Tag Archives: Laura Vanderkam

Kalo Mina! August 2013

1 Aug

400122_10200220737743484_402115136_nThis is me at the beach. In December. In Florida. I haven’t been back to the beach since.

Kalo mina! Happy first day of August!!

Can you believe how fast the summer is flying by? I’ve been so busy I feel like I’ve barely even begun to embrace summer.

A few years ago, I read Laura Vanderkam‘s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think after hearing her read at a Mediabistro party. I’ve written before about how I was inspired by her suggestion to create a list of 100 Dreams and also by the idea of trying to do something twice a week instead of having all-or-nothing thought patterns. Another concept she writes about in her book is how we often squander our time by not planning ahead. She writes specifically about how entire weekends can fly by without us feeling like we’ve accomplished anything, feeling like we rested, or feeling like we had fun. She suggested it’s better to pre-plan and schedule even things like going to the park in our calendars so they don’t fall to the wayside.

With this in mind, I created a Pinterest board called “Summer in the City.” It’s partly a mood board of images that remind me of what I love so much about New York City summers. Outdoor concerts in the rain. Sculpture gardens. Fresh corn on the cob. Wine tasting on Long Island. It’s also a bit of a to-do list. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and errands and writing and blogging and this and that and then fall comes and wonder what happened to the summer. So, I created a visual inspiration board. I would have a spectacular summer. The only problem is I spent more time creating the Pinterest board than doing the events! I forgot Vanderkam’s golden rule to pencil the activities in. Now I’ve taken the initiative now to reach out to various friends and start living out the summer I want to have.

Here’s a few of the items I’ve already checked off my Summer in the City to-do list:

  • Move — Done and done. Yeah, I actually kinda sorta moved twice. It’s a long story.
  • Attend my college BFF’s wedding in Dallas — I’d missed her and her family so dearly. It was lovely. And, now I can say I’ve been to Texas.
  • Attend my sister’s wedding — There were lots of wedding festivities.
  • Go on the Crown Maple Syrup tour — Sooo much fun! And delicious!
  • Watch Before Midnight — I love this trilogy so bad, and this particular movie was filmed near my house in Greece so I had to see it. I saw it at the Angelika, my favorite theatre in New York.
  • Attend Howl Festival — I can’t believe I’ve been remiss in blogging about this. I went by myself and had an awesome time.
  • Check out the exhibit Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit at the Met — I went with a friend who wrote a punk novel, and we had a good laugh at the CBGB installation.
  • Picnic in the park — My publishing friend treated me to a picnic of baguette and cheeses and wine in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where we watched a Shakespeare production.
  • Eat fresh fruit from the farmers market — A friend made me dinner in Brooklyn one night and served up fresh Southern peach slices. Afterwards we went and danced in the rain.
  • Read in the park — I wrote instead.
  • Attend BEA — Always enjoy this.
  • Listen to the orchestra play in Central Park — Went with two friends and had a magnificent time.

Okay, so looking over the list, I realize I actually have done a lot this summer. Maybe I have high expectations, but I want to do so much more. Like eat a cronut.

What’s on your summer bucket list?


Life after the MFA

5 Jun

As thesis submission deadline approached, people began asking me what I was planning on doing after graduation.  Then they’d stop themselves, afraid they may have asked too painful of a question.  But it’s not!

In one of my last posts, I left off telling you about grabbing a cup of tea after turning my theses in.  What I didn’t tell you was that on my walk back to my office, while sipping that delicious tea, I made a phone call to biographer Paul Maher Jr.  Paul’s books are some of the most well respected in his categories, and they’ve been translated and sold around the globe.

Inspired by Laura Vanderkam’s List of 100 Dreams, I created my own a while back.  Become a scholar on the Beat Generation was on my list.  I’ve been studying the writers generally categorized as Beat for more than a decade now.  I did my MFA at The New School, where Jack Kerouac took writing classes, and where I connected with writers who had known Jack Kerouac.

Now, my dream of becoming a Beat scholar is being realized.  Paul and I are working on a book that tells the true story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.  The phone call to him on Monday was to discuss cover ideas.

I don’t have a big life-altering answer to the question of what I’m doing after the MFA.  Paul and I have been working on this book for a while now, and since I won’t be simultaneously working on a thesis anymore I’ll simply be refocusing my creative energies into the book.  It helps that I didn’t enter the program straight out of undergrad.  I’d already been working in book publishing, a career many of my classmates are hoping to enter, and so graduation isn’t a big scary unknown for me.  I’ll be continuing in my editorial role.  For me, life after the MFA is about continuing to follow my passions while also seizing new opportunities.

I’m extremely excited to say that my post-MFA plan is to co-author a book on Jack Kerouac.

Writing Wednesday: Twice a Week

7 Sep


One of the hardest things about writing isn’t the actual writing—it’s finding time to write.  Laura Vanderkam asks, “Can You Try Twice Per Week?” on her 168 Hours blog.

Vanderkam cautions against all-or-nothing thinking.  As in, I must write every single day or else I’ll give up.  I’ve heard time and time again, writers preach on the importance of writing every single day.  I always end up feeling defeated.  How can I work full-time, accomplish errands, and still find time to write every day?  Oh, and I rather like having some sort of social life, so how can I do all that and still have a life?  Vanderkam’s approach is refreshing.  She advises on making priorities out of the things we want to do but actually being reasonable about it.  She suggests that, given the 168 hours we have during the week, we can probably find two days during the work week to devote to that priority.

One way to find extra time, she says, is to wake up early.  Ugh.  Not what I wanted to hear.  I’m not a morning person.  But the truth is, by the time I’ve run from work to class to dinner, the last thing I want to do is write at the end of the night.  I haven’t tried waking up early to write, but I may give it a shot.

I first heard Vanderkam speak at MediaBistro’s book club and then went on to read her book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think.  I’d highly recommend it to … well, everyone.  I hear so many people say they don’t have time for writing or for spending time with their family or for whatever it is they want to do, and this book shows that we actually do have time for a lot of what we want to do – we just have to respect the time we’re given and get the most out of it.

Can you wake up early twice a week to work on your writing?

Cartoon Crush

14 Feb

“You know, guys, sometimes I wish we were cartoon teenagers.”

~ Fez on That 70s Show


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share my cartoon crushes.

Maybe back in ancient Greece, girls got all dreamy-eyed listening to myths about Hercules, but growing up in suburban New Jersey I got crushes on cartoon characters.  It wasn’t the Prince Charming type that I was into, though.  No, I liked them a bit scrappier–and wearing green tunics.

Peter Pan was one of my early cartoon crushes.  Wendy, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, and all the mermaids swooned over him, and I could understand why.  He was a real charmer, always flirting with one girl after the other.

My other big cartoon crush was Link from The Legend of Zelda.  On Fridays, instead of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, The Legend of Zelda aired on tv.  Like Peter Pan, Link was sarcastic and flirty.

That’s why I was so excited when my friend Sue sent me this link to The Legend of Zelda: The 80s Teen Movie.  If John Hughes made a film about Zelda, this is what it would look like.

Speaking of video games, if you haven’t seen Brothers Mario yet, check out Brothers Mario.

Also, Laura Vanderkam (168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think) wrote a telling article awhile back called “The Princess Problem.”


Who are your cartoon crushes??