Anias Nin at work in Los Angeles, 1963
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anias Nin
I’m not gonna lie, I first heard of Anias Nin through a Jewel song. Yeah, that’s right, I actually still have a soft spot for Jewel, but that’s a story for another time… Right now, let’s talk about the iconoclastic Ms. Nin. A prolific diarist, novelist, and writer of erotica, Nin’s self-reflective, deeply honest prose is remarkable for the way it all at once captures the essence of her era and the influential literary circles she ran in while remaining timeless. I mean, isn’t it uncanny how her words above ring so true today and yet you could probably imagine them having been written back in the Elizabethen Era as well?
Mindy Kaling mixing prints and birds like the pro she is
When I think about the kind of woman I want to be as I move into the next stages of my career, lots of amazing role models in television come to mind, but no one quite inspires me like Mindy Kaling. Not only is “The Mindy Project” one of the most watchable shows out there right now, but Kaling is a bona fide #girlboss who unabashedly demands competence from everyone she works with and never apologizes for what she wants. As someone who spends a bit too much time making sure the people around me are happy and feel heard, I could certainly afford to channel Kaling more often. As she puts it: “I love women who don’t ask, ‘Is that okay?’ after everything they say.” You know what I’m getting at, right..?
Is that okay?
On a purely creative level, I must also note that Kaling inspires me because her writing manages to all at once keep it real and make me feel good about the world I live in…
Maya Angelou photographed by Taylor Jewell
I was not a fan of Maya Angelou when I first read her work as a persnickety pre-teen who had an inexplicable distaste for memoirs, but in the years since her words have often touched me in moments when I’ve been in need of inspiration and reassurance. Upon second reading, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings became one of my favorite books, and what woman amongst us has not somehow been moved by her poem Phenomenal Woman? Of the many Maya Angelou quotes filling the interwebs today, the one I find most moving right now is…
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
In fond (albeit sometimes fickle) remembrance, I am feeling very grateful for Maya Angelou’s turns of phrase on this day. I hope she inspires you in a similar way as well.
Image source: Pinterest.
On a good day, writing feels as magical as screaming into a blasting fan on a sticky linoleum floor in the dead of summer
As I wade through a sea of deadlines and the labyrinthine bank of escalators that may or may not one day lead me to a successful career in the entertainment industry, I find that it’s vital to take a step back every now and then to remind myself why it is I do what I do in the first place. It can be so easy to forget and to get caught up in the stresses (and, heck, even to toy with quitting because of those stresses), but when I give myself a moment’s pause I’m always reminded it is love, innocence, and dreams that are at the core of what I do, not what’s waiting at the top of this pesky elevator bank. Since this has been on my mind lately, I figured I’d share just a few more of the reasons why I write…
Stack of Nora Ephron books photographed by Shelly Gross
It still boggles my mind that one of the most inspiring and influential female voices of our time, Nora Ephron, died last week. Not so long ago I would have quickly deleted that word “female,” thinking it was an insult to any artist to qualify her/his greatness by a gender, but now that I’ve spent a good deal of time pondering what Ephron’s work has meant to me, I realize celebrating the femaleness of all she leaves behind is actually a great compliment. After all, Ephron spent her career fighting her way to the top of some very male industries just so she could tell stories about women, for women, and by women. The femaleness of her blockbuster movies, such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Julie & Julia” has in fact drawn women and their dates to theaters for decades, and these stories hold a very prominent place in the romantic ideals of me and almost every other gal I know. As an adolescent, teenager, and young woman, Nora Ephron’s flicks taught me to demand more for myself out of life and love, and I would dare to say her rom coms stirred something far greater in me than any art-house film ever has.
“Larkstorm” by Dawn Rae Miller, cover art by Sarah Marino
You are now one of the first people on the planet to see the cover of Dawn Rae Miller’s debut young-adult novel “Larkstorm.” When the characters and epic love stories of this book are famous, you’ll be able to say you saw this glimpse of the cover first – yeah, that’s right, you saw it even before this hauntingly beautiful image hit the presses. Pretty rad, eh?
Typewriter, flowers and coffee – I wish my writing set up looked like this
It can happen somewhere as simple as a doctor’s office or cafe, but all it takes is a glimpse of medical scrubs or chef’s whites and I’m a goner. I drift into a daydream in which I wake up to morning sun as gentle as lemonade and a kitchen sink that isn’t full of dishes, and then I pack a thermos of soup for lunch and ride my bike to work in a neatly starched uniform. At the office, I file things away the moment they cross my desk, make a difference in people’s lives for hours on end, and then maybe rehearse for a community theater production of “Pippin” before biking home for dinner. Once I get to this point in my fantasy, an optometrist usually jars me awake with, “Now, cover your left eye,” and I look back at him/her with what can only seem like the most psychotic brand of puppy-dog infatuation on the planet. Yeah, that’s right: I fantasize about being an optometrist. I realize this may sound insane, considering many an optometrist, chef, or meter maid out there probably fantasizes about being a writer on a regular basis, but what can I say? I feel there’s something positively dreamy about uniforms, office hours and designated stopping points…