Tag Archives: Buzzfeed

The Perfect Novel for My Personality … and Yours!

29 Jul
Obsessed with Buzzfeed quizzes, I of course find Myers-Briggs types fascinating. Perhaps as a memoirist I’m always on the quest to know myself better. Or maybe it’s because I’m Greek. Wasn’t it Socrates who said, “Know thyself”? At times, the Myers-Briggs test seems to know me better than I know myself. It narrows in on aspects of my personality that I haven’t thought about before even though they’re true.
Maybe that’s because I’m an ISTJ, and “The ISTJ is not naturally in tune with their own feelings.” ISTJ means Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging, or “Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Thinking.” ISTJs are quiet, reserved, loyal, dependable, keep in line with the law, and like tradition. You can read the breakdown here.
When I came across Flavorwire recently published “A Classic Book for Every Myers-Briggs Personality Type,” I was curious what novel would be paired with my personality type. Would it be one of my favorites? Would it be something that resonated with me on a soul level?
Would it be Jack Kerouac’s On the Road?
Saul Bellow’s The Dangling Man?
Maybe Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way?
Perhaps Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ?
According to Flavorwire, the novel that best suits me is…
ISTJ: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
With interest in traditions and loyalty, and an ability to make a huge impact despite being quiet, ISTJs will appreciate Wharton’s masterpiece of manners.
I actually do love Edit Wharton’s writing. I even have a Pinterest board devoted to a make-believe puppy I created named after one of her characters.
The part about my supposed “interest in traditions” is interesting though, particularly when it comes to my reading habits. I do like tradition. I was the kid in the family who always insisted we HAD to have Christmas at our house and do it a certain way because it was tradition. But, I think sometimes we read to escape ourselves, to stretch ourselves, to live out in our imaginations the parts of our personalities that we are too rule-abiding, too anxious, too conformist to live out in our actual lives.
What personality type are you? Do you find it to be an accurate portrayal of yourself? What book would you pick for your personality?

Friday Links: Helping Others Is More than Wishful Thinking

17 Apr


Make a Wish matches!

It’s been forever since I did a link roundup! I’ve been trying to focus more on my memoir writing these days, but I’ve run across so many great news stories and websites lately that I wanted to share with you:

  • My friend Gregory Andrus has been taking these stunning photographs of the Jersey Shore. The other day he posted this article about NJ musician Jon Bon Jovi opening JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms Kitchen, where there are “no menu prices, to help the fiscally challenged, and the restaurants try to serve organic produce whenever possible.”
  • My friend David Sung, the pastor of the Upper East Side-based Christ Resurrection Church, told me about this New York Times article about how Dan Price, who attended the Christian college Seattle Pacific University (which, by the way, offers a creative writing MFA), slashed his $1-million salary to give his lowest-paid workers a raise. The minimum wage at the company he founded, Gravity Payments, is now $70,000/year.
  • Meanwhile, this article reveals that 25% of “part-time college faculty” (and their families) receive public assistance. You know who this includes? Professors. Many colleges rely on adjunct professors, who get paid per class instead of being salaried.
  • My editor Jordan Green is obsessed with Clickhole. Obsessed. I particularly enjoyed the satirical buzzfeed-style listicle “How Much of a Grammar Nerd Are You?” he posted. My favorite line: “I got a tattoo of a comma splice and then had it removed.”
  • Via Pure Wow I discovered the loveliest named jewelry company: Wanderlust + Co. These gold arrow earrings are super cute. Arrows are so hipster.
  • Another company I discovered recently is Moorea Seal. I love the fact that sales from their goods benefit charities and that you can shop by cause. I also love these Make a Wish matches!

Happy weekend!!

Buzzfeed’s Take on Who Should Play My Mom and Dad in the Movie Version of My Life

20 Aug


If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m just a liiiiittle obsessed with taking quizzes. I especially love the Buzzfeed ones. Don’t judge.

A while back I saw the Buzzfeed quiz “Who Would Play Your Mom In The Movie Version of Your Life?” Of course I had to take it. I’ve spent some time daydreaming what actors might play my family in a film adaptation of my memoir. I took the quiz and it revealed Sofia Vergara (from “Modern Family”) should play my mom! Well that made good sense to me. My mom is one hot mama!

So when I saw they now had a quiz called “Who Would Play Your Dad in the Movie Version of Your Life?” I took it immediately. I had always thought Kelsey Grammer (you know, Frasier) would be a good fit for my dad. Buzzfeed thought otherwise. They picked Samuel L. Jackson!

Pause just a moment to picture a family with Sofia Vergara as the mother and Samuel L. Jackson as the father. …Are you picturing it? Welcome to the family!




Writing Wednesday: Oxford Comma for the Win!

26 Mar



Remember a while back when I posted about the story about Kerouac and Burroughs getting into a duel over the Oxford comma—or more so my reaction to that story?

Well, I just came across two recent articles fighting for this little bit of punctuation.

For up this Buzzfeed article that argues—quite humorously and convincingly—about the necessity of the Oxford comma.

Second, this Tin House article provides historical context to the Oxford Style Guide.

Yes, I’m a firm believer in the Oxford comma—or as it was called when I did my editing certification at NYU, the series comma. The Beats may be all about “open punctuation,” meaning very little punctuation, but I’m old school. I like a heavy dose of commas.


How do you feel about the Oxford or series comma? Am I a total nerd for even thinking about this??

Writing Wednesday: Reliving Those Awkward MFA Days

5 Mar

“This was a missed opportunity.”

Haha. Enjoy.


Which Decade Do I Actually Belong In??

30 Jan

quizimage via Buzzfeed

I’m kind of a sucker for personality quizzes, so naturally I took Buzzfeed’s “Which Decade Do You Actually Belong In?” quiz.

Anyone who knew me in high school would probably venture to say I should’ve been around in the ’60s. I became obsessed with The Beatles early on in high school, listening to all their greatest hits, watching their movies, learning how to play their songs on my guitar, and reading book after book about them. I wore bellbottoms and parted my hair down the middle. I thought Mary Quant was a genius. I hosted my own Woodstock party.

On top of my cultural tastes, I had what many East Coasters deemed to be a low-key, chill vibe that seemed to gel with the hippie mentality. I wouldn’t say I was all peace, love, and happiness. I was a teenager, after all, and my mother will gladly tell you I was moody. But, even so, if I was left alone I could easily just lay in the grass outside and ponder life.

But I didn’t get the 1960s; I got the 1950s.

I’d say maybe all reading and studying of Jack Kerouac rubbed off on me, but check out what Buzzfeed had to say about the person who belongs in the ’50s:

You yearn for a simpler time when people were polite, curt, and followed the rules. Maybe people say you’re a conformist, but you know you just like things to stay a certain way. Home is where the heart is.

Yep. That sounds about right. I’m a rule follower through and through and crave stability. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been so drawn to so-called counter-cultural movements and people who rebel against expectations. It’s escapism for me. I admire people who march to the beat of their own drum. I want to be like that. But I’m a cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s type of person. Literally. My career is founded upon anal-retentive attention to detail and to making texts conform to style.

But there is another part of me that does defy rules and expectations. I’ve always been sure of who I am and been true to myself in the greater scheme of life. Tell me I have to participate in class to get ahead, and I will stubbornly keep my mouth because I don’t want to play by society’s rules of social behavior. Expect me to be flaky in business matters because I’m an artist, and I’ll get all type A on you because I really care about my art and understand I have to treat it like a business.

We’re all like that deep down. Complex and individualistic. Not tethered to labels. The same goes for the so-called Beat Generation. Cultural critics argue that Beat writers eroded the pleasantries of the 1950s, but if you really look at the decade and if you really read their works you’ll see it was much more complex than that. The 1950s weren’t all separate twin beds for married couples and Leave It to Beaver childhoods. Jack Kerouac didn’t desire an aimless life on the road; he yearned for a ranch and family life.

Sorry. I didn’t mean to get all philosophical and literary over a Buzzfeed quiz! Anyway, I still think that if I could go back in time I’d want to go back to the 1960s.

What decade did you get? Which decade would you want to live in?

20 Reasons to Read “On the Road” in Your 20s

14 Aug


It recently came to my attention that Buzzfeed posted an article called “65 Books You Need to Read In Your 20s,” and I immediately knew Jack Kerouac would make the cut. After all, so many people have told me Kerouac is for young people.

First, though, at number 18 came Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The write up states:

Another English syllabus special, Hemingway’s tight prose and peerless storytelling are somehow more resonant when you are reading it on your own. Or as my colleague Matt put it: “I couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than five pages of Hemingway growing up, but for some reason I picked this up in my post-graduation haze and was mesmerized.”

I can see that. I was none too fond of Hemingway when I had to read The Snows of Kilimanjaro in class but post-grad enjoyed The Sun Also Rises. It’s been quite some time since I’ve read it and have been thinking I should reread it.


So what do we hear when we get to Kerouac, at number 34? A solitary, cynical line:


So that you’ll realize the way you felt about this book in high school has totally changed.


Really? Kerouac made the list just so that the blogger could diss On the Road? I’m all for personal growth and maturity, and I can certainly understand how some books are more relatable when you’re young, but, even if one thinks that’s the case with On the Road, why suggest someone “waste” valuable reading time rereading it then? Furthermore, why single out On the Road and not, say, Catcher in the Rye? And, if On the Road is deemed a book for teenagers, what are we to make of all the legions of adults who read Harry Potter?


I first read On the Road when I was a teenager, and I read it again when I was in my twenties. And guess what? I continue to pick it up and find inspiration from it. In fact, I think I appreciate certain aspects of it more now than I did when I read it in my teens. Therefore, I’d like to propose reasons why you should read On the Road in your twenties:

  1. Jack Kerouac who? You were busy with homework, video games, and the mall, and never read anything but assigned reading—which never included Jack Kerouac. That’s okay, you can read On the Road now.
  2. You understand more about history and politics now that you’re older and consequently can better understand the significance of this novel being written by an author who served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.
  3. You had heard about the Great Depression, but you didn’t know back then how that was tied to literary movements, and now you can see how money has shaped the art from The Great Gatsby to The Grapes of Wrath to On the Road.
  4. Much of contemporary literature uses a conversational voice so it never occurred to you that Jack Kerouac’s voice, diction, and stream of consciousness were revolutionary for his time period.
  5. You’ve delved into Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, amongst others, and now can make your own judgment about whether or not the term “The Beat Generation” is useful and appropriate.
  6. The main characters in On the Road are in their twenties. The struggles they face growing up and becoming mature adults are the same ones you now face.
  7. You weren’t allowed to take a bus across the country when you were a teenager. But now you can!
  8. You lived a quiet life in the suburbs as a teenager and weren’t exposed to people who’d been in jail, habitually did drugs, married and divorced, and didn’t hold down steady jobs as adults. Those characters may feel less foreign to you as you get older, and you may see them differently now.
  9. When you read the novel as a teenager, you thought Dean Moriarty was the hero. You’re not so sure anymore. This makes Kerouac’s portrayal of him even more intriguing.
  10. You skipped past all those setting descriptions, but now you realize they are pure poetry.
  11. The frenetic travels in the novel seemed exhilarating but confusing or pointless the first time you read the novel. Now, you can examine that as an intentional plot device.
  12. You didn’t think much of the religious aspects of the novel, but now, having heard more about Kerouac’s Catholicism and Buddhism, you can’t help but analyze their significance. This could change your perception.
  13. You enjoyed the romance of “the Mexican girl,” but you didn’t think too much about Kerouac’s portrayal of Mexican and Mexican American field workers, and now you can draw parallels to today’s discussions on the treatment of certain ethnic groups in America.
  14. You want to learn how to write better dialogue.
  15. You read the characters through a contemporary lens when you were younger, but now that you know more about the 1940s and ‘50s you have a greater understanding of the social norms of the time and how they relate to masculinity and gender roles. This can allow you to reexamine issues of identity, misogyny, and power in a novel that includes heterosexuals, bisexuals, homosexuals, male leads, and female minor characters.
  16. You realize in many ways the novel is a love story of America.
  17. You have actually listened to jazz by your twenties and read a little about music theory and now understand its role in the novel and its influence on Kerouac’s prose stylings.
  18. Cars have always been a part of your life, but now that more people your age are eschewing driving, you have a greater appreciation for the socio-economic dynamics of car culture.
  19. You realize that maybe in your younger years you were a bit of a follower, like Sal Paradise, and are now seizing the moment and establishing your own life.
  20. You want to learn how to experiment with syntax.

What would you add to this list?