You’re Invited: “The Facebook Friend Experiment”

I’m having trouble with Facebook.

Me. On Facebook. On Oct. 1, 2006.

On one hand, it’s this great, fantastic tool where–in the best of scenarios–it allows you daily access into the lives of people you care about. Into their successes and their families and their journeys and the tiny daily details that although mundane are the seeds of happiness that we all sow daily in our lives.

On the other hand, it can sway pretty far from this scenario.

If you go back to the beginning of my profile on Feb 12, 2005, you can see that there are posts from friends that may seem a little out of character for today. In fact, if we could look at the evolution of my profile, you’d see that I’d married multiple people, used to be interested in “whatever I could get”, most of my past quotes were borderline derogatory, and there was a plethora of photos of me doing things like shots of tequila and playing beer pong and being just generally and collegiately ridiculous*. Getting on Facebook was being a part of a like-me community. This was the norm.

It was harmless until it was harmful. Kids were being denied jobs for the very pics I just talked about. I still remember going back through and deleting every possible tag of me holding anything that might even BE alcohol. There was an assumed privacy that was ultimately broken. But our norms shifted and we became more protective of the content we put out in the world.

Slowly but steadily it continued to redefine itself. Everyone was given access. For better or worse, the college kid facebook scenario was truly over.

Over the past seven years, I’ve accumulated 1,563 friends. Not too shabby, right? I can look at most of these people and at least define the point in my life that they were a part of. A job here, an acquaintance there, perhaps we were pals in elementary school, or soccer teammates of years past.

Everyone serves a place in time, and I’m happy to honor that. But in the wake of what I’m seeing Facebook become, I think it might be doing more damage than good. I don’t care about 99% of the things in my news feed, the chain letters, or repetitive status updates, or political opinions**, or false advertising for the lives of people I’m not sure that I truly know anymore.

It’s harsh, I know. I should be nice and deal with it and toss my cares to the wind and stay on Facebook for OTHER people because they are curious what’s happening in my life. Except are they really? Or are we all just comparing ourselves to each other? I don’t know anymore. I really don’t.

So for 2013, I’m kicking the seven year habit.

I’m inviting each of my 1,563 friends to send me an email with the following:

Name, Phone number, Address, and one thing you want to say about our friendship or relationship to eachother

If you send me this email, I will call you in the year of 2013 and we’ll catch up in real life, in real terms, and as two real people. We might even catch up in person, if time and distance allow. Coffee, anyone? If this happens, it’s on me. You can hold me to that one.

I’m turning my Facebook off on Sunday, so that’s the deadline to get your emails in, and you can send those emails to:


Additionally, I’ll be writing more in this blog which you can follow via email, perhaps I’ll even write about our convo. You can still follow me on Instagram or Twitter at @NKQualtieri. And you know, you can maybe call sometime.

We’ll see what 2013 brings. Hopefully, reconnection in the best of ways.

Simple as that. Let’s be real friends.


*Sorry for partying.

**I do care about politics. Just not in this setting. 


There’s a planet. And I dropped off the face of it.

Dear {friend who might or might not have inquired about my life as of late},

I might have forgotten to tell you…but I live in Montana now. I realize that my address hasn’t been available, that I’ve been off the reservation*, that I’ve been a pair of owl’s wings against the night…silent, if you couldn’t guess.

But that doesn’t mean that I have disappeared. Actually, it is completely to the contrary. In my brief** disappearing act, I have actually been delving into a reappearance of sorts. Or in better terms, a reparation of something that I can’t so much put my finger on. Something that is so early in the making that to bring it to some kind of definition might be doing it an injustice.

I shant try. But what I will do is give you the goings on, as I know for some of you, Montana came as a surprise. I guess we should start at the beginning if we go this route.

The initial spark of everything happened in mid-July when I received a recruiting message via LinkedIn about working in educational publishing. To make an extremely long story very short, I got the job…nearly eleven weeks later. This does beget a little explanation, as I know there was some turmoil over where in the hell I was actually going to live.

Explanation: I initially applied for a position in Denver, which turned into Bozeman, which turned into Seattle, which then–upon the official offer (which came a week later from the original offer) I was then offered the choice to go to Bozeman OR Seattle.

Initially I said “Seattle”. Why? Mostly because I like killer whales and trees.** Then, upon a call from the goodest friend, I received the following question.

“Nicole, would you rather live in a Twilight novel or a Pam Houston book?”

Yeah. So…here I am. With the help of an intervention between my mom, my best pal, and my sister. Who all said “Go to Bozeman, you big idiot.”

And they were right.

I love it here. And for those of you who are just waiting to get to the goshdarned point of all of this, here it is, my life in a nutshell:

1) I love my new job. It’s freedom and it’s travel and there’s an eternal learning curve that comes with the industry. I work with math and science professors in Montana & Idaho and I’m essentially an educational intermediary for them in getting material that best fits their pedagogical leanings. Basically, I talk to interesting, funny, passionate, quirky people 95% of the time. It’s pretty inspiring.

2) Bozeman is…one of the only towns that leaves me at a loss for words when initially trying to describe it. It’s the west, but cultured. It’s small, but has everything. It’s outdoorsy but not in a pushy way. And it’s horsey. Really horsey. It’s also visually spectacular, with mountains enveloping it on three sides. And did I mention that skiing is only 16 miles away? Sixteen miles. Six. Teen. And it’s snowing right now.

3) My life is entrenched in people. Time moves slower in Bozeman, people talk to you–which is initially shocking. Seriously. You can’t even understand it unless you’re here. They’re happy. And never in a rush. And…I love it. I’m still not used to it. The edge of city living wears away slowly, like newly broken glass in the ocean. But I’m floating and appreciating and listening and refilling the 9-5pm cubicle void with something that I think is called gratitude.

I feel like I’m in a transition back to myself that is also a new and better edition. It’s a beautiful thing at the moment. So forgive me for being a flake, my plate has been full, I’m still sleeping on a sofa bed in an apartment that I’ve had for less than two weeks and I’ve cooked one meal for myself in a month and I’m on some sort of tornado journey that has definitely put the Oz in Bozeman.

Although I’m thinking I’ll just forget about the ruby slippers and stay here awhile. It feels a bit like home.

Love you guys–


PS Message me if you still need my address.

PPS I’m buying a bed soon and will have a sofa bed available for visits. Get on the calendar before it fills up.****

*Or on it…if we’re talking about literal reservations in Montana.

**Not so brief.

***I really, really, really like killer whales. 

****I’m never too happy to be desperate. Please come visit. Now. NOW. NOOOOOW.

Operation BananaJamma

It was with curious trepidation that I turned to see my coworker Jimmy Jamma wrapping some tape around a piece of paper.

“Um…what are you doing?” I felt inclined to ask, and I received a mumble-jumble of an answer.

“Ughjk…nuffin” I know a Jimmy Jamma moment when I see one, so I sidle over to get a grip on the happening. JJ begins to place the piece of taped up paper inside of a banana. I begin to understand. It’s time to go to work. Figuratively.

Phase 1*–

Operation BananaJamma began with a recently eaten banana and an idea to recycle that banana in a way that was not only useful but also entertaining.

The main goal was this: Turn this leftover banana peel into something that so closely resembles a regular banana that one might take it from the fruit bowl in a selfish effort to steal the last banana of the week.

It was in Phase 1 that Jamma got up and ran away in a state of creative panic. With no guidance and some creative intuition, I proceeded to add a lemon drop for structural soundness, begetting what will be known as

Phase 2

Jamma’s creative panic was induced by the thought of using Liquid Bandage to seal each peeled portion of the banana. Upon his return, he sees the lemon drop and approves. We are now moving into…

–Phase 3-

Phase 3 brings an altogether new approach, melding ingenuity with tangible resources.

The Liquid Bandage was three-fold awesome. It dried instantly, sealed the banana like new, and reminded me of the days when I used to be a lacrosse player** and my Liquid Bandaged blisters were from cleats and sprints and not heels and typing injuries. Ah. Memories.


–Phase 4–
Phase 4 is the short waiting period until we agree the banana has dried enough for handling. The firmness of the banana is perfect, just enough give and take. The seams appear as normal banana wear-and-tear. This is where Jamma and I realize…this is better than we ever could have imagined.

Prior to the completion of the prank, Jamma had written the following:

“This is a banana…or is it”

You decide.

The final phase is upon us. This takes me and Jimmy Jamma from our cube space to the kitchen space, the banana is good…better than good. The mission is focused. Our demeanor? Dead serious.

We nearly get caught in the act.

“What are you two up to?” Shawn “Cardinal” Cardinal catches us.

“Ughjk…nuffin” This time, the mumbling is simultaneous. We hang in the kitchen, awaiting the perfect moment for placement. Cardinal narrows his eyes and walks away. Go time.

–Phase 5–

Phase 5 is ultimate perfection. Carmen freakin’ Miranda could wear this thing on your head and you’d want to want to eat it. Seriously. It’s that good.

It’s so good in fact….that it’s gone.

–Phase 6–

So far, we have no knowledge of who has the banana; however, as bananas are a hot commodity in this office of 150 people, I’m sure we’ll have an update for everyone soon.

Sit tight for Phase 7. I can only assume….it’s in the works.


*Forgive the shitty photos from my shitty, shitty Blackberry.

**Team Captain, 1st Team All-Conference 2002! I’m a ridiculous ex-stud you guys. (#humblebrag)

The Magic of Magic Mike, Explained

Alright. So it’s been awhile.

Now that we’ve addressed that, moving on.

Today’s topic: Magic Mike

You might have heard about it. It’s this movie that Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh funded out of their own pockets to portray a storyline not much unlike Tatum’s pre-Hollywood life story as a hot male-stripping piece of beefcake.

I saw it this weekend. With twelve women all over the age of 28. Prior to going to the movie*, I avoided all media related to this movie. I wanted to know nothing other than the fact that the movie was about male strippers and it involved two male actors of which I have very little sensual and mental interest. The first being Channing Tatum. The second being Matthew McConna…I have no idea how to spell his last name.

We’ll address the lack of interest first. Channing Tatum is not the type of guy that *does it* for me okay? I mean look at this guy:

Um. Is that my childhood softball mitt in your pants or are you just…never mind.

Yeah, I know. It’s weird that I’m not attracted to this dude. In my opinion, he just sort of looks like he’s never read a book in his life. Life I feel like I would have to read out loud to him and then explain things like foreshadowing and what it means to be a protaganist. I just don’t have the kind of time or patience for that. Although I definitely do want to run marbles down those craw lines though, just for fun. I mean the last white trash guy I reallllly liked was Eminem, so it’s just like where do I go from there? Eminem is the pinnacle. Also, Channing, can we please get Invisalign? You’re at the point where you can afford it. My God, you could even afford veneers. You’re in Hollywood, man. Step up to the plate. With your mouth.

And as for Matthew, the whole pothead weirdo thing is (and always has been) beyond me. I do appreciate that he lived in an Airstream trailer, which is kind of an odd dream of mine. But he’s always been so chick flick gross and like 16th Street mall bongo player-y that I really never found myself swooning over him.


Along with these gentlemen were the likes of the man I called Navajo Joe, Blue Eyed Sammy, that one sort of Mexican-looking dude, and this guy, who may or may not be or is my new male Hollywood obsession:

Alex Pettyfer…in Beastly

Okay, okay. So when he isn’t playing some terrifying monster of a human in a shitty horror movie, he is actually insanely hot. But he’s CLEARLY a legitimate actor who actually takes CHANCES and RISKS unlike some other douchebags we know. Also, he’s 22 years old, which makes him pretty much perfect, right ladies? Gazunga gazunga, amirite?**

Sorry, have I been marginalizing men this whole time? I don’t often get to do this. Let me have my moment in the sun, okay?

So amongst all of this dribble-drabble of cut dudes with a little going on upstairs and a lot going on in–ahem–other ways, well, I guess there was actually a movie to be seen.

And see it I did.

The first hour and fifteen minutes were without a doubt the most entertained I’ve been since I saw Madagascar four times in theaters***. Then in the last 45 minutes, they tried to get all plotty on us. Too much talky, not enough dancey, right ladies? I’m lookin’ for buttcheeks, I’m looking for artful silhouettes, I’m looking to use my imagination.

What I’m not looking for is Channing Tatum’s attempt at emotional, thoughtful acting. What I’m not looking for is a Traffic-esque drug ring to emerge within a relationship between the hottie newbie and Gabriel Iglesias. And that’s what happened. Tsk tsk, Soderbergh. Ya shoulda known better.

The reality is…the more I try to put words together about this movie, the less I’m left with. This is a movie better experienced than talked about. The dance sequences are brilliantly awkward. The plot is bumbling yet charming. There’s a lot of hot lady nip action for the dudes, along with some seriously hot chicks in general. Plus, I laughed more in this movie than I probably have in any movie. It’s a true accidental comedy…although I think it’s less accidental than it seems. It’s funny. The legit kind.

It’s a rare thing for me to say this…but go see it. Now. I’d see it again. As much for the strange camaraderie of the big screen experience as for the fact that Alex Pettyfer is an eyeful of holy shit hotness.

I prefer to not end with words…but with…well….

In the words of Uncle Jesse…have mercy.

*I get severe motion sickness in most movies. I threw up three times during the premier of Lord of the Rings, and almost puked in the middle of a packed theater during The Bourne Identity. Movies pre-DVD are not my favorite.

**Ew. I hate me.

***Two of those times I was with children, gimme a break.

Additionally, if you’re interested in something that is more of a play-by-play, check out the Saturday night Twitter feeds of myself–@nkqualtieri–and my pal Anna–@annafsawyer–as we live-tweeted the event in tandem. Anna is legit. You might have heard of her. And if you haven’t, get on board. Dinguses.

Here’s the Deal: Toddlers and Tiaras

This show is sickeningly addicting, mortifying, hilarious, and depressing. But there are two things in particular that need to be addressed. Moms, actually. And they couldn’t be more glaringly different from one another.

1) The Sterling Twins’ Mom

The amount that I would like to get into this is far greater than the amount that I will go into it, and neither are reflective of my pure hatred and desire to bring the House of Pain* down on this hoebag. To be honest, I hate knowing that she exists and I think we should all pitch in to save Ashlynn and raise her as our community child. Seriously. She can come live with me and we will read books together and catch frogs and live happily ever after. Dear God, someone help that poor, sweet child

And PS her dad is an asshole for letting this happen. Create friction in your marriage? Um. Yes. Please do. It needs to happen. For the sake of your kids.

2) On an opposite level, we have Brock…and his mom. Who I kind of just fell in love with.

One, he’s the first kid I’ve seen that I think actually likes and wants to do pageants. Two, his mom is so unbelievably open and protective and supportive and I would like to send Ashlynn to her because she would never make them compete against eachother.

Three, this reminds me of one of the little boys that I used to work with. Brock is carbon-copy. He loved playing with dolls, he played with the girls constantly, he was more likely to hang out on the swings and gossip with me than play soccer with the other boys. And I adored him. His dad, however, was a total dickweed and whenever he would pick up this little guy, the boy would inevitably be hanging out with the girls doing his own thang and his dad would chastise him in front of my little class of kids and it broke my heart every time.

So I was pretty moved by that one. I wish my little buddy could have had the same love/acceptance from such a young age that Brock does.

And weirdly enough, I think we could all take some life lessons from Alana**, everyone’s favorite. And yeah, her mom doubles as Jabba the Hut.

I think some of these parents truly don’t know a good thing when they see it. It’s too bad that for some of them it’s their own child.

*No, but seriously, I will serve her ass like John McEnroe.

**Get this kid her own show. I’d buy the DVD set and the t-shirt. And I’d come up with a “Special Juice” drinking game for every time she talks about money or honey boo-boos. No Mountain Dew allowed though, because it terrifies me. Ok, I’m done.

I think I’m addicted to social media, you guys….

More than once, this thought has popped into my head.

“Nicole, you have a problem…”

Of course, it hasn’t always been with social media. Sometimes it’s men. Other more regular times, it’s booze. Sleep and immunity tend to be issues. I mean, I can be a bit of a wreck sometimes. But can’t we all?

Lately though, I’ve felt as if I am locked in some weird circular thing that I can’t escape. It goes like this:

1. What’s happening on Facebook? Another comedy show invite from that guy? Gag. Over it.

2. Did anyone favorite a tweet on Twitter? Holy shit, did Lisa Landry retweet me AGAIN? #humlebraggggggg

I live for this. Please don't judge me.

3. OMG! Thirty-two people repinned that recipe on Pinterest!

4. Who’s g-chatting me? Or was that a Yahoo Chat?? Or maybe a BoldChat? Is that a pornbot chatting me? Yuck.

5. Should I do a Tumblr post for LadyFace today? I prob should. I kind of want to move it over to WordPress.

6. I wonder if anyone tried to connect or recruit me on LinkedIn today. Nooope.

7. Whoa! Where did I get all these blog hits from? I haven’t written in eons! Wait…that’s a weird search term in Google Analytics…how did…never mind.

8. I haven’t checked that old hotmail account in awhile have I? And I should prob delete these 1100  emails in my gmail.

9. Whoaaaaa Joss & Main is amazing today! Pin city!

10. I wonder what’s happening on Groupon. Also Google Deals. And Living Social. Can’t miss out on a deal. Can’t ever miss out. On A Deal.

11. And I can’t live out the ever-embarrassing online dating sites. Or can I. I can leave them out. Or not.

12. I wonder if I’ll get a badge if I check in on Foursquare here………hmmmmmmmm…..nope. Damn it.

13. I know I needed to Google something. What was that word I wanted to definition check? Oh yeah: addiction.


That’s simply how I feel. My brain moves so fast right now that my body is constantly in overdrive trying to keep up.

The thing with social media is that I can handle it, right? I can handle it. The constant noise, the constant keep-uppance, the constant, the constant.

It’s becoming a mindfuck you guys. My digital footprint is like something out of Jurassic Park. Glasses of water shake when I move from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter to gmail to the point where I just find myself typing Facebook.com into my browser over and over again like my mind is a skipping cd and all it wants is just one notification. Refresh. It’s such a motherfucker.

And of course there are the disappointments. The tweets and pins that I think are God’s gift to social media that no one notices or understands or a friend just ends up texting me “Um, are you okay?”

Why am I doing this to myself? Why are we all doing this to ourselves?

Perhaps part of it is the pervasive aloneness of daily life. The majority of my time by and large is spent alone, but social media allows me to somehow feel connected, somehow feel a part of the bigger picture, relevant in some way, shape, or form. I can vent about the bus, share a quick fact, learn what’s happening in the world, and save all the recipes I could ever want. I can follow blogs, chat with friends, check my feeds, I can know everything insignificant about your life, and in turn, I give you more than you could ever need to know about mine.

But seriously I am losing my goddamn mind. I have to cut back. The time-suck is unreal. And the excuses are so easy.

-But how will I keep in touch with people?

-It’s great exposure.

-I really get it. I’m good at it. I am. I think I am.

-It keeps me entertained.

I could keep going. The reality is that my attention span is slowly dying and compacting itself into 140 characters or less of bullshit that no one cares about and that amasses me no type of success and I’m pretty sure all of my creative energy is being sucked dry by the constant energy I put into my next quip or my next status or my next pic of–you guessed it–my cats and I’m starting to see the light. And it’s called sunlight. And I want to spend more time with that. And less time with this. This screen.

So here goes my challenge to myself. It starts now and ends on February 29th.

1. I’m allowed to check Facebook on Valentine’s Day. That’s it. One time.

2. I can Twitter only from the @LadyFaceDenver account. (Sorry, LF’s–you’re in charge of Facebook for February.)

3. I can post to my personal Twitter only when I post a blog or for the LF show or if a friend has something cool going on. 3 tweets max in a day.

4. I can checked LinkedIn once a week.

5. I will not pin. I will not pin. I will not pin. (Pinterest is the worst. And the best. And the worst.)

6. No FourSquare. Why do I do it anyways? It’s dumb.

That’s a big cutback for me you guys. Huge actually. Now, I just have to figure out how to get all this shit off of my phone. And unsubscribe to like 900 daily deals.

I will however blog. Why? Because it requires more than just a quick thought. Because it actually gets my fingers moving on the keyboard. Because it suffers extreme neglect in the face of social media. And because I’m gonna need something. Momma needs her medicine, ya know what I’m saying?

So, in the meantime, if you’d like to contact me, you can catch me on my gmail account qualtieri.nicole@gmail.com or you can even call my phone number. If you’re my Facebook friend, it is located conveniently on my profile. If you are not, sorry. Not posting my phone number here.

Welp. As per the usual, this should get weird. Here’s to hoping I make it. If I don’t, let’s all get worried.

Now maybe I’ll stop drinking.*

*Yeah. I should probably do that too.

Here’s the Deal: Florence + The Machine “Ceremonials”

Let’s be up front about this, friends. I’m not much of a music connoisseur. I confessed to this a few months ago, and–with my typical bravado–I cannot say that I am ashamed.


I’m totally, head-over-heels, turning a new leaf, in complete awe, in love with Florence + The Machine’s album “Ceremonials”. So much so I went out and bought it. Now I don’t want to confess to being some sort of felon*, but let’s all just be clear on the fact that I haven’t bought a physical album in a very, very, very long time.

There is definitely an aspect of drama, of floating angst that is somehow resolved through the sweeping rhythms and haunting vocals.

I guess the point where everything changed for me, when I truly fell for good, was when I heard Welch blasting out “Say my name” on “Spectrum”.

Say my name? Say my name????

In those words, I went back to being 15 years old, with a gaggle of girls in a friend’s mom’s minivan. The cd in the player then was “The Writing’s on the Wall” by none other than Destiny’s Child. We were all singing at the top of our lungs**. And what were those words falling off our lips?

Say my name, say my name.

Yeah, Florence. You did it. Tapped into my subconscious, brought the definitive noise, reminded me of my youth with something so new, so fresh that I feel like the best grown-up version of myself when listening to your music.

Here’s the deal, Flo. I’m on board. Whatever you have coming, I’m in. And I’ll buy it. Because I can appreciate art when I hear it. And you also remind me of Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan (when she sang about vampires) and Alanis Morisette (you got that drama, girl). Also, I think you’re a little batshit crazy. And you know what? I like that. Welcome to the club.

Do yourself a favor, go buy Ceremonials. It’s $12 at Target right now and it will make you wanna throw away that Adele cd.

*Pirate of the internet sea?

**Coincidence? Uh. Yep.

“I can do it myself” or “Pride”

I read this as part of the Denver storytelling show “The Narrators”. The theme was Pride. And it’s the hardest theme I’ve had to write on thus far.

If “I can do it myself” was not my first sentence, I’m sure that it was up there. From the time I was in tune to language and the world, I’ve had a fierce desire to be independent in a way that is nearly pathological. I could ride a horse solo by age three, I could read at a first grade level by age four, I was off training wheels by age five, and so it went from there.

As I grew older, the challenges became more complicated than the removal of training wheels and scraped knees. I faced my tragedies and my obstacles with the same determined mentality. Other people have gotten through this. I will get through it too. And I will do a better job of it.

Where others fell apart, I built a castle that kept me together. And when I needed help, I sought after my own answers. That seeking became the mortar, and every answer I found became the bricks.

You could probably say that this castle was built by pride. If pride were a person, they would slather on the mortar, lay the bricks, and be muttering “I can do it myself” over and over again. There’s no reasoning with this person. They exist only in their actions, they live only for the next brick.

I guess that’s the problem with me and pride. Although I am proud of the fact that I have been able to stand on my own two feet, to divide and conquer my own life, to manipulate and maneuver my path, pride has also been the biggest thing that has stood between me and what’s beyond myself.

If pride is building my castle, every other sin and virtue and quality and quirk that I carry with me lives inside.

And it’s a weird party in there. Anxiety is in the corner nervously tapping her foot and eyeing the door while clinical depression is sleeping on the couch. Always sleeping. The joker is dancing really inappropriately to weird techno music, and memory is watching home movies in the basement. The drunk is crying with her arms draped around anxiety, while happiness just hangs out with a weird grin on her face, taking it all in. The introvert is begging Memory to let her watch Jurassic Park on the big screen, and the extrovert is trying to get everyone involved in a game of beer pong that only the competitor wants to play. The fat kid is eating  the entire Christmas ham while the hostess is bringing everyone lactose-free eggnog and the whole crowd chatters constantly, their voices echoing in the gray matter that is my brain.

It’s fucking exhausting.

One of my best friends in the world once told me “You know, if I would have to choose anyone in the world for something bad to happen to, it would be you, and I don’t want you to not take that as a compliment. I know you can handle anything.” I was both mortified and curiously, strangely flattered by the comment. I still don’t know how to feel about it.

I think that’s because I know there’s something else. Something beyond my own personal consumption, my tedious brick-laying, my inner battles and my whimsical indulgences. I know this doesn’t have to be so exhausting.

I was recently talking to a friend who loathes being single and I asked him why and he said because he wants to take care of someone, and I laughed because I couldn’t even see myself giving anyone that option. I take care of me. I always have. I can’t imagine giving that over to another person. I can’t imagine compensating the thing that I have always been so defiantly proud of–my independence–for anyone. I can take care of people, and to be honest I love to do it, but I’ve learned that this can also happen at my own expense.

Over time, I’ve convinced myself that there is something that lies in the middle. That maybe two people who believe in self-reliance can have a mutual existence and understanding and perhaps even love. I don’t know for sure.

What I do know is that for me the rote monotony of the classic relationship seems boring and scripted. That the idea of dependence on another goes against every one of my survival mechanisms, every one of my principles. It goes against those words that have created me and molded me and challenged me and perhaps even isolated me. “I can do it myself.”

I’m sure a psychiatrist would look through all of this and point the finger and say “Fear. You are consumed by fear.” And maybe they would be right.

But all that I see is a castle, as ominous as it is beautiful, as filled with mysteries as it is with truth.

If pride is as much a sin as it is a virtue, then call me proud. If pride comes before the fall, well, que sera sera.  Perhaps I am both the builder and the destroyer. Or maybe something entirely different awaits.

Lunch break thoughts

Oh hey new blog. Sorry but I’m not sorry for seriously neglecting you this month. Turns out I have a lot of cool friends and a life where I do things, unlike some other “writers” I’ve met.*

Anywho, I have twenty minutes to write so i figured I’d get down to biznass and get b’s deep in some thought on my lunch break.

Thought #1: Prob shouldn’t have just eaten a hamburger with a bun. But guess what? They grilled that bun and it was f-ing delicious and if you thought grilled meat was good try it on a grilled bun, preferably from H Burger. They have $5 Burger Madness on Tuesdays and I ate that thing so fast I hope my body wont realize that it was loaded with gluten**.If you go and you know what’s good for you, don’t have one of their amazeballs nitrogen milkshakes. Seriously. You’ve been warned.

Thought #2: It’s my friend Chris’s birthday at work. He turns 24.Please send him a birthday email at chris.harrison@readytalk.com. Tell him Nicole sent you. If you do this, I will kiss you on your mouth with my mouth. Or I can give you a firm handshake upon request. I made him this picture:

Thought #3: I’m on the verge of some big writey stuff. I’ll keep you guys posted, but you could be seeing my name a few other places than just my blog and social networks very soon.

Thought #4: I wonder what my cats are doing right now.

Thought #5: Probably sleeping.

Ok, that’s it. Meeting time. Talk soon you guys.


**I’m a failure.

I Hate NaNoWriMo. There. I said it.

Last year, I stumbled across a thing for writers called “NaNoWriMo” or National Novel Writing Month for long.

Basically, it’s a writing challenge for humanoids to write 50k words in a continuous work throughout the month of November. I mean, it’s a lot of words when you have things like jobs, and relationships, and drinking problems, but for the second year in a row I decided to try and tackle the thing.

Set this aside for a moment.

A few months ago, I said to myself “Self, if there is one thing in the world that makes sense to you, it’s probably writing. Why the balls haven’t you been doing it?” So I set out and made a plan. Short stories. New blog. Submit. Submit. Submit. Build the writing resume. Do it to it.

I did well. Got this blog into the cloud and hit the ground running. Albeit at about thirteen minutes per mile, but still–with life going on all around me–not a bad show. Had a few posts a week. Submitted some things here and there. Short stories going strong. I was back with a writey vengeance.

Then–like a shot of the drowsiest Benadryl–November hits and the plan comes screeching to a definitive halt. NaNoWriMo in full effect like a bad eighties rap song. The behemoth of words. The elusive seven minute mile.

About one week into my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I decided to get a boost of the social aspect and went to one of the posted writing events in Denver. It was a Sunday. I was wholly unaware of what I had signed up for.

I walk into the slated cafe, and I scan the room. I discover a table of people who are without a doubt the NaNoWriMo table. There are about fourteen people, probably an equal mix of dudes and ladies. They are chatting. I suck in my breath. I am looking at the table. The table stops chatting. The table is looking at me.

The following scene from Forrest Gump ensues:

[Forrest/Nicole quickly gets on the Army bus]
Recruit #1: This seat’s taken.
Recruit #2: It’s taken.
Forrest Gump/Nicole: [describing his induction] At first it seemed like I made a mistake, seeing how it was my induction day and I was already gettin’ yelled at.
Bubba Blue: You can sit down… if you want to.
[Forrest sits down next to Bubba]

The stares are deadly. The discomfort is palpable.

I sit down next to the self-designated Bubba, a smiling-faced round cherubby man who warmly welcomes me to the table. Everyone else is dead silent, their world rocked by my intrusion. I introduce myself. I try to be as nice and friendly as possible.

I guess the realization didn’t hit me until that moment: Normal people aren’t supposed to be writers. Normal people are supposed to drink and go to bars and live on their own and work in sales and have kids that play soccer and talk to people on the phone and shop at the Gap and ski in Aspen and go jogging a couple times a week. Normal people are supposed to live in their own separate world.

Now, the truth behind the matter is that if I’m normal, everyone is normal. I have some things going for me. But they’re all things I’ve worked for in some way or another. Or perhaps I’m more lucky than I give myself credit for. I am not a vain person.* And I am most certainly not normal. Who is for that matter?

But this is how I was perceived. Among what I now understand are a group of people that had been invisible to me–simply because our paths never crossed. A group of people who lived inside of their own heads and created their own friends and chatted in virtual rooms with each other on their souped-up computers.

Never one to back down from a challenge, I sat at this table for the duration of the writing session. I plugged in my headphones so they could get back to talking about wizardry and ancient worlds and feel somewhat at peace. I typed and I focused, avoided the social conflict staring me dead in the face, which half of them were doing for pretty much the entire two hours, while the other half just as uncomfortably avoided all eye contact. And I mean all.

I took away a few things from this experience:

1) A weird sense of guilt that I should not be a part of this at all.

2) A strange sense of fascination and mischief that made me want to continue going to this writing group and disrupting all of their norms. (I did not do this.)

3) A newfound interest in seeking out the things that are invisible to me. To not be so blindsided by people living another existence again. Or…the opposite where I just sink back into my normal world, the one I have created for myself much like they have. There was a lot of push and pull here.

Perhaps there is a strange underlying thing here that has blocked me from wanting to continue with NaNoWriMo. Maybe I associate it with something that should be beyond my understanding, that is very much outside of my own personal norms, that I almost want to give over to this group of people entirely. Have your fun. Have your personal thing. I won’t take it away from you, I promise. That was never my intention.

To be honest, I really just don’t feel like writing a novel at this point in my life. I have nothing burning inside of me that could grow into 50,000 words. I have alot of smaller things that could definitely add up to 50k words. Prior to November, I was pluckily chugging along, getting words on the page daily. Writing what I wanted to write. Gaining ground towards publication. Doing my thang, so to speak. For the last eleven days, I’ve written less than I’d write even in a less-than-normal circumstance. The counter-productivity. It’s killing me. Making me feel like a failure. Reminding me of the people that so fiercely disdained me. And I want no part of it.

So here is where I quit you, NaNoWriMo.For this year and all years forthcoming. I’ll continue with my plan. You continue with yours. We shall co-exist politely. And I shall get published anyway. Not because I’ve committed to a word count but because I’ve committed to myself.

Fare thee well. And happy writing to all of us.

*Uhh. Uhhh. Maybe I am?