Monday, April 26, 2010

Kindred Neurotics

I just finished rereading Nora Ephron's collection of essays, I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. I already liked Nora Ephron because of the movies she's written, especially When Harry Met Sally, because I like to think that Harry and Sally fell in love with each other because they were both so neurotic. In fact, my dream guy would have Harry's personality, only instead of looking like Billy Crystal he'd look like Sean Murray (the actor who plays McGee on NCIS), tee hee.

Whenever the fifth person in one day gets that weird expression on his or her face as if trying to figure out how to politely run away from me when I go off on my neurotic spiels (yes, I talk in real life just like I write), or they say stuff like, "You think too much" or "It's really not that big a deal", I not only feel like smoke is going to start coming out of my ears but I also feel like I'm the only one who obsesses over "the little things". I always want to respond to them, "I'd rather think too much than not think at all." I also want to say, "It IS a big deal! (followed by a few choice expletives, because in addition to being neurotic I overreact really easily, in case you haven't noticed from reading my other posts)."

So I loved reading Nora's book even more the second time around because she obsesses over stuff like purses, hair dye, and getting older, yet she does it all with a sense of humor so that you laugh along with her and you love her for being so neurotic and obsessive.

The two other big-name writers I've read who are also "lovable neurotics" are David Sedaris and Jen Lancaster, because reading their work makes me feel like I'm not the only one who "thinks too much" about the "little things". They obsess over stuff that even I never thought about, but the ways they describe how they deal with the stuff going on in their lives don't make me want to run away; they make me want to keep reading. I especially idolize Jen Lancaster for many reasons, one of them being that it's nice to read about someone who also gets mad at her neighbors on a regular basis (though she's a lot braver than me when it comes to dealing with them).

Here's an excerpt from Nora's book that really struck me; it's from her essay "The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less":
"I now believe that what my mother meant when she said 'Everything is copy' is this: When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you; but when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it's your laugh. So you become the hero rather than the victim of the joke."

I love that passage. It relates to what my good friend maybeimamazed (also known on the blogosphere as Unprofessional Critic for her blog) said about blogging; she said that it can be cathartic. I think that by keeping this blog and writing stories about some of the stuff that has frustrated, disappointed, or embarrassed me, I no longer feel that upset about it but feel a release in writing about it instead. And I get the last laugh.


  1. Sounds like an interesting book!

    I think blogging can be a great release. And it's a good way to jump start the writing engine if it's stalled.

  2. I enjoyed this book so much!! And you are so right-- it makes the neurotic feel better just to read it. Also, to watch Woody Allen movies :)

  3. Hi Talli,
    You're right, blogging has totally jump started my writing engine. And reading about everyone's efforts to write and get their work out there motivates me to do the same.

  4. Hi Karen,
    Ooh, Woody Allen movies! He's really great too. The best parts of Melinda and Melinda, in my opinion, were the scenes where the writers were sitting around talking about how they would write about Melinda.