Let's talk about goals, baby. Let's talk about you and me.

Happy New Year, friends! I know today is just another day and that nothing is really all that different from yesterday, but it's hard not to get swept up in the optimism of a new year, isn't it? Twice a year (January 1st and my birthday), I am reminded to check back in with myself and see how I'm doing goal-wise. Am I where I want to be? Am I going where I want to go? What about my life needs tweaking?

This morning, The Mr and I sat down and we talked about what we'd like to make a point of changing. What are our financial goals, our geographical goals, our lifestyle goals, are we ever going to own a bouncy castle and do we even want one anymore (obviously the answer was yes). I made writing goals and reading goals and, of course, blogging goals.

I want to grow this audience and take myself and this blog even more seriously this year. Whoa. That sounded grown up. Are you uncomfortable? I'm uncomfortable.

LET'S. NOT. PANIC.

I'm not saying that I'm about to start throwing my philosophies at you all the time or that I'm going to stop being a complete fool: that is never an option.

All I'm saying is that I really want to see where we can take this thing.

The whole point of this blog is to share all of my embarrassing stories and ridiculousness not just to make you laugh, but to also help maybe a handful of people out there realize that they are not alone. We are all idiots, and as long as no one is getting hurt, that's not a bad thing. Our foolishness is what makes us learn, it's what ensures that we are still curious and full of wonder. It keeps us human. It keeps us all awkwardly alive and pleasantly peculiar.

So here's to a brand new year. I hope you'll join me in my adventure to keep the awkwardness alive. I encourage you to comment more on posts and share them with your friends - not just because it helps this blog (of course it does), but because I want to get to know you and your loved ones better. And because I can't do this without you.

Let's make 2018 the most awkwardly wonderful year yet.


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

While I Have Your Attention, Overlords....

So earlier this morning, I was working on a new financial breakdown for the blog. It was very exciting, as I'm sure you can imagine. I'm pretty bad at marketing my own blog, compared to other people. Most of that is a time issue. I work full time and I do all of the social media for my day job, so when I get home, marketing my own stuff falls pretty far down on my list of to-dos after taking care of the dogs, attempting to cook dinner, doing laundry, and spending time with The Mr.

But now that I'm making a little bit of money via patreon, I've been thinking about making a bigger investment in this good ol' bloggy thing that I do.

I was discussing it with The Mr this morning:

Me: So I was thinking that 10% of everything I earn will continue to go toward a charity of the Awkward Ambassador's choosing and 10% would go towards advertising, like boosting posts on Facebook or whatnot, and then the rest of the money will go towards covering the other expenses like the domain fee and the web hosting fee and all that.

The Mr: That makes sense.

Overall, a pretty standard, boring, run of the mill conversation.

Until I looked down at my phone five minutes later and saw this email:

So... it's official. My new iPhone is listening to everything and Facebook is on the other end of the line, which is disturbing, but also I'm pretty sure there is nothing I can do about it, so I'm thinking that maybe I should just take advantage of this opportunity, right? I mean, why not turn a weird thing into a great thing?

So, Facebook, while you're listening...

  • If you know me so well, why are you always showing me weird pictures of myself right off the bat from like seven years ago? I don't need to see that awkward time in my life. It's a rude awakening in the morning. I don't need to be confronted with the fashion of the early 2000s.
  • Please create a no baby filter so that I can eliminate the endless stream of babies in my feed. Except my sister's  baby. He's great.
  • If you're going to show me everyone's political posts, please attach a picture or video of a cute puppy to make up for it.
  • In fact, please attach more pictures or videos of cute puppies to most things that you do. It would greatly improve the user experience.
  • If you run out of puppy pictures, pictures of otters will suffice.
  • Every time someone writes a mean comment, can you just reword to say "I love you and you look nice today?" I feel like that would solve a lot of problems. Until people find out about it... then they might start getting offended by compliments and things will get all sorts of screwy.
  • Maybe stop eavesdropping on my conversations? It's making you seem a little... desperate? No... evil? No... creepy? Yeah. Creepy.

In other fun news with social media... This Sunday is the last #SundaySupdates episode of the year and it's public for all, BUT -- we're switching things up and doing it on Instagram Live instead of YouTube! Sunday at 8pm join me on Instagram Live and watch me cook something Christmasy and answer your fun questions! If you need quick and cheap gift ideas, I'll help you with ideas! If you just want to say hi, I'll say hi back! The important thing is that you show up, because the party is so much more fun when your guests actually arrive! See you then!


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

Congratulations: You Make Me Sick.

Something strange is happening to me... I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach. A metaphorical one, obviously. I didn't swallow one the of the dog's rope toys or anything, don't worry. It was more a general feeling of dread, doom, and overall anxiety.

And I didn't know why.

Normally when I wake up like this it's one of four reasons:

  1. I've done something terrible to someone, i.e. I ate all of The Mr's cookies or I forgot a birthday or  I remembered a birthday and then got that person a flock of opossums and I am only just now realizing how bad of an idea that was because my mother hates rodents.
  2. Someone has done something terrible to me, i.e. Someone stole all of my opossums.
  3. Something terrible has happened in general: Hello, 2017.
  4. My psychic powers have finally kicked in and something terrible is about to happen. This one is weirdly exciting and terrifying all at once.

But nothing out of the ordinary had happened this morning. (Except maybe option 4?) I don't even have a flock of opossums, so theoretically, they were all accounted for. The Mr was fine. I was fine. Everyone I knew was fine.

And that's when it dawned on me: I hadn't written in two weeks. Barely a word. I haven't even journaled.

I've never been one of those people who needs to write in order to live fully or whatever. At least, I didn't think I was, but maybe I am. All that I know is that I'm in a writing rut lately. Maybe it's because it's the height of the holiday shopping season and I work retail as my full-time day job and I'm coming home exhausted.

Actually yeah, that's probably it. I'm tired and it's the holidays and I spend a lot of time telling people what to buy for distant relatives they barely know and trying to explain that books are not for boys or girls because they are not operated by our genitals and if that's how you're reading then you're doing it wrong, but you're also really talented and I have A LOT of questions.

Either way, this isn't really a real blog post and I don't know where this is going, but I'm tired and I miss you, dear readers, so I just wanted to say hello and that I'm here and apparently not writing to you all makes my stomach turn.

I hope you're flattered.


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

And they shall call me "#Sedawson!" Wait. No.

For my birthday The Mr took me to see David Sedaris. He was performing, we didn't pay him a visit or anything. It's not like The Mr was all "Pack a picnic, darling, we're off to visit with David!" and then drove me to some grand estate with groundskeepers and things.

 

via GIPHY

Why are David Sedaris, The Mr, and I suddenly in a Jane Austen novel? None of this seems right... Oh duh, that's because The Mr bought tickets to go see David Sedaris speak in Massachusetts. Now things make more sense.

Clearly, I do not hang out with David Sedaris (and I believe it's pretty obvious that that won't be changing anytime soon.), but I've been a big fan of his since college when Bestbian introduced me to his work. I thought he was funny then, but now my affection for him and his work has grown from being a fan to being inspired. His ability to write an essay is frustratingly brilliant.

 

via GIPHY

The personal essay is something that I've been working hard at lately, and in doing so, I've been turning to his work more and more.

There's just one problem with looking to my heroes for inspiration: They always seem to be more interesting than I am.

David Sedaris seems to witness a completely different world than I do. Jenny Lawson always ends up in these ridiculous situations and conversations. After reading their work, I find myself not feeling inspired, but instead feeling inadequate.

But then David Sedaris said something in response to a question at his reading that changed things for me. A couple people asked him questions about how he got into writing memoir or if he goes out and gets himself into situations for the sake of the story and he began talking about how none of this was ever part of the plan.

"If you read my work, you'll notice that nothing big ever really happens to me," he said. "I just have to figure out how to make something out of nothing most of the time."

He also said something along the lines of how going out and doing something just so that you can write about it immediately turns that story into a lie. He writes about things that happen to him and what he thinks about those things. Staging those situations immediately takes away the truth from the story.

I couldn't stop thinking about this. For weeks prior to this reading, I had been saying to The Mr that we need to go do more interesting things and get ourselves into more interesting situations - all for the sake of having material. Of course, now I realize that this notion is completely ridiculous. I can't put myself in situations like David Sedaris' and Jenny Lawson's and expect the great, fresh material to flow out of me. The world already has David Sedaris and Jenny Lawson. They don't need a Sedaris-Lawson impersonator. (#Sedawson?)

I'm me. It's my perspective and my ideas that should be going into my work. I just need to learn to make something out of nothing.

I simply need to learn to make something out of nothing.

And maybe when I'm feeling like I can't do it or that I have nothing good to say, I'll call my good friend David for a little pick-me-up. Oh... right. I'll just think about that time I sat in an audience of a thousand people and heard some good advice.


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here.

Will you come hang out with me on Sunday?

I am terrified. I've decided to do a live Q&A on Sunday at 5pm EST via YouTube (I'll tweet out a link and stuff that day) and I'm so scared that no one will show up. Will you come? Basically, here is the plan:

It's a #SundaySupdate, and I only plan on it lasting an hour. I'll answer almost any questions you ask (books, life, dogs, math problems that I can't solve, questionable advice, etc) and in turn we'll get to know each other better because I don't just want this blog to be me shouting at you guys about my weird life. I want to build community, I want to start collaborating with you all.

And if you can't make it on Sunday, but you still have questions, you can totally submit them ahead of time. Either post them as a comment here on the blog or send them to me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #SundaySupdate.

So please? Join me on Sunday? Don't make me into that lame kid who throws a party and then ends up sitting around squirting spray cheese into her mouth while crying and watching Planet Earth by herself because no one showed up.

To entice you a little bit, the dogs will also be there and maybe just maybe you'll get to witness the cuteness that is them playing together.

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Really just an announcement, but it involves knives and fire, so...

So I had this brilliant idea the other day about a new perk for Patreon.

Right?!?! I pitched the idea to my brother who usually hates all of my ideas, but this one involves me making a fool of myself, so he really responded positively. He was all "I mean, watching you try and cook is terrifyingly entertaining anyway, but watching you try to cook while trying to tell a story about your week would be ridiculous."

Me: I know. I could die. It'll be great.

Brother: I'd pay to watch that.

And my brother has very high standards when it comes to entertainment, so I think this is just about the best endorsement I could have.

So the first episode is going up next weekend (July 30th) and that first episode will go up right here on the blog for everyone to watch, but after that, the episodes will be available exclusively for Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon.

Oh! And keep watching the blog this week, because there are things I can't tell you about yet, but fun stuff is happening and I get to share it with you soon!!

Have a wonderful week, everyone.


This blog is able to remain ad-free because of the awesome community of Awkward Ambassadors on Patreon. If you’d like to become an Awkward Ambassador and receive special perks (like exclusive vlogs or messages from my dog), please click here

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!)

The Guy Was Probably Just Impressed with/Jealous of My Old Lady Impression.

Good morning, Duckies!! So yesterday at work, I had a very strange series of conversations...

Phone rings

Me: Thank you for calling The Book Shop! This is Emelie.

Older Woman: Yes, Hi! Is Michael there?

Me: Oh, I'm sorry. He doesn't work here anymore.

OW: I'm sorry?

Me: He no longer works here. He quit about a year ago.

OW: But... he just called me this morning to tell me that my book is in...

Me: He did?

OW: Yes! And I thought it was odd because I picked that book up weeks ago...

Me: Was it a voicemail?

OW: No.

Me: You actually spoke to him?

OW: Yes! We spoke this morning!

Me: Hm... well this is a mystery.

So, I took down her information and confirmed that she did, in fact, pick up the book in question a few weeks ago. I told her that I'd call her back if I found anything out, but otherwise, to just pretend like this whole thing never happened, which she was more than happy to do.

Me: Was Michael here this morning?

My Boss: No...

Me: You're sure?

Boss: Yes...

Me: He didn't come in to pick up a book and then... just started working? He does that, you know.

Boss: Yeah, he does do that... but I never saw him this morning.

Me: This is so weird! It's like that ghost story where the guy meets a girl and they go out on a lovely date, and then after he drives her home, he realizes that she left her sweater in his car. Being the gentleman that he is he drives back to go return the sweater, right?

My boss was staring at me with... perplexity at this moment.

Me: But then, when he gets to her house, he knocks on the door and this old lady answers. The guy is all "Hi! Is Betsy here?" and the old lady goes - and this is when I did my best old lady voice - "Betsy's been dead for ten years!" ...DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!!

At this point, my boss was cracking up and staring... past me... so then I turned around and realized that there was an elderly man standing right behind me. He had been looking through our bestsellers, but he was very clearly having a hard time keeping it together after listening to the crazy bookseller imitate old ladies in ghost stories...

So... I politely asked if I could help him find anything, which he politely refused. So I ran away to another part of the store.

Fortunately, I made my boss's day with all of that, so points for me, right? Yay!

 

In other news... 

I've auditioned for Blogger Idol! I know. This is so exciting! Hopefully I'll make it into the final 12 and then you'll all totally vote for me, right?

...right?

RIGHT??

Okay, good. :)

Anyway, this morning is not only awesome because of the audition, but it's also awesome because I woke up to a tweet informing me that I'm on "Where Bloggers Blog!"  You should totally go check out this blog if you haven't already. I often go to it when I'm daydreaming about having a real desk in a real writing studio instead of this:

photo

It's probably one of the coolest tumblrs I've seen in a really long time.

Anyway, have a wonderful weekend, Duckies!! See you on Monday!

Help Me, Duckies. You're My Only Hope.

Okay, so Lisa Newlin has convinced me given me permission to audition for Blogger Idol. So now I need your help. Which post should I audition with? I've narrowed it down to these four:

Why Bachelorette Parties Should Never Happen On Mother's Day and Why My Friends are Amazing. 

And Then My Mom Gave Me "Medical" Advice.

Yes. All of This Did Actually Happen.

And My Mother Makes Her Debut... with Assless Chaps. 

Which is your favorite?? Please help!!

Thanks, duckies!