Post-"Bitter is the New Black" Musings


I got home an hour ago and I still have work to do. But all I have wanted to do all day is finish reading “Bitter is the New Black” and considering that time away from work is MY time (or so I’d like to think when I have a delicious novel sitting in my bag – yes, I brought it to work with me – just waiting to be read), I just finished the SPLENDID tome that was Jen Lancaster’s first masterpiece and it makes me want to write, write and write some more, more than ever.

Yes, I realize that last sentence ran a little longer than even a run-on sentence should and I tried to shove six different thoughts into it, but you’re still reading, aren’t you? Leave me aloney.

So now that I am finished with the book, I am equal parts sad and contemplative. Sad that I have actually finished it and I don’t have a legitimate way to procrastinate from getting more work done (at home, mind you; I work my tail off from 9 to 5, thank you very much) and contemplative at the way the story ends.

Let me explain.

As I’ve told you guys before, I LOVE writing. You know I mean business when I use all capital letters and I really do LOVE writing. And I’ve always known that. But when I went off to college it became evident fairly quickly that a career in “writing” (in quotations because no college career advisor ever seemed to consider “writing” to be a legitimate career) didn’t bring home the bacon.

And I love bacon.

So I studied Communications – of the Mass variety, in particular, as that’s all they offer at Berkeley – and I ended up in PR. I’m not complaining. There’s plenty of writing to be had in PR and my job brings in the bacon…or, at least, it brings in those tiny little sausages, but I am working my way up.

Anyways, the plenty’o’writing that PR affords has turned out to be a lot of press releases, tradeshow speaking spots/industry award submissions (not unlike the ever-popular college admission, they are just as tedious as they sound) and…e-mails. Any writing is writing, I suppose.

But really I don’t.

While I am thankful that my boss recognized my penchant for penning things and assigned most writing tasks to me, the press releases and college – er, conference – submissions don’t really get the creative juices flowing.

So ever since I’ve become an “adult” (in quotations because I don’t seem to consider myself a legitimate “adult”), I have pined for the creative freedom of writing all the time about anything I want (which, more often than not, tends to be me) and have complained as such to anyone who would listen (who, more often than not, tends to be Cute Boy). Finally, Cute Boy and his roommate, Ryan (who claims he knew my writing was witty just from the Myspace comments and e-mails I sent him alone – I love Ryan) told me to just write every day. And thus, Splendid Really! was born. And I’ve been far more pleasant to be around ever since.

Not finished.

Ever since my little blog baby was born, I have been dying to write every day. I curse my job, Cute Boy, Comcast Internet service or whoever might stand in the way of my writing. I have begun having dreams of dancing Macbook Airs and writing in coffeeshops – sitting at a table with my lappy, a backwards Dodgers cap sitting precariously atop my head, a notebook at my side and a pencil clamped firmly between my teeth as I quickly type out my latest burst of witty genius.

Cute Boy has even dangled the carrot in front of my nose, offering to let me invade his all-important space and privacy by moving in with him (thereby cutting my rent in half) and even supporting me for a few months so I can just write and write and write some more. If he were already the successful professional photographer that I know he will be, I would SO take him up on that offer. In fact, I’d make him extend it by about 21 months; but alas, he is only twenty-two years old, works in a bar while he struggles to erect his own career, and already showers me with more support and devotion than I deserve, so his offer (though generous) is not an option right now.

Which brings me to my “Bitter is the New Black” contemplation. At the end of the book – SPOILER ALERT (although not really if you read the beginning of the book and then logically make the connection that Jen Lancaster is now a published author) – Fletch (Jen’s husband) is supporting her while she pursues her career as a writer full-time. Surprise, surprise, it works out and she publishes an incredibly witty and charming book which I couldn’t put down (I bet you didn’t see that coming).

So now I sit here contemplating how I can pursue that life, because it seems to be exactly the kind of life I want. And the coincidence is not lost on me that this splendid author’s name is Jen (as is mine), she loves to write and began pursuing this passion by starting a blog, and she loves the word “splendid”. I can only hope that we are also both, coincidentally, witty, well-read, published authors (Jen=present and future tense, me=currently only future).

So far I haven’t come up with much. I don’t yet have a husband to support me while I follow my dream and I’m not so sure I am willing (or able) to leave the stability of a full-time job and consistent paycheck (however small that paycheck may be)...not yet, anyway.

I am perfectly content to blog to your Google Reader’s content, but one day – probably very soon – I think I will want even more than that. If there were some way to make the exhiliration, creative release and happiness I feel writing to you every day and turn it into a career, I would sign on the dotted line right now. And I think Jen's done it. I just have to figure out how to get there.

Until then, I have another press release to write.


Clueless Cat said...

Great post. I can relate to "Writing is writing, I suppose. But I really don't." I write for a magazine, and although, yes, I get to write, I have to write advertorials and wedding-related articles (which sound fun, but really get tedious very quickly!). I, too, have "pined for the creative freedom of writing all the time about anything I want (which, more often than not, tends to be me)". :)

From that I've realized that what I really want to do isn't write for a living, but to be in the book business (editorial, to be specific), and continue blogging and writing on the side. Hopefully that will come into fruition soon...

Anyway, just pretty much wanted to say "I hear ya, sista!" I hope you figure out a way to do what you like soon.

Paige Jennifer said...

Three years ago, a beau told me my writing was stellar and I needed to pursue it more seriously. I started a blog to get the pen going, sticking to a steady schedule of two essays a week. A few months in, I printed out the Bennington MFA application. Then I cut it up and used it for scrap paper. A year later I did it all over again. In January, I printed out the Bennington application and last week I submitted.

Just don't give up on your dreams and when you're truly ready, they'll come true.

(holy shit - that is so Tony Robbins)

freeandflawed said...

Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors. Have you read her second book, "Bright Lights, Big Ass?" It's just as good as the first in my opinion!

I wish I could go from blogger to author!