“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” 
― Shirley Jackson
It’s a rainy day here. Rained all day yesterday. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, too. 
I’ve found the riposte, though. While I’m stuck in a stuffy office, I’ve sent the paper (and better-proportioned, thinner, paler) version of myself on a trek across the European continent. Everyone should have a paper version of themselves. They have nothing to tie them down. They don’t have jobs, they don’t pay rent, they don’t experience bad weather, they don’t get sick, they don’t struggle with bouts of insanity, they don’t have hormones, they don’t have stress dreams about not having enough time to plan a proper trip to Europe, and they can eat as much ice cream as they like.
However, the downside is that they aren’t really prepared for the real world. Now that I think about it, I hope Paper Jenny comes back alive…
Cinque Terre

If this post looks familiar…

Jen+Eric gets new clothes

What started out as a simple desire for a sidebar collage this morning, turned into 14 hours of blog re-design! For real. I love a good html challenge (as long as it is really basic…), and once I started this morning, I couldn’t stop. 9:00pm is a great time for dinner, right?

I am very pleased with how everything turned out, and I hope this new design proves to be a little more navigable. I hate that old posts just kind of disappear if you do not secure them a visible place in a menu of some kind, so I am thrilled that I now have categories for all of my older posts to be (hopefully) easily located!

I am still working on linking up all the posts to their proper category, so bear with me on that. But if you do click around, let me know if you spot any major errors!

Happy weekend, friends! I’m going to give my poor eyes a break now. And my right hand. My right hand is going to fall off from navigating the touchpad on my laptop all day.


In the company of great minds

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.” -Margot Fonteyn (one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time)

Ironically, after my last post about writing even when the motivation does not strike, I am having the hardest time writing this week. I have many thoughts, but they are still brewing and haven’t proved themselves to be anything cohesive yet. I am sure there is a pattern tucked in them somewhere, and I am waiting for it to jump out and grab me. I’m waiting for that inspiration that I told myself I would not wait for in my last post.

My blog has a pretty broad thesis statement: pushing myself to grow creatively, and not get stuck in the rut that is Generation Y. 

So, I guess that means I can write about whatever I want. When my brain feels like it has been wrung dry, and I am forced to make a blog post out of the crusty rag that remains, I scour the internet for something that will trigger my brain and send a wave down to my finger tips.

Oh, look it’s Mark Twain. Hey, there Mark. I remember my history teacher in high school telling us that you hated teenagers (a slight exaggeration, come to find out). I don’t like people who don’t like kids, because I think it is unfair. Do they hate the earlier version of themselves?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain

Everywhere I look people say that the secret to creating is hard work. Huh. I guess I’m starting to believe it. I guess I’ll start to believe that it’s nights like this, when I would rather be lazy, that stretch me a little bit further.


“Over the years, I’ve found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.” — Norman Mailer in The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing

That makes sense to me. That resonates. The thing is, I won’t be at my desk tomorrow night. We have dinner plans. But, I will be there at my desk the next night. Or the following morning. Okay, so I should plan more time at my desk. I should work with the time I have. I can do that much.

“Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.” — Philip Pullman

Is that true? If it is, I am slightly horrified right now. 

“I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.” — Barbara Kingsolver

Point taken, Ms. Kingslover. You and Mr. Pullman should consider making a match of it. You both sound like effective task masters. Thanks to you both, I’m chaining that muse to my desk and I’m making no more excuses. 

I do think I will draw a bath, however, and soak in Epsom salt as I ponder life and hope that it brings great writing material/blog posts into existence. If it produces nothing but a relaxed mind, I’ll still keep plucking away at this keyboard even if the results are uninspired. I guess that’s the point all of you are trying to make. I’m a slow learner sometimes, but it does eventually click.

This post was inspired by this post

hey motivation, I don’t need you: and other revelations

As I sit down to write this blog post, these are the things that are on my mind:

The summer season is difficult for me when it comes to sandals. I can’t really wear all the adorable peep-toe sandals and heels that I see in frustrating abundance wherever footwear is sold. Why can I not wear them? Because my second toe is a good 1/4 inch longer than my big toe, and put those suckers into a peep toe shoe and the result is what I think looks just like a little pig’s hoof. Cute, if I were a baby pig. Not so cute as a human.

Not a big deal, in the grand scheme of life.

Another thing on my mind: I need to get more organized. Not necessarily organized, but regimented. I keep telling myself once I get my life outside of work more organized, regimented, I will be more productive. There’s always room for a little more self-discipline, isn’t there? I hate that.

There are so many things I want to do outside of work (the biggest ones being blogging and working out or otherwise not sitting on the couch) that some things get left by the wayside. If we are being honest here, which we are, “some things” is usually housework. The funny thing about choosing to blog over doing housework, is that the housework quickly catches up to you, and then you have to either do it or live like a pig (which I am not. I clarified that above).

Anyway, I do plan on getting organized. But, in the midst of my planning, I came across this article that states something I have always known deep down in my heart to be true, but I haven’t been willing to admit it to myself: you cannot wait for motivation to hit you in the head like a hammer…you have to suck it up and just start tricking yourself into believing you are motivated. If you can’t do that, you still can’t make excuses. You just have to do it. Dang it. I was really hoping the secret to achieving your dreams was a nice balance of halfhearted work, and hours upon hours of Mad Men.

I’m not saying breaks aren’t necessary. Ooooh, they are necessary. But the problem is, I tell myself I need a break a lot more than I probably need a break. I am heavily dependent on that ever illusive feeling of motivation. What a fickle friend. I don’t need her. I can do things without having to feel like I can, first.

So really, the best motivational speech I can hear right now is this one from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

I’m not exactly going through hell…but I will keep going.

By the way…I really enjoyed writing week with you all. I especially loved reading your feedback. I think I might have to do another writing themed week in the, hopefully, not so distant future, because I really do love writing about writing, and there is so much more to talk about. My favorite part about blogging is chatting with you all, so thank you for participating in any way, shape, or fashion. The fact that you even read JenEric makes me feel like one lucky duck.