Bookish Journal #8: I ♥ NY (But I Hate Writing About It)

, by Zoë Gulliksen

“It is necessary to find one's own way in New York. New York City is not hospitable. She is very big and she has no heart. She is not charming. She is not sympathetic. She is rushed and noisy and unkempt, a hard, ambitious, irresolute place, not very lively, and never gay. When she glitters she is very, very bright, and when she does not glitter she is dirty. New York does nothing for those of us who are inclined to love her except implant in our hearts a homesickness that baffles us until we go away from her, and then we realize why we are restless. At home or away, we are homesick for New York not because New York used to be better and not because she used to be worse but because the city holds us and we don't know why.”
-Maeve Brennan

Here's the deal: I'm a 22 (practically 23) year old female living in New York City. I graduated from college last May (nearly a year ago already, Christ) and I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm blissfully happy and at the same time anxious out of my mind. The kind of anxiousness that catches you unsuspectingly while you make that first cup of coffee in the morning and suddenly your heart is racing, your hands are shaking, you're claustrophobic but too terrified to walk outside and hives starts flaring on your forearms and you have no idea how to calm these nerves except to sit the fuck down and read something familiar or eat a week's worth of strawberries from the fridge.

Maybe this does happen to you or maybe it doesn't. I think this is what Holly Golightly was referring to when she talked about the mean reds. I go from the happiest I've ever felt in my life while walking down Central Park West, watching all the people walk their dogs or ride vespas. But then suddenly I'm think ing about how I have no idea what sort of career I should pursue, how I need to lose weight, I need to eat better, I need more money in the bank, I need to be an adult damnit, I have to find direction, I sleep too much, I watch too many movies, I don't blog enough, I have nothing worthwhile to say! 

Mainly I've been fighting this sort of internal struggle, which doesn't really leave much energy for anything else. I worry so much about all the things I should be doing that I become so overwhelmed and end up doing nothing at all. But this is relatively normal, right?

Lately I've been concerned about blogging, specifically. I want to be a blogger like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex & the City where I write about my life and the tribulations of living in New York. I want to write like Shauna Reid, who documented her weight loss journey unabashedly and full of determination. I want to write about my life, and I always say I'm going to be more honest in my blogging. But when it comes down to it, I'm too scared too. 

I'm deeply terrified of being criticized for my writing. Mainly everything else (save for vanity) I don't care too much about, but writing has always been the one thing I'm good at. When I put myself and my most honest writing out there, the insecurities and the personal information I give out is used against me. I'm either harassed online by douchebag bottom dwellers of the Internet or made to defend my life choices by family members who stalk my blog. Carrie Bradshaw never had her mother call her a slut for sleeping with so many men. Not that I sleep with lots of men, I do sleep with one, but even then-> is talking about my sex life too much for blogging? Who even cares about that! I'm in a long term relationship, I don't have anything to bring to the dating/single scene of New York.

I like writing product reviews and giveaways (because hey, I love you guys and I love giving you free stuff!!) But even I get bored of that. My favorite bloggers are those who write about they see, so why the hell not do I write about that? Maybe I'm just not paying enough attention to what is around me.

So what do I want to write about? I struggle with this on a constant every waking moment of my day basis. I want to WRITE but I can't think of anything meaningful to say.

"There's nothing to writing, Gellhorn. All you do is sit at your typewriter and bleed."- Hemingway

 This quote is from an HBO movie titled "Hemignway & Gellhorn", which is about Earnest Hemingway and his third wife, journalist & war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. I have mentioned this movie and Gellhorn frequently on Twitter in the past two days because they have stirred up a sort of passion in me. But more about that later. This quote really stood out to me because at one part of the film, all Gellhorn does is complain about she cannot write. She is surrounded by war and history is happening all around her, yet she cannot find anything to write. Hemingway has no sympathy for her whining  instead barks at her to just write.

Apparently I need to do some fucking bleeding already. 

 However, I did buy a typewriter this morning at a flea market: a 1963 Olivetti Lettera 32 that is the color of Tiffany & Co boxes and in great condition. I bought it for $40 and I plan on using it as soon as the ribbon is delivered from Amazon. Perhaps that will invoke some inspiration in me. 

I also bought bread next to Tina Fey and her family at the market this morning too. She was wearing the most atrocious sweatpants every, pushing a stroller and she still looked fabulous. She is a successful writer, maybe some of her skills rubbed off on me in our passing.

Perhaps, I should buy one of those writing prompt books. Something like "365 Days of Writing Prompts That Will Turn You Into A Writer Or Your Money Back" type deals. I could do a writing prompt here on the blog, so then have to something to write about and you have something to read. After all, some of the best writing I did was from prompts in my writing classes in college. Well, not the ones where I was "write from the perspective of a sock who has lost its mate in the laundry" or where I had to pretend to be a bug. I fucking hate Kafka, get out of here. 

Who knows. All I do know is that I love living New York City but damn, do I hate writing.


  1. I love how you wrote a blog post about how you feel you have nothing to write about. I had a similar feeling for one of my University writing courses where we had to write in a journal everyday and sometimes I would just write about how much I don't want to write because I have nothing to write about. I completely understand and feel the same way about protecting my writing and what to write about.

    1. Sometimes having nothing to writing about is the perfect topic to write about =P I hope your writing is going well Andrew!

  2. "My favorite bloggers are those who write about they see." I believe you answered your own question. Without sounding dreadfully cliche, everything you see and experience is new, even in a city as written about at New York. Having lived there myself, you'll see things differently than I did - or anyone else, for that matter. Now write about it. If not something full blown, notes. Some stories need time to percolate.

    One of my favorite quotes, along the lines of Mr. Hemingway's, is from Somerset Maugham: "I only write when the muse strikes me. Fortunately, it strikes me every morning at 7:00am."

    Happy writing...I enjoy your posts.

    And savor your time in the City. It's a treat.


    Somerset Maugham

  3. Pretty sure my man, Stephen King, still uses a type writer.
    "Little Women"'s Jo inspired me to get a literal thinking cap. Doesn't necessarily help me write, but it does help with my own rampant nerves.
    Good luck!

  4. When the whole world is your oyster, which pearl do you pick?
    Keep writing! There is no need to keep it long, or short, just true to yourself.