The Creative Life, or The Impossibility of Ever Getting it Right

I’ve spent the last week at Mt. Holyoke College, outside Amherst, Massachusetts, at a conference called The Glen Workshop for Tormented Creatives. I mean, that’s not what the conference is really called, but it might as well be. This morning, at breakfast, the chef asked me how my “studying” was going. “Great,” I told him, only half-lying. Then I added the rest of it, the part that made it all-the-way true: “But it’s hard.”

            “What are yous studying, anyways?” He flicked his towel at a fly that was too interested in the pitcher of pancake syrup.

            “Well, I’m taking a fiction workshop,” I said, “but other people are taking classes in poetry, or memoir, or painting, or filmmaking.”

            “Wow, that sounds hard.”

            And I thought, You have no ideaWriter's Block


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99 Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier in Life


It's that time of year when Kleenex stock prices soar, and your mailbox overflows with senior pictures from relatives you didn't even realize existed: It's high school graduation month! A year ago, my firstborn took that Final Walk Across the Stage, which prompted me to think about my own 18-year old graduating self, and all the things I've learned since that long-ago day. I thought of lessons learned the hard way, and consequences I'm still living with, and I wrote a list of them for my daughter, which I put it inside her graduation card. Some of these lessons, I did learn the hard way. Many were taught to me just in time by my own mother and other wise people. A few, I may or may not have shamelessly plagiarized from similar lists. No matter where the lessons came from, they are still:

99 Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier in Life. 

Red High Heels With Diamonds

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Lies Pinterest Told Me

6:30 a.m on Memorial Day found me in the kitchen, on my knees, scrubbing grimly at two years’ worth of baked-on oven door grime, swishing a mouthful of coconut oil through my teeth, and wondering where it had all gone wrong.

This particular moment was the fruit of one morning’s Pinterest trawling. Among other things, on that day, I learned about “oil pulling.” It’s this thing where you put a big ol’ spoonful of Extra-Virgin-Cold-Pressed-$7.99-a-Jar Coconut Oil in your mouth, then you swish it around for 20 minutes, in order to “pull” all the toxins from your body. If the blogs are to be believed, once you start oil pulling, you Will Never Have to Brush Your Teeth Again!

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