This makes me uncomfortable, but I'm trying a thing.

The best career advice to give to the young is, 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.' -Katharine Whitehorn

I have a really hard time asking for money, especially when it comes to things that I enjoy doing. For some reason, my gut instinct is to say "Sure, I'm working hard, but it's work I enjoy doing, so the work is its own reward! Why would I want to be paid for it?"

This is a stupid approach. It's really stupid considering how much I believe that you should find a job that you enjoy doing.

So... I'm accepting the fact that even though I enjoy writing funny stories and it's a lot of fun for me, it is work and it's a thing I work hard at doing, so maybe I should be able to make money doing it?

God, I'm so uncomfortable right now...

Here's the thing: This blog will always be free, and I've never been comfortable with the idea of ads or paid posts. Whenever I see advertisements anywhere, I'm annoyed. I don't want them before my videos, I don't want them in the middle of my tv shows, I don't want to see them when I'm driving on the freeway. None of it. So why would I want them on my blog?

I've thought about asking people to advertise their blogs here on my blog, but then I think to myself "Eh, I just want to list those for free because I love them, not because they paid me."

But I also think that writers should be paid. I think creative people should be paid. I am a writer and a creative person. And I work hard at what I do, but I also think that the only way I want to be rewarded for that is because people also like what I do. So... I found Patreon.

Patreon is basically a way for you to support the creative people whose work you enjoy. It's like Kickstarter, but continuous, and if you choose to support me as a writer, you'll get special perks outside of this blog - like a book recommendation from me, a cute picture of my dog thanking you personally, a live q&a session with me, or even a crocheted critter.

And if I reach my goal, I can create even more funny content for you guys. I can tell you even more funny stories, and the more funny stories I tell, the better I'll get at telling them, and together we will make this blog even better - all because of you and your support. I have big dreams to take this blog and this community further, but I can't accomplish them alone.

Now, you don't have to do this. You don't have to pay me a dime. Even if I never make any money, I'll keep writing this blog and I'll keep writing stories because it's something that I love to do, but if you think that creative types deserve to be paid for what they do, I urge you to at least consider it.

 

Are you a creative person on Patreon? Share your work and your Patreon link in the comments below because I'm not just looking to be supported, but I'm looking for more people to support!

Now go forth and do the thing!

Surround yourself with brilliance.

The other night my writing group held a reading at a local restaurant to honor the memory of a long-time member who recently passed away and to honor the work and life of one of the founding members who is moving away shortly. It was all very sad and very humbling, but also incredibly uplifting and joyous. This writing group, The No Name Writing Group, has been meeting for over thirty years and is more talented than most of its members care to admit or realize. I half-joke a lot about how I'm waiting for them to realize how much of a fraud I am and kick me out. It's not because I don't think I'm a good writer, I think I can put words together just fine, but when I hear their work every month it's hard not to think that I don't belong.

But then I realized something: I'm becoming a better writer every day and it's because of this group. I actually don't think of myself as a complete hack anymore and it's because of this group - and it's not because they are constantly telling me I'm brilliant (although they do try and remind me of it when I need it most), but it's because they are brilliant and I think that it's finally rubbing off on me to some extent.

So this is what I'm here to really say:

  1. Don't surround yourself with people you think you're just as good as, or better than. If you really want to get better at what you do, surround yourself with people who blow your freaking mind.
  2. When you find those people who manage to make you say "Crap, I've got some work to do," make sure that they're people who will love and support you as you work on your projects. There's nothing worse than a brilliant jerk, and they should be avoided as much as possible.

And finally, I want to share the work of some of these brilliant people with you. Please go and read their stuff and bookmark it and tell them how much you love them.

Davyne Verstandig: http://www.davyneverstandig.com/

Karen LaFleur: http://www.lafleurartworks.com/

Merima Trako: http://www.worldaccordingtoblam.com/

This amazing short story by Tom Lagasse: https://www.femininecollective.com/beyond-the-finish-line/

And Tom's website, too!: www.tomlagasse.com

(They don't all have websites, but if I'm missing any, I'll update this list as I go!)

23 things to make you smile. Right now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I've been making more of an effort to spread cheer and optimism over there. I don't really know what started this, but for some reason lately, I've been trying to broadcast happiness on a grand scale. Maybe it's because the headlines lately have been exhaustingly sad and rageful. Or maybe it's just because I like happy things and I honestly don't think the world can have enough happiness. Either way, yesterday, I asked people on twitter to only tweet about the good stuff happening and using the hashtag, #HappyTweets. Now, I'm not a person with a ton of followers, so this didn't take off quite as much as I'd hoped it would, but that's okay. I still managed to tweet happy things, and I'm going to keep this going, even here on the blog. So... in the event that you just need a reason to smile, here is a list of things to be happy about in spite of what the news tells us:

  1. Puppies. I tweeted about this yesterday, but how incredible is it that we live on a planet on which puppies exist? Puppies, possibly the cutest things ever, happen all the time. They're just all around. And then, on top of them being cute, THEY LOVE EVERYONE. Have you ever met a puppy that didn't want to snuggle or play? Many books have been written on the love that dogs give us, but I think puppies deserve an extra boost right now because we are so lucky to live in the same universe as them. Just soak that incredible fact in.
  2. Artists. Okay, so I'm also floored by just how amazing it is that we are living at a time when people like Jenny Lawson, Hank Green, J.K. Rowling, Hannah Hart, Ben Folds, Rainbow Rowell, etc. all create stuff that we get to enjoy and learn from. Every day, there are amazing artists of all types creating things that we just get to sit down and be like "THIS IS A THING I ENJOY" and then we get to walk away feeling inspired by those people and things they do. Especially now. Now we are in a time when content is just constantly available to us - and often for free. This brings me to the next thing...
  3. The Internet. Okay, I know: The Internet can be full of terrible people, but you know what? It's also full of amazing people and amazing communities. Before the Internet, the only people available to you were just the ones physically surrounding you. If they weren't into the same stuff you were, that was just the pits. Now? Now you get to go online and log onto some forum or social media account and say "HEY, I'M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT FAKE LIZARDS MADE OF SAND AND WAX." and someone else could be like, "OH MY GOD, ME TOO!!" and now you have a new friend who is in a totally different country. The Internet is an amazing place for people in search of community and friendships. I met the love of my life because of the Internet. I'm able to write and have a small group of readers because of the Internet. I'm currently listening to music because of the Internet. All the jerks out there? They are nothing in comparison to the awesomeness that I find on the Internet.
  4. Books. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES OUT THERE TO READ. FAIRY TALES AND REALISTIC FICTION AND MURDER MYSTERIES AND SCI-FI AND HISTORY. IT'S ALL OUT THERE JUST WAITING FOR YOU. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
  5. Flowers growing through cracks in the sidewalk. This doesn't need any explanation. Tiny, delicate, beautiful things emerge and break through the toughest of materials. As cliche as it is, this metaphor is wonderful and we should all remind ourselves of it daily.
  6. Music. No matter your taste, music is out there for you to fall in love to and with. Perfectly timed melodies and beautiful lyrics come to us in all sorts of ways and we get to apply them to moments in our lives as though someone is building a soundtrack for us. I just love it.
  7. Coffee. 
  8. Your ideal weather. For me it's 77 degrees and immediately following rain. I love rain, too, now that I'm thinking about it. Sure, weather can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but when it's also kind of amazing. Just picture your perfect day, weather-wise.
  9. Details in architecture. This one comes from my bestbian, Leah. She loves walking around the city with her headphones in and just looking at buildings and trying to notice their unique details. She's the best.
  10. Having a best friend. Many of us can think of our best friend(s). That person is someone who we can call whenever and just vent to. Best friends are the people who like you anyway. They're the best.
  11. Riding trains. I'm sure many of us have different feelings about train travel, but there is something so very classic and, as Leah puts it, "British" about the experience. She and I love British things, so this is in our happy column.
  12. Good television. We are in an age of amazing television right now. Shows that are beautifully written and make us think. This is awesome. I, personally, love great dialogue. Great dialogue is great.
  13. Crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. Oh man, is there anything more relaxing?
  14. Wearing an outfit that you know you look really, really good in. Admit it. You know what outfit this is and it is the thing you feel best about yourself in. Because you are really ridiculously good looking in it and you can do anything in that outfit.
  15. Pajamas. Duh.
  16. Making other people smile. 
  17. Rivers, lakes, and oceans. Bodies of water always seem to make me happy. I don't know why, but they're lovely. I've always really liked that line from Pocahontas where she says "my favorite thing about rivers is that you can't step in the same river twice." That has always made me smile.
  18. I know I said puppies already, but let's just give a shout out to all baby animals. Baby animals are just the best.
  19. Hugs. Good hugs are great. Even if you're not a hugger, somewhere out there is a hug that you love. I believe in that.
  20. When everything is where it should be. I personally hate cleaning, but I love when everything is clean, so I force myself to go through the grueling process of getting it there because I know the reward is worth it.
  21. Checking off everything on your to-do list. I rarely get to do this every day, but man isn't it awesome when it does happen? Yes. Yes it is.
  22. Live shows. In an age of digital everything, there is something even more amazing now about seeing something live. Last night, Fiance and I were lucky enough to see Ben Folds in concert and I'm still on Cloud 9.
  23. Love. This will be my last one, because ultimately, it is the most wonderful thing in the world and it is everywhere. Sometimes we struggle to see it clearly, but at the end of the day, when you're feeling really crappy, I think it's nice to remember that love is out there. Even if you're not feeling it, I think it's nice to know that it's there. It's nice to think about what you love and who loves you in spite of yourself. I think it's nice to love yourself. It's nice to remember that there is a puppy out there who will love you. Love, as a noun and a verb, is something that constantly amazes me. The fact that we are able to love and feel loved is something truly remarkable. Random acts of kindness are random acts of love and if you really sit back and think about it, isn't that just the most lovely thing of all? I think it is.

So that's my list as of this very moment. It's incomplete and constantly changing and being added to, but I invite you to write about what makes you happy in the comments. Tweet at me with happy things using #HappyTweets. Don't let the crappy headlines win. Flood the world with joy whenever possible.

Ready? Go.

Yes. All of This Did Actually Happen.

So, yesterday I had to go to my lady doctor (sorry dudes, but I promise to not go into any awful details!), which is just an all-around unwanted experience for every woman. I have literally never met a woman who has said "I love going to my hoo-ha doctor. It's the best!" unless said woman was using extreme sarcasm, because let's be honest here: It's the fracking worst. I have a lot of issues with my lady doctor. She's kind of mean and she pushes drugs on me that I don't want to take. Not to mention she invades my personal space, but I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to talk about this:

gynopicasso

So, this was hanging in my exam room. It was literally the only decorative thing in there, so I couldn't stop looking at it while I sat there for 15 minutes alone, in nothing but a very unflattering mint-green robe.

I couldn't help but wonder "What the hell kind of emotion is this supposed to evoke from me in this situation?"

I mean, really... Is it supposed to make me feel maternal? Is that child supposed to awaken some nurturing quality within me so that I can feel more feminine while I wait for my hooch to be examined in the least flattering way possible?

Because here's how I felt: "Good grief, I hope that small cross-dressing boy doesn't kill me while I'm in here alone... What the frack is he doing to that dove? OH MY GOSH, PLEASE DON'T EAT THAT DOVE."

And then my doctor knocked on the door and I had to act like I was totally fine for the next 20 minutes, even though I was horrified from literally all angles, both physically and mentally.

Not only that, but both my doctor and her technician were pushing this internet thing on me...

Technician: Are you on the internet?

Me: Not at this moment, no...

Technician: No, I mean, like, do you use the internet?

Me: Well... yeah... I'm not 80...

Technician: ...Fair point. Anyway, we started using this program called <insert fake name here>, and it's really great because you can send us messages and stuff and we can even just post all of your exam results on there with your charts and everything so that you can see exactly what your body is doing from a medical standpoint. I really like it! There's an app and everything!

Me: So... It's like facebook for my vagina?

Technician: Huh... I guess it is!

Me: Cool...

***

In other news... I've been getting a lot more work and hours at the bookshop lately, which is wonderful, but unfortunately means that my life is exhaustingly more busy... Because of this, I've decided to cut down on the blogging... DON'T. FREAK. OUT. You'll still have me around, duckies, just not six days a week. I've decided to blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from now on. I will still be doing the Book Reviews on the 1st of every month (today is your last chance to make suggestions for May!!), though, so that will be the only occasional exception. I think we can all agree that this is still a fair schedule, no?

Alright, that's all for now! See you tomorrow for the Book Review!! Have a wonderful Tuesday, Duckies!!

An Update On the Giant Chicken

Okay, so, my Duckies, it turns out that the giant chicken, whom I have lovingly named Jay-Z (it only makes sense since Jenny Lawson's Chicken is named Beyonce), is..... wait for it..... not for sale. :( giantchicken

The lady who owned the chicken at this thrift shop, however, did inform me that she acquired Jay-Z from a man about 5 hours away. And that she payed almost $400 for him... IF ONLY I HAD $400 DOLLARS!!!!

So then I got thinking... If I were to launch a kickstarter in order to acquire Jay-Z, would you donate? My thought is that he can live in my backyard and keep birds from flying into my window... not to mention, he can totally be supportive when I'm sad... or he'd be awesome to take Christmas photos with... I could even try to put him on wheels and have Gio pull us around town. The possibilities are endless, people.

Who's with me??