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What I'm Into, May 2014

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I’m sitting in a white adirondack chair on my front patio writing this, fragrant jasmine vines blooming around me. Life is good.

Last month, I went to Hawaii for the first time, which was just about the coolest way to kick off the summer. Georgie became a little ocean girl in the week we were there, constantly begging to take another dip in the warm water.

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While in Maui, I read A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, which I kind of loved and hated. I loved the way the landscape played a role in the story, how the monotony of a farm summer lulled me into a warm trance. I hated how Smiley used that masterfully induced midwestern farm lull to break my heart as one by one, each character betrayed each other from their own brokenness and madness. Is there redemption or justice in the end? I guess, if you’re really looking for it. There’s really nothing like reading a bonafide literary tragedy while sipping lemonade on a resort beach. Last beach vacation I re-read the Grapes of Wrath, so maybe we’ll call it my new tradition.

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Last week I performed in my first public improv show, which was so fun and liberating. A few months ago I wrote about how I recently started taking improv classes. Well, I’m still at it. Seriously, improv is a wonderful form of therapy. It’s helping me to let go of my fear of looking stupid, and to unbind myself from the kind of negative self-talk that holds me back. Over the past eight weeks, my instructor gave me personalized instructions to:

1) Trust my creativity
2) Stop censoring myself

Isn’t that a lifelong process, especially for us writers?

In improv, you never know what might happen, which is what makes it so fun. You might get out there and develop a character whose obsession with cheap Halloween decorations leads to a fetish where you lick every item in the Dollar Tree. There is no time to wonder if your idea is stupid or inappropriate, no time to beat yourself up or feel guilty for your shortcomings. This is how improv is healing me.

I am basically just as talented and experienced as Tina Fey now.

I am basically just as talented and experienced as Tina Fey now.

Over here on the blog, I shared a few secrets and thoughts in response to the #YesAllWomen movement. I also wrote a guest piece for Jane Halton for her Blowing Up Evangelical Baggage series.

So that’s what I’ve been into. How was your May? What have you been into lately?

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3 Comments

  1. Tanya Marlow on June 4, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Hi there, I’ve come through via Leigh Kramer’s. It’s amazing that you went to Hawaii! Looks so beautiful. And I’m so intrigued that you do an improv show. That sounds like my number one nightmare. I was always terrible at improvising anything at school. It’s so interesting that you experience it as therapy. Great to meet you – I blog at Thorns and Gold on the redemptive nuggets in suffering. Enjoy your June!

  2. Leigh Kramer on June 4, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Hawaii sounds amazing! I’m impressed you did improv. That takes a lot of guts!

  3. lthompson513 on June 11, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Hawaii looks and sounds like it was paradise! I’ve never been and have dreamed about it for years, especially after watching “Saved By The Bell Hawaiian Style” a few too many times.

    I love that you are taking improv–that is SO cool.

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