Archive | December, 2013

Good Will Hunting and Why Daydreaming Is Important

10 Dec

One more week ya’all. One. More. Week.

I have two projects and a quiz tomorrow, which is why I’m writing on my blog tonight and not writing about why CVS’s SEC’S 10-Q report in 2013 is more than its 10-Q in 2012 (Look, I took this reporting on the economy class this semester and I’m obviously not going to end up doing anything with the information I’ve gleaned so I have to shoe-horn it into as many conversations as possible. It’s harder than you think. No one wants to hear you say “Haha! That movie failed harder than the idea to repackage risky mortgages which led to the financial collapse of 2008!” That is a true story.)

Worse is that I also just watched Good Will Hunting last night with my roommate and now I have to be like to my friends, “I know this is 16 years too late but I want to discuss this movie now!” If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a boy who just wants to be a simple janitor but has a terrible disease. He’s really good at math. One day some professors discover his secret and ruin his life and make him see a therapist for his mutant math powers until he runs away. Lesson: Math never helped anyone do anything. Also lesson: If your soundtrack doesn’t have at LEAST four Elliot Smith songs, than it can’t legally be counted as a 90s movie.

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what the movie was about but that was kind of what it seemed like to me. Maybe watch it yourself, OMG it’s been 13 years what are you waiting for?! (#movieshaming)

But the movie made me anxious. Really a lot of it is “Spending money on college is dumb! Read more books and just smart yourself up that way! Or just be really good at something like math or just resign yourself to construction work.”

It also had some good points too like “Don’t give up” and “It’s not your fault” and “How do you like them apples?”

But you didn’t come here to get a review of Good Will Hunting (and if you did you have amazing luck! Good for you!)

You came because…???… you’re my mom and you like being a supportive parent. Or you maybe you typed Virginia Woolf into Google with mangled fingers and got this blog instead, who knows?

Anyways, in my on-going effort to figure out what I want to do with my life, today I talked to and drank coffee with real life awesome journalist/author/friends’ mom/best friend’s mom-in-law/super nice lady who lets me stay at her house with her family when I have no place to go for Jewish holidays – Adina Rishe Gewirtz. (Her YA book “Zebra Forest” got super great ratings on Good Reads. Click if you don’t believe me even though you should why did you come to my blog if you don’t believe the things I write??”)

Talking to other writers is fun for me if a little intimidating. Because I always think authors and journalists have some secret to success that isn’t just “write every day and you will get better at it.” Because that’s what you have to do. And I know that but I always hope just once someone will be “Oh, you just have to do 700 jumping jacks and drink Absinth out of a shoe and it’ll all fall in place!” (Although I’m sure if I actually did that, I would come out with some interesting writing.)

But I actually got a lot more out of our coffee klatch so because I think the stuff we talked about is good advice for everyone (although some stuff is more specific to journalists) I wanted to share it with you too.

– Daydreaming is important – (This might be for writers and not like, surgeons. So if you have someone’s life in your hands daily, please don’t daydream. If you have a character’s life in your hand then yes daydream away)

— Having a voice is more important than being an expert on something that you’re writing about because you can always do research. (Again, probably more for writers)

– Life is all about taking risks. 

– Just because you think of yourself as one way doesn’t mean that that is a concrete or even accurate representation of yourself.

– “Life is pieces” –  I think this helps with my writing and anxiety. You can’t really look down the road and know what’s going to happen, life is about living in ‘today.’ Just like with writing, you have to write one word, one page, one chapter and not focus on the whole book.

It’s very strange that so many writers are the same in the respect that we all might possibly be insane. Insane for thinking that writing stories is a smart career choice, insane for thinking that our work will make a difference to people, insane for bringing people into worlds we create and characters from our heads. But all writers I’ve met have this indestructible hope that hundreds of rejections can’t kill. It’s inspiring. And then also this humble surprise when people like their writing. I may not know what I want to do with my life but talking to successful people is always helpful.

When I came home from Starbucks, my friend happened to send me an amazing quote that very beautifully summed up how I was feeling about my future (which, despite meeting with my professors, bosses and authors about what I want to be when I grow up is still “???”)

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. 

And the point is, to live everything. 

Live the questions now. 

Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

I think that’s what I’m going to do. Learn to love the questions. Live the answers. Try to soak up as much advice and knowledge in the next 5 days before I am tossed into the next phase of my life. The dreaded  exciting “REAL WORLD.” (Not the show, but as in “Aviva, in the real world you can’t tell your co-worker you want to ‘fight their face’ when you get mad” or “Aviva, in the real world you can’t go on BuzzFeed all day” or “Aviva,in the real world we still won’t give you money for writing.”

Okay! Back to homework.

Good night my little ducklings.


Bye Hannukah!

5 Dec

Happy 8th night of Hannukah! Or if you’re not Jewish, happy Wednesday!


Go on, say it. You've deserved it.

Go on, say it. You’ve deserved it.


I’m pretty sad to see the holiday go this year. Not just because I got some sweet Hannukah swag (a hat, a scarf, a robe, a winter headband, pajama pants  – for some reason everyone thought I needed to be warmer than I currently was this year. Which is nice. Penguin-printed pajama pants are always appreciated)

I also wanted to say that the outreach from people about my last post was really astounding. I’m really glad that a lot of people could relate (well not glad that other people have anxiety, but glad that I felt less alone and that my words helped).

For weeks before Hannukah, I kept thinking “Just make it to Hannukah, just make it to Hannukah.”

Why? I have no idea. I mean, I’ve always liked Hannukah but for some reason this year I just really needed to focus on miracles. Focus on the fact that God can change anything at the drop of a dreidle. And now that it’s over, I feel like some lights have gone out within me as well. But I have one more thought about the holiday before we say goodbye.

There’s a scene in the movie Whip It where Ellen Page decides that she wants to join a roller derby league to escape her boring tiny Texas town. When she first learns of the sport, she goes up to one of the team members, Kristen Wiig and says “I just want you to know that you’re all my hero.” Kristin Wiig says, “Well put some skates on. Be your own hero.”

I was thinking that last night when I was crying over something depression/anxiety/OCD induced. I thought of my own heros, my friend Mel who went through several brain surgeries and remains the most positive person I know. My mom, who dealt with her own devils and came out stronger. And thought if I can go through this and make the best of this, then I can be my own hero. And then I stopped trying to feel positive not for other people, or because I felt I had to but because I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be my own hero.


Well, maybe not this superhero.

Well, maybe not this hero.


There are a couple of things I like about Hannukah. One is that the lack of something can make us tougher. Like blind people using echolocation to “see,” when one of our strengths are taken away that doesn’t make us weaker. It can make us stronger. If we choose it. When we don’t have our “lights,” we find that we have things inside us that we wouldn’t have known otherwise. When our Temple was destroyed, yes our light was taken away. But at that moment what did we find we had that we might not have found otherwise?




The ability to take on the mighty Greek army. The devotion to believe in miracles again. The fortitude to start again.

Hannukah is all about being your own hero. Think about Yehudit, (my fave lady and whom I share a name with #Yehuditpower). She was like “You guys aren’t DOING THIS REBELLION GOOD ENOUGH! Do I have to do everything around here? BRB I’ll just go chop this Greek general’s head off.”

And then she fed him cheese and wine until he got drunk and she chopped off his head and came back to the Jews like “Lol we have to do something about this sh*t now BECAUSE THE GREEKS ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE PISSED – so let’s do this rebellion thing right!” (I wasn’t there, but I think those are the words she used)


Here she is, casually severing some dude's head while her friend looks on like "OMG can't we do something NORMAL on Saturday nights anymore?"

Here she is, casually severing some dude’s head while her friend looks on like “OMG can’t we do something NORMAL on Saturday nights anymore?”


Something I’m going to take me this Hannukah, especially in light of whatever my brain decides to do this week is that sometimes you can’t wait for a miracle. Sometimes you need to be your own hero and believe the miracles will come later. For the good of yourself. For the good of your family. For the Jewish people. It’s hard. It’s SUPER hard.

But another thing Hannukah leaves me with is that nothing is impossible.

I recently asked my friend Mel how she stays so positive and upbeat despite all the terrible things she’s been through:

“Keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and it will help you right through. Like going through an MRI. I have to look through to the light otherwise I feel like I’m trapped in a coffin. Just like in life. Don’t dwell on the negative.”

I asked if she ever got depressed or angry.

“Yes. Those are important emotions to feel but terrible emotions to live by.”

But sometimes the simplest solution is the one that works best. Apparently. It works for Mel, let’s see if it works for me.

Thus concludes Hannukah for this year. But the good thing about the Jewish calendar is that another holiday is right around the corner. Anyone have any good Purim costume ideas?


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