How B.J. Novak helped me take a chance

Recently, I’ve read two celebrity books that are not my usual celebrity fare.  (I’m a sucker for essay style celebrity memoirs.)

This wasn’t really intentional.  But I’m trying to be better about patroning people’s work that I like.  So when searching for my next read, I remembered that Aziz Ansari had a book and downloaded it without much thought.  He’s funny.  I like Aziz.  This should be good.

And it IS good, but it turns out Modern Romance is a researched, considered look at dating in our current technological times.  Not what I expected.  Definitely recommend.

Similarly, I grabbed B.J. Novak’s One More Thing without any research.  I like B.J.  He’s funny.

Turns out this one is a collection of short fiction stories.  Some one page.  Some considerably longer.  Some weird.  Some thought provoking.  Very interesting stuff.  Great for reading all at once or nibbling on like potato chips.

I was struck by the fact that these were stories just for the sake of being stories.  Not stories that needed to be novels on their own.  Not stories that needed to be going someplace big and profound.  (I mean, some did, but they didn’t HAVE to be.)  Just stories.

These were the stories I liked to write when I was a kid.  Obviously, these were a million bazillion times better, but I liked to make up little things.  Weird bits.  Interesting characters.  Stories.

Now it is as if the bar on fiction is too high for me.  I’m no Jonathan Franzen.  Why bother even starting?

But Novak’s book helped me remember that it is OK write stories.  Even if you don’t think they have an audience.  Even if you don’t really no why.  Even if there is no end game.

So the other day, when I woke up around 5:00 am with an idea in my head, I did something different.  Instead of rolling over and trying to get a few more minutes of crappy sleep, I decided to do something about the idea.  I planted my feet on the ground, tiptoed my way to the computer, and wrote a weird little story.  Just because.

I’m not sharing the story here today because I’m looking to see if there is a better home for it.  You might see it here in the future.

I do hope to write more though.  Because it is OK to tell stories.  Thanks, B.J. Novak, for helping me remember that.

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3 thoughts on “How B.J. Novak helped me take a chance

  1. kristiina says:

    I love this, Melissa! In today’s world when we have access to ALL THE INFORMATION AND WRITING, it’s easy to say–meh, someone else has already done it and they’ve done it better than I ever could. And it’s just not true. Your unique voice or point of view is not yet out there–even if it’s just for you to read. I love that you took action and I hope one day we’ll get to read some of your stories 🙂

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