Ladies, germs and gender-nonconforming nuclei, I’ve identified of recent a grave inhibitor to my creativity (and, I’d wager, happiness) … PERFECTIONISM.

I have historically been susceptible to the crushing magnitude of my own expectations, particularly apropos publication/print. Why is this dialogue/description-o-mine not extraordinarily witty in a vein reminiscent of Diablo Cody or Amy Sherman-Palladino? I’m a hack!

I’m an aspiring author, a not-novelist, a (fiction)-biographer-to-be. Hence, whence I encounter readerly/writerly sorts, I often act (am) overzealous in my aim to exhume how they do what they do and — crucial — how I can co-opt their methodology.

“What’s your writing process?” I ask, cross-eyed, frothing with rabid curiosity. Here’s mine, FOR FREE.

Lo! — a productive alternative to marinating in a broth of my own self-loathing as the cursor on a blank .doc blinks at me in ceaseless mockery, like Microsoft Office flipping me the Word-bird (the true crux of creativity, no?): Let myself suck. Write shit. For which, it transpires, I am mad equipped … w/ this M.O., last week, I cranked 45 pages from nothing but ideas in five days. It was fucking transcendent, like Liesl and Captain von Trapp duet-ing “Edelweiss.”

NAW. I penned the excrement I knew I was capable of (and subsequently deleted 25+ pages). But truly, the practice granted me a bird’s-eye POV of my story entire; I was able to suss out and backspace the shit from the … recyclable garbage, not yet bogged by a marsh of details.

So goes my highs and lows —

Monday morning, I borderline-cried-in-public to “San Diego Serenade,” intimidated by statistics homework and the looming cumulonimbus that = my future. This self-absorption-fest was blessedly interrupted by a conversation over coffee with a new friend named for a virtue I rarely possess. We gushed for 90 mins about books, music & how we want our writing to affect others, and afterwards I felt refreshingly centered/recalibrated.

Our talk reignited the spark of a sentiment I allegedly uttered to my mom in 2001: I want to be a writer. (Like, a professional.) And committing myself to making art is worthwhile!!! I’m baffled that pursuing one’s artistic inclinations is viewed as not “practical,” when lit’rature, etc. serves as connectivity to humanity — also, often, people’s lifelines.

… Subjects on which to ponder as I plan an imaginary book tour and fantasize about delivering the commencement address at my old high school. (The latter’s prolly not implausible, as my own graduation speaker was an alumnus and “aspiring comedian,” which snarky 18-y/o me interpreted as “not a comedian.” See above.)

P.S. BREAKING: I am now a social media #Twit! Follow me @LaraLaVel. My profile pic = a 1965 Hanes ad feat. a bespectacled nude chick donning books and Hanes stockings in lieu of clothes — my new desired garmentry, minus legwear — and in thy background is indeed dreambohunk young Tom Waits. The bio’s a hella-name-droppin’ quote from my screenplay about a paraplegic aspiring reporter investigating collegiate sexual assault, to be published under my birth name, not this nom de plume, by Writer’s Digest in January.


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