wasn’t the power going out.  That would be ridiculous. That would be inconvenient.  

No, seriously.  That would suck.  Continue reading “Oh! That is Silence!”

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Let The Great World Spin

My friend Julia sent me Colum McCann’s Let The Great World Spin for my two weeks at home recovering from surgery.  (Again – my friends are amazing!  Have I said that lately?)

There are some books in the world where the words simply serve the story. The story is the thing to focus on and nothing else.  Then, there are other books where the words themselves are an art form – as though the way they’re strung together could somehow be separated from their meanings and appreciated as high art all its own.  Ian McEwan is a perfect example of this phenomenon I’ve only seen a few times.

And now – we have Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin with the same beauty.

It’s a book of slightly frayed, barely connected stories of several New Yorkers – a preacher, some prostitutes, an artist, a judge, a group of computer hackers routing calls to hear a first hand account of what’s going on, a group of mothers who have lost their sons, and the observers on the ground –  in 1974, when Philippe Petit (unnamed in the book) steps out onto a wire between the World Trade Center towers and goes across eight times, a quarter mile in the air.  (Have you seen Man on Wire? Go. Do it now.)  The stories spin out and out and we see the world from so many varying perspectives that it’s hard to imagine they’ll all come crashing back together. Man on Wire

I think my favorite part of the book is how the characters don’t all suddenly look up into the sky and use it as a metaphor for how they’re living their lives.  Because you know what?

People usually don’t cling to metaphor right from the start.

In that initial moment of hearing or knowing – it’s raw and real… Continue reading “Let The Great World Spin”

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Deeply Grateful

Today, I am grateful for so much…

The first five on my list: 

photo 4photo 3photo 2


time with friendsphoto 1



                        Funny how it takes one little tweak in your life to realize what you’ve taken for granted.

I lost a few things this week.




The ability to set my own schedule.

The chance to tie up my running shoes and go run/look at flowers in my neighborhood.

Then, I had to cancel a really important event (one I’ve been planning for 2+ years).

I’m going to have a big permanent scar.

It was a very hard week.

It’s the strangest feeling to really stop and think – Holy hell. I think I might die today. I was curled up going, “So… God. If you and I have anything to discuss, I think now might be a good time.”

Talk about a clarifying moment.

As it turns out – I didn’t die. Ta-da! (Unless I did, in which case this blog is bigger news than I think it is! Ghost blogger! Blogger from the beyond! Think about the tv possibilities!!!)

And the rest of my week has been all about coming face to face with the deep realization that most people spend their entire lives running from –

I can’t do it all on my own.

It’s one of those lovely little phrases that you sort of know, sort of understand, and sort of live by. It makes sense on a surface level too. We live in a world of communities and cities and towns, people who live together for safety and protection and supplies (I can’t grow my own coffee. So – yeah, I think I’m going to need a city to live in.) And, frankly, there’s just not enough space for us to never come in contact with another human.

But believe me, it takes it to a whole other level when I have to lean on someone’s arm to walk across the room.

I’ve been so humbled and so deeply happy this week as people have showed up on my doorstep with food and love. They’ve totally ignored the fact that my hair is sticking up in all directions and that I’m decked out in a giant sweatshirt and leggings. I’ve been the worst hostess ever. “Hey everyone, my kitchen is there. Um, have at it.”  My friends are beautiful.

And so… just to put this out in the world in the middle of a really truly terrible week – not everything is terrible. There’s a whole list of things I’m crazy grateful for. (For the start – see above!)  There are lovely things in the world, in the middle of it all.

And I can’t wait to get back to my normal life! 

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What Do You Do When You’re Scared? You Run…

It’s been a crazy few weeks around here in my non-blogging life.

First – lots going on at work.  (I’m in love. Seriously.)

Then – the Boston bombings hit, and everything I had lined up to publish seemed completely irrelevant.  Then – there was that minor detour into the hospital (where I’m actually still at… but that’s another story.)

So – my whole life lately has been one crazy exercise in directly facing my fears.  A year or so ago, I heard the best idea of my life – every day, you have to do one thing that scares you.  I really wish I would have paid attention to where I read that or who told me to give it a try, because it’s completely revolutionized my entire life.  It doesn’t have to be something big and grand – like jumping out of a plane when you’re afraid of heights.  It can be something small but somehow more emotionally terrifying.  Some days, I’ve introduced myself to a new friend.  Some days I’ve reached out to people I greatly admire in their careers  and asked if we can meet for coffee so I can pick their brains and learn how they do what they do.  Some days I’ve turned off my phone for my own personal sanity.  (What if the world needs me??? AHHHHHH!!!!  But you know what?  The world goes on without me.  It’s a bit crazy.)

you run!
my ugly but well-loved shoes…

Confession time.

I run.  I actually really don’t love to run at all.  I’m not one of these amazing runners who bounds ouf of bed in the morning looking forward to a run.  I have to force myself to go out 3 or 4 mornings a week.  Once I’m out, running in the sunrise, it’s actually really beautiful.  And I love how I feel when i get home.  But excuses are easy to find and hard to combat.

So, Wednesday morning, I got out of bed.  Repeated my running mantra – Get outside right now.  Right now.  No excuses – over and over until I got ready. I cued up my music (current favorite – Young Guns’ 2012 album Bones) and took one step outside.  My heart twinged – and the thought crossed my mind.  Boston.  Am I really going to run a marathon now?  

I realized – if I wanted it – I had a solid reason to never run again.

But a life lived in fear is no real life.  For everyone affected in any way by Boston – the last thing I’d want to do is taint their legacy by saying, “Yeah, I’m afraid now.”  You just have to keep running.

So – in life, I have a new mantra.

What do you do when you’re afraid?   You run… run hard… run fast.

You run for everyone else who can’t run.  You carry people along with you.  You remind each other that today is not forever.  That we are not alone in this messy, beautiful, scary life.  There’s an old song I grew up singing that keeps reminding us all… “Sorrow may last for the night.  But joy comes in the morning.”

You run towards that joy.

As Jerry Sittser says in A Grace Disguised – “The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.”

So what do you do when you’re afraid?  You run… 

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The Other Hours of My Day

other hours of my day

Do you know the world goes on, even when you sleep?  That the soft light of the morning will come without any help from you?  That the fog rolls in and rolls out without any word from you?  Do you know?  

I write for a living.  It’s my job. My career path.  My life.  I love it. Like – I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it.   Like crazy, goofy, hearts and flowers – I love it.

Writing is also what I do for fun.  There is nothing I love more in the world than the amazing rush of landing on an idea – the right idea – for a story and running with it.    I blog.  I write letters to friends.  I write my blog as a letter for friends I haven’t even met yet (hello!)   I write songs. Poems. I write my own tv pilots and feature scripts. (I have a dream of winning the Booker Prize or a Pulitzer one day – but I guess I’ll probably have to write a novel at some point if it’s ever going to happen.  I should get on that.)  I write funny post-it notes that I leave for Luke in the most random places.  I dream in stories. I buy fun pens and brightly colored paper.  Sometimes I write with skinny crayola markers because at the end of the day – even if I have absolutely nothing storywise, at least it looks pretty.

I heart words. 

But somehow – it turns out that I am not Superwoman. (*sniff*)  For whatever reason – we’re fragile little human creatures, and we have to rest and recharge otherwise we will fritz out and not be able to think straight.  And that is never a pretty sight.  Trust me on that one.

When I get there, it becomes this horrible spiral of diminishing returns where the longer I go without actually letting my brain chill out for a second, the worse my work gets.  Boo.

I always say i’m going to rest, and then I never do. 

There’s a whole world out there to explore!   But apparently – the world goes on – even when I take an afternoon to dream and be with friends and family.  And in a very general sense, just be.  It’s humbling.

I am not as important to the world as a whole as I’d like to imagine that I am.  🙂

Rest is a gift. 

I also have a tendency to “rest” by reading a new novel for research or by watching a new tv show and taking notes to learn from the best writers in the biz.  In theory – I’m not writing.  But my brain is still in ‘input’ mode, spinning off into new story ideas and new paths.  All good things – until I walk in my front door and can’t remember which direction my kitchen is because my brain is so bedraggled that I can barely recite my ABC’s.

It’s like Bilbo Baggins says in Lord of the Rings.  ”I feel old. Thin. Like butter scraped across too much bread.”

I so get that.

So I have to find time in my day to do things that have nothing to do with writing and stories.   Sounds simple enough.  But it’s taken me forever and a day to realize that it’s actually necessary.  Trying to live my life in a way that proclaims to the world – I DO NOT NEED REST! – is actually a really horrific way to live.  My soul will die.  My body will get exhausted.  And I stop creating space for others to rest as well.  (Well, if I don’t need rest, surely you don’t either…  It’s an ugly spiral, arrogance at its very worst. Sigh.  That sucks.)

Rest is allowed. 

I know.  It’s like a miracle. But – in my head, it also sounds like someone’s trying to convince me that the sky is green and that the earth actually has six moons.  Say what now?  That can’t actually be true. 

And so – my amazing blogging people, help me out here.

 What do I do with the other hours in my day?  

What do you do with the other hours in your day?   What refreshes your soul?  What recharges you?  What do you love to do?  How do you rest?

I want to be inspired by your awesomeness.



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Genius, Power and Magic in it….

I just read this quote today for the first time – though I’m sure there are a million literature buffs all around me going – What??? You’ve never ever heard this before?    


I love this quote so much I just had to share… 

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

                           – Goethe

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Made-Up Stories Can Matter

Life has been totally crazy lately (hence the serious lack of posts here!)

So – in protest of the craziness, and honestly a bit out of self-preservation, I bought a book just for me, just for my own heart.  It has nothing to do with research for my show.  Nothing to do with things I’m writing.  I don’t plan to write anything similar to it.

I just want to read someone else’s story and disappear into it.

fault in our stars

Enter John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. 

I haven’t even started reading yet, but I am already in love with Green’s words.  This is his author’s note at the front.

This is not so much an author’s note as an author’s reminder of what was printed in small type a few pages ago.  This book is a work of fiction.  I made it up.  

Neither novels nor their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story.  Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.  

I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Made up stories can matter… 

What a revolutionary idea.

We spend our growing up years with questions papering over our hearts like an interior decorator gone bezerk. Will you tell me a story?  Will you read me a story? Tell me about the time when this happened to you.  Why?  When?  What did the strawberry chiffon cake taste like?  Do you think time travel is real?  What would you do if you had a pet dinosaur.  Can I watch a movie?  Will you read me just one more story? 

And why is that?  When you’re 8 – the whole world is new for you.  I’d never been to Africa, but I remember learning about ancient Egyptian culture.  I remember going to the zoo and trying to imagine  what it must be like to be a lion in the jungle. I remember trying out a British accent at 10 and wondering what life would be like if I sounded like that.   When you’re so small,  life isn’t old and average yet.  It’s new and scary as hell and different.  Every day is a new story.

But you still want to hear more.  

I read the Little House on the Prairie books so many times my mom finally took them away from me so I would read something different.  I read all the Nancy Drew books.  I wrote stories of time traveling teenagers and strange alien spaceships and a girl who was in love with a boy and she could never tell anyone about it at all.

Those made-up stories mattered.

Every once in a while I get asked why I decided to be a tv writer instead of going off and becoming a doctor (blood and math. seriously?) or lawyer (arguing for a living? pass.) or businesswoman (I could have survived.)

I want to take this quote and just superglue it to my forehead so everyone who wants to know can read it.  Made-up stories can matter.

And maybe my stories aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of the world.  I’m not going to cure cancer or solve an international crisis.  But I’m sort of going after the smaller moments anyway.

There’s a Star Trek: TNG episode where the Captain has a chance to re-live his life making the ‘correct’ choices.  He undoes a crucial risk he took – stupid youth gotten way out of hand – and in a flash, he ends up being some a mousy no one on his ship.  I was 16 or so the first time I saw the episode, and I don’t know if it was just the moment I saw it in my life or what – but it sparked something deep and lasting in me.  I was the quiet little wallflower who just wanted to stay out of everyone’s way.  But I wanted SO much out of life – and up until that moment, I lived in fear that I would miss it all.

I suddenly saw my life as if I was headed into those sort of big crucial decisions – and I decided right then and there that I was going to make the big choices and take the big (dare I say stupid) risks and see what would come of it.     My life has been scary as hell some days – but I don’t have a long list of What ifs?

That was a made-up story that mattered.  

One of my favorite college memories is sitting in a friend’s living room with 10 other friends watching Triplets of Belleville. It was a moment in time where I felt safe and surrounded and like maybe – at least for the moment – everything was going to be all right.  We laughed and talked and paused the movie to admire the artistry in every frame.  We drank a good bottle of wine and bonded over our complete inability to cook dinner that night.

In it’s own way, that was a made-up story that mattered. 

A little over a year ago, my best friend and I sat in her living room, painted our nails, ate dinner and marathoned 6 episodes of Dawson’s Creek. And it led into a whole discussion of life in junior high school and all of the fears and weirdness that came along with that time in our lives.  We laughed at the horrible fashions from back then – and cringed when characters had to live through a moment we totally remembered from being that age.  it was a beautiful reminder that we’re not actually alone in any of this thing called life and every bonkers moment we have – someone else has probably been exactly where we are. Today is not forever.

That was a made-up story that mattered.

And it’s true that maybe I would have grown up and become a less-wallflowery type of person.  Maybe I would have taken the risk to be brave after listening to another song or after reading another story.  Maybe my friends and I still would have had an amazing night without watching Triplets.  And surely – my best friend and I could have found a thousand other things to talk about instead of Pacey (*thirteen year old swoon*)

But in those moments, those made-up stories made up precious moments of life I’m talking about and thinking about a year later, five years later, a decade later.

Those are the kind of smaller moments I’m after.  

The kind I wouldn’t trade for anything.  +

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