A Post About . . . “Nothin’ ”

As I dashed off to church, mulling over what to post (besides the announcement of the winner of Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen—that’ll come later in the post), the premise of Seinfeld came to mind. Remember that show? It was “a show about nothing” or more aptly, the “mundane aspects of everyday life.” (See Wikipedia.) And here’s something else you might find coincidental: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is on the cover of the latest issue of Northwestern University’s alumni magazine. If you’ve never seen Seinfeld, you might wonder what connection she has to it. Well, she was a costar. She has her own show nowadays—Veep.

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I struggled with what to post, as I’ve done many times lately, because of thoughts plaguing me like, If I don’t yet have a published book to promote, a beautifully written poem like the ones Andy over at City Jackdaw produces, or a hilarious Punchy Lands report (ala Professor VJ Duke), or if I haven’t been on an exciting trip recently or a glorious walking tour like the ones Restless Jo posts so eloquently about, will anyone want to read what I write? But finally on that drive, I realized I’d fallen into a trap—the same trap I was in several years ago when I was about to turn down an invitation to participate in career day at an elementary school in Chicago. Why was I going to turn it down? Because I didn’t think I was “successful” enough to talk to the eighth graders. I wasn’t sure they’d want to hear that I had more writing failures than successes.

As I realized the mindset I’d fallen into—the belief that I had “nothing” to say—the thought of Seinfeld was a revelation. For a show that purported to be about “nothing,” it managed to remain on the air for almost a decade. And why not? It was really a show about life. There’s always something to say, if you’re still breathing.

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Thinking about Seinfeld helped me realize my tendency to disparage my own life—to think that a “good” life (or at least one worth posting about) boiled down to what I produced that others might deem successful or to places I’ve visited that others might view as worthy of interest. (Um, instead of traveling to Italy, France, or Nairobi, I went to Joann Fabrics today and bought some eyes with safety catches for the kittens I’m crocheting. Yeah, I walk on the wild side.)

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Package of eyes with safety catches and a photo of a head with the eyes in place. Why are safety catches necessary? Each catch keeps the eye in place and prevents a small child who bites through the fabric from swallowing the eye.

Lately, I’ve been taking for granted the simple things in life—fodder for many an episode of Seinfeld. Like today (Sunday). The humidity we’ve experienced for weeks is finally gone. The sun is out, and the temperature for much of the day has been around 81 degrees Fahrenheit. How marvelous without humidity. To celebrate, I scarfed down a scrumptious hot fudge sundae from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. Maybe that’s not earth-shattering, front-page headline news. But it’s life—my life. And sometimes I need to be reminded that it’s worth celebrating. And so is yours.

Speaking of celebrating, I’m pleased to announce the winner of Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen.

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That winner is

Is

Is

Is

Lyn Miller-Lachmann!

Time to celebrate, Lyn! You know the drill. Comment below to confirm, and then email me your address.

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Gratuitous lip balm photo. Yes, this is an egg-shaped container.

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29 thoughts on “A Post About . . . “Nothin’ ”

  1. There’s nothing so interesting as real life stuff. Fantasy goes on in stories – we know the difference and what’s important – and if safety catches are your thing, well, that’s interesting …

    • Yes. I can’t help thinking of the story you told about trying to get your prescriptions filled. I was riveted! And of course the post where you wrote about the field trip that totally made me cry!!!

  2. I never got into the show, but I think I know what you mean about the finding something to post. Real life doesn’t seem very interesting in terms of drawing in an audience. So if nothing unique and exciting is going on, one feels at a loss for inspiration. Even though you see a lot of blogs out there that are simply about what a person did during the day. Maybe it’s a test of a writer to make the average day seem exciting.

    • Some people have a knack for making the mundane seem extraordinary. My brothers have that ability. My younger brother reminded me of a baby bird we fed in the alley when we were kids. I totally forgot about that story. But he remembers these things!

  3. And see, Linda, this was a perfect put-together post. I mean, all the time the professor is like, “What should I do?” And then I just start writing. Your posts are always entertaining.

    Seinfeld…I should really watch at least one show.

    • And you know I enjoy the Punchy Land news.
      Watch Seinfeld only if you can’t find anything else good on. And there are plenty of good new shows on. I can only give my attention to two: Doctor Who and Agents of Shield (when that returns).

  4. People are inherently interested in other people. That’s half the filght right there, I think. The only blogs I am not interested in reading are those by folks who cry and whine about how horrible and unfair their lives are. Yawn. If one can string words together in an intriguing way, somebody will want to read it.

  5. I feel the exact same way a lot of the time … but I never would have guesses you feel like you have nothing to say. You’re posts always make such interesting connections between writing and life experiences and you bring great interviews and highlight other authors.

  6. Seinfeld excelled at providing amusing insights on people stumbling through daily life ~ I could see an episode focused on those kitten eyes. The cat’s meow.

    The blogs I like best make me laugh, make me think, or make me fall in love with the flow of the words being shared.

    I echo Eric . . . the ones that make me head for the Exit Sign are those full of angst, whining, and pathos. (Or those that are so involved in self-promotion that it’s clear they’re blogging to GET not to GIVE.)

    • Very, true, Nancy. I appreciate hearing about the way people stumble through life. Who could forget the episode where Elaine kept doing that weird dance? Or the one where she refused to tip the skycap? I still laugh at those!

  7. Joann Fabrics…you wild woman you! I was even more wild, L, I went to Target. 🙂
    Whenever I need a good laugh, I know I can turn on the TV and Seinfeld will be on at least one channel. What a great show that was.

  8. Yes! Yes! Yes! I’m so excited! And by the way, you did turn down my invite to a blog hop. So did everyone else I asked after you, and then I got called for jury duty so I didn’t have time to keep asking. Later this afternoon, I’ll put up my post and let the thread die with me unless folks change their minds.

  9. Seinfeld is one of my favorite sitcoms and proves that real life has so many interesting parts without needing to contrive something “big.”

    So yes, keep telling us about your life and awesome crochet projects. And everyone needs a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae every once in awhile… may have to grab one on the way home from work…

  10. Wow! You started off with no idea, and ended up with a profound comment on life. Writing is funny that way. Seinfeld was the perfect symbol of what we like to watch or read. It was about life, that’s all. I feel the same when I try to think of a plot for my next novel. What is interesting enough? Do I need murders and superhuman heroes and villains? Somehow that doesn’t interest me as much as the people.

    • What is interesting enough is a good question. It’s hard to discern sometimes whether what interests us enough to write about will interest someone else. And then I think of a movie like Doubt (starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams) and I’m blown away by the deep impact of such a “quiet,” character-driven story.

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