Get Yo’ Debate On, Austin Style @theAustinot

The other day, for one of my many freelance writing gigs, I wrote in an article that businesses should post regularly to their blogs in order to develop the most devoted following. Posting two days in a row and then not for another month or so simply won’t do.

But, after all, I am a writer, and that means I’m great at recommending things in articles and not taking my own advice.

Which is to say, for my second post in two days, I’d like to say, hey! Do you know about the awesome Austin blog, the Austinot? Well you SHOULD because, it’s packed full of delicious info on everything there is to do in Austin, quirky and otherwise. I had the pleasure of meeting the blog owners at a local event here in Austin, and wrote a story on the awesome Austin event, Dionysium, which you should all check out tomorrow if you’re in town and up for some verbal fireworks.

So, without further adieu, I bid you check out the article HERE, explore the Austinot far and wide and get yo’ debate on!

ATTENTION: Leah Kaminsky Will Be Implementing a New Potluck Policy

Friends, family members, and Henry, our friendly neighborhood cat, I have a confession to make. I have a deep, dark, dirty secret I’ve been keeping from public view. But first, I have to say…

love potlucks. I really do. In your twenties, potlucks are an excuse to be with the kind of family you hypothetically want to birth in your thirties but not before you’re done taking risks and having fun. I love choosing recipes for this family, putting my sweat and blood (the best kinds of spices!) into dishes, feeding friends, and having an excuse to get together with the people I care about. I love getting to be in people’s lives in such a regular way, to create those places of laughter, love and support. And I love love LOVE the food.

But there’s that deep dark secret. Yes, here it comes. I can hold it back no longer. I stand here in front of you today, one woman against the world, opening the contents of her mind for all to see. Friends, family members…Henry.

There’s only so much potlucking a woman can freaking take. Let me explain.

When I moved to Austin and got my first potluck invite, I was over the moon.

I knew this would be a great way to make friends. And I like friends. I like them a lot.

Plus, the people I met at my first potluck were awesome. They were smart, they talked politics, they loved delicious, healthy organic food, they did the coolest things, and they were mostly all in a similar stage of life as me. Read: They were headed somewhere, but still kind of figuring it out. I had found my place, and I had no qualms about cooking for them.

But then something happened. As I networked and met more people, I got invited to more events. My social calendar filled up with fun things to do. And I got more work gigs. Lots of gigs. Too many gigs. And then?

Everyone I ever met in Austin decided to have a potluck in the same week. The horror. The horror.

I tried to keep up, I really did, but with how much I was working (am working), the stress of making something good quickly became too much. Soon enough, I felt like I was this girl:

Stephen tried to help, but his tips weren’t all that relevant.

I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to see all of these wonderfully diverse friends, but I felt like I couldn’t attend these zillion and one potlucks without putting effort into a dish.

The guilt of bringing something pre-made or not bringing anything was too much to bear. So I just stopped going.

But I miss my friends. I love my tight knit friend hamlets. I love that everybody is so generous with their energy and time. I love coming together over delicious meals. So the only thing I can think to do is to implement a new policy – a compromise built on honesty.

The real problem, of course, is me. I love people and adventures and so I cast a wide net, but then, inevitably, I’m picking quantity over quality, and what I’m really craving is time to hang out with fewer people at a deeper level.

And I feel ashamed just to say all of this, given how lovely everybody is and how much effort and caring I’ve seen. I do hope you’ll keep on inviting me, because I love seeing everyone, and I hope I don’t sound ungrateful or snotty. But I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. So, this is what it is. This is what it has to be. Okay? Okay?

Now…who’s up for takeout?

When Brains Grow Claws #Feedmeseymour

It wasn’t too long ago that I was riding the crest of a creativity wave. Which, by the way, is a lot better than a perm wave.

Is there something in my hair, or is this…my hair?

As I finished my quest to blackmail myself into completing the first draft of my very first book, ideas were popping up everywhere. Inside the world of my book, I was writing flash fiction, diaries, poetry, songs. Showing off to myself…for myself.

And then, once the deadline passed, I collapsed. Which is kind of something I do…

For the length of my academic career, I’d push myself to the max only to return home during breaks, put on a hoody, sleep for twelve hours a day and communicate in grunts. Except, ever since I’ve come out of graduate school and worked both freelance and on my own businesses, that’s not really something I can do. Because, even though the robots will one day be able to write better than me (thanks for the heart attack, Wired senior writer and not my boyfriend, Steven Levy) they can’t do it yet, and I can’t afford the robots that will do my accounting and marketing.

And so, my hibernation this time around has been work, work and more work. I hid from my book:

But, no matter what form my creative, deep-thinking hibernation takes, it’s only a matter of a month or so before my brain reawakens. Kicking. Screaming.

FEED ME SEYMOUR. FEED ME ALL NIGHT LONG.

It starts as a tingle in my fingers and lips. My muscles need to move, stretch, show off what they can do.

Push it! Feel it right in those phalanges!

Then there comes the inevitable neural clawing. My neurons are fingers, squeezing any bit of stimulus or complex information that made the mistake of waltzing into my hungry mind when it only meant to go for a morning stroll. I feel like I’m going to die if I don’t take some complex scientific or philosophical problem and piece together all the scattered bits into one discernible whole.

I must analyze some thing. I MUST ANALYZE ALL THE THINGS.

And then there come the dreams. When I’m in the middle of a creative flow, my dreams are dead, white space; there’s just no energy left for anything complex. But when I’m craving creativity, my dreams are Hollywood blockbusters. In high school and college, they were torturous, dramatic movies with complex narratives that ran an entire arc. It’s all going wrong, there’s a tornado on the horizon, there are spies and intrigue. The world is saturated with impossible feats and colors. Something is after me, and it’s not far behind.

These days, they’re just as vibrant but less dramatic. Absurd, in most cases. Playing PRISON TELEPHONE at the PRISON.

A dramatic plea from the Real Mr. Ed to set the record straight about the sanitary habits of buffaloes.

I’m actually a buffalo. This horse look is for TV only.

And let’s not forget this gem from 2006: Not Without My Spleen: One Director’s Look Into Power, Bureaucracy and Body Parts. I’d say more, but I used it as the basis for a story and I’m still looking for a publisher.

Sure enough, after month’s of placid sleeps, last night I had a very involved dream about a woman named Yaddis who was trying her best to be respected in a male-dominated workplace. It was a musical, and the men performed a catchy if misogynistic song and dance number about not wanting to sit next to Yaddis in the lunchroom. I believe it went something like:

Yaddis, Yaddis.  Ain’t gonna sit next to ya Yaddis, Yaddis.

Yaddis: she smells!

Whether or not this was a dream about feminism or about the perils of being named Yaddis, I’ll never know.

What I do know is this. I can feel the pressure building behind the dam – ever more so as a rare rain falls from the Austin skies (well, not so rare that it couldn’t toy with Ira Glass last week). That moody, writerly feeling is descending. I can see my characters, sitting in the dark, dank hallway. Shivering. Cold.

Come to me, my pretties. It’s time for us to remember what adventure is all about.