The Right to Write

Cleaned the kitchen, washed some towels, hung the bird feeder, did some weeding – and now there’s just one more item on my to-do list: “write.” There it is in plain black ink: I have to write today.

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The Making of Plans

As I write this, I’m changing out my yearly planner … yes, I actually use a planner. I even have a sweet leather case that I carry it around in, which I’m “borrowing” from my equally organized mama.

2013I’ve been writing a few things down that I need to do, professionally and personally, over the next week and I can’t help but leaf through the rest of the year. What’s ahead? My golden birthday – I’ve been waiting for this since I enviously watched my little brother celebrate his at age three. There are weddings to celebrate, babies to be born, adventures to take and so many possibilities in between.

I think that’s what I love most about the time surrounding New Year’s. The air is buzzing with anticipation for the months ahead. And while I’m also trying my best to live in the present and be grateful for every day, I can’t help but let that American way of making grand plans slip into mind.

That being said, I give you my magnificent ideas for the year ahead. Some are quite specific, some are a little more vague – all are personal.

Jamison and I have recently been discussing the idea of “rejection therapy.” The idea is that you try so many things, go out on so many limbs, that you eventually become ok with rejection. I think it’s a brilliant idea and I’ve tried to follow this rule to some extent in my life. I try my best to operate under the pretense that you never know if you don’t try. Plus, rejection seems to fuel my fire. So this year, I’ve resolved to enter as many writing contests as I can find. A part of me is terrified – because rejection when it comes to my writing feels more personal – but another part of me is excited at all the creative thinking I’ll be encouraged to do.

The Moth

As a writer and lover of stories, I’ve really enjoyed listening to the Moth podcast. Not only does this creative group collect live stories from across the US, but they also host live Story Jams. There’s one tentatively on the books at the end of January in Minneapolis, but what about Fargo? Another resolution: bring the Moth to my new hometown.

Also in the year ahead, I want to continue learning. Sounds nerdy, I know (must go hand in hand with carrying a planner). But ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you, I’m full of random facts. And I’m sure they’ll be delighted to know that in 2013, I’d like to bolster my collection of random tidbits. One way I plan to accomplish this is by committing myself to at least one Khan Academy video a week. I think it’s easily doable; I just have to make time to sit and learn something. Maybe I’ll write a weekly recap of what I’ve learned on H&C?

That thought brings me to why I’m writing about this – I need and want to be held accountable. After this post is published, the world (or Katie, my mom and a few friends) will know what my goals are for the coming year. So stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted as 2013 unfolds and my resolutions become reality. Well, at least that’s the plan.

TED Visits Minneapolis

lauren-and-jamison-wedding-127I’m baaa-aaack. Yes, it’s true, I’m happy to say I’ve returned to my senses and am ready to write once again for Hotdish & Catfish. I wasn’t intentionally trying to avoid the blog, but my life has just been a little hectic lately (moved across the country, lived with my parents, planned a wedding, married a man named Jamison, spent a short time being a honeymooner, moved across the state of Minnesota and started a new job. Deep breath!).

But the time away has been good for my perspective. I’ve come to realize that I need to keep writing. I feel better when I write, I feel more like myself. This quote from Anaïs Nin resonates with me, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” Well said, Nin.

All that being said, I am now going to relive my recent experience at the TEDxTC event.

Some of you may remember a post I wrote a while back confessing my love for TED. No, I’m not straying from Jamison, he’s still my main man. TED is a collaborative movement that strives to bring people together and spread innovative ideas. I was lucky enough to attend the Twin Cities TED event this month. AND it was in collaboration with TEDxWomen – even better.

iO Tillett Wright

The night started with a live teleconference into the TEDxWomen event taking place in Washington DC. The amazing Eve Ensler – playwright, performer, feminist and creator of the Vagina Monologues – was host for the evening and introduced some equally inspiring women. While all of them have a passion for helping women reach their potential, my favorite speaker was photographer iO Tillett Wright. She just had a genuine, easy-going quality about her. She wasn’t angry, she wasn’t sad, and she wasn’t demanding anything of the audience. She just presented herself and her art in a beautiful way. And she was honest about what she hoped to inspire with her photography. I think it’s best if you just watch it and come to your own conclusions.

As the night went on, we heard from leaders from around the Twin Cities, who also happened to be women, each with their own powerful and personal message. To me, that is the best part about TED talks – you come together, listen and absorb everything. Take it in, be inspired and apply whatever you’ve learned to your life. I left TED feeling equipped to make some changes. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to do, but whatever came my way, I’d make it better. And hey! I’m writing again, so that’s something. Improving oneself is a great place to start.