Mandy Boyle

NEPA-er with Moxie. Writer. Sometimes Actor. Nerdy Girl.

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Creative Non-Fiction

Over the summer, Brent and I took a creative non-fiction writing workshop. It was awesome.

Not only was it taught by one of my dear friends and colleagues, but it was also an opportunity for me to write consistently and explore a style that I haven’t really played with before.

Being a blogger is sort of like creative non-fiction, I guess. It’s a lot of reflection and storytelling elements get used to talk about thoughts or feelings or events. But there’s an all at once delicate and powerful ZING to it that’s like nothing else.

Each week, we’d be given a prompt to write about. Then, in one page or two, we were to tell our story. I wrote a lot about my childhood, about important moments in my life. Some of my stories were sad. Some were happy. But they were all my moments and getting to share them with others in a writing workshop was such an intimate experience. It was thrilling and therapeutic. And I loved hearing everyone’s stories each week, too!

I’ve been toying with the idea of using this blog as a platform to share some of those pieces of writing – and maybe make some more! Eventually, I’d love to submit something somewhere and get it published. Seeing a byline in print still thrills me and it gives me those little gold stars that I try to tally up in my head when I accomplish something (Type A, much?).

No matter where it appears, I still smile and give my 16 year-old self a big hug when I see my name on a piece of work.

See that, Young and Naive Mandy Who Still Wants to Go To NYU and Live In the Village? You can write and not have to live in New York and have all of that school debt.

Ah, well. I guess I should make her proud and just keep doing it already. It’s one thing to talk about it, er, blog about it. But it’s another to do it. So, let’s give it a whirl. I’ll write some stuff and share it here. Could be fun!

The Struggle With the Gut

Do you remember when you were growing up and learning all about gut feelings?

Those moments when you were told to stop and listen to the internal jerking that made you nervous, uneasy, or anxious?

You were reminded to go with your gut when it told you something. Listen to it. Appreciate it. Learn to love it and let it guide you.

So what do you do when you want it to talk to you but it isn’t?

My gut and I? Well, let’s just say we don’t always have the best relationship.

Sure, I’ve trusted it and it’s gone fine, but then there are times when…damn…it just…let me down. And I guess that’s one of the beautiful things about the whole human experience. You get to mess up, learn from it, and then keep going.

But right now? I really wish that little buddy and I were talking.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like my gut and I aren’t on the same wavelength. Questions, requests, invitations – all things that I can normally handle – are stumping and stalling me. I take longer to respond. I consider more. Doubt. Stew. Resolve.

I’m wondering if it has to do with my latest blogging hiatus and the thoughts I’ve had while I was wasn’t writing on here (even though there was still plenty happening in the background). Lots of reflection about how to spend time and how to be kinder to yourself. Trying not to feel guilty. Focusing on just…BEING.

Now I’m here. Nearly midnight. Laundry is put away and I’m sitting on the couch thinking about decisions and to do lists. Nothing here is major. Nothing here is critical.

But still I sit – waiting for good ol’ Gut to chime in and say, “Hey! This is worth your time.” Or, “Nope. Don’t do it.”

I’ll try sleeping on it. See how that goes. After all, maybe he’s just tired and needs a holiday, too. :)

 

 

What happens when you take a blogging holiday.

My last post was months ago. I’m not sorry.

The break was good. I lived fully for several months, taking in all of the best parts (and even some not great parts) of this beautiful, crazy, and often bewildering world we live in.

I stopped feeling guilty about not writing because really, when it comes down to it, it’s a lie. I still wrote. Every day, actually.

I wrote emails, documents, training plans, presentations and analyses at work, which made my brain all at once tired and happy.

I wrote creative non-fiction as part of a writing workshop I shared with dear friends and my husband. Once again, my brain smiled.

I wrote responses to interview questions and award nominations. I had to *gasp* talk about myself. As uncomfortable as it is, it’s good for you. Do it every now and then.

We try so hard – so, so hard – to keep up with things. Building good habits. Making changes that stick. The tipping point seems out of reach at times, but when it hits, boy, does it feel good. It’s happening. You’re doing it. You’ve won.

But sometimes the win is in not letting the tipping point tip. Sometimes, it’s about backing away and being in other things so that you can return feeling at peace, refreshed, and with the right perspective.

NEPA BlogCon still happened. I performed in a play. I read books. I climbed down a mountain. My picture was in the paper. I felt proud for my friends. I laughed. I cried. I loved. I lived.

That’s how I’m looking at it.

I took a blogging holiday and lived. :)

75 Thoughts You’ll Have Getting Ready for Your Wedding Day

A few months ago, Brent and I tied the knot. It was…perfect. Absolutely and in every way.

But internally, while I was surrounded by all of this perfection, my mind raced. So many thoughts and feelings.

They sounded and felt a little something like this…

The Morning Of

sleep sleeping wizard of oz judy garland the wizard of oz

1.) Zzzzzz….. (*alarm blasts waking you from sweet, sweet slumber*)

2.) Five more minutes…no…WAIT. I’M GETTING MARRIED TODAY.

3.) WE’RE GETTING MARRIED TODAY!

80s vintage kiss retro 1980s

4.) HOLY SHIT WE’RE GETTING MARRIED TODAY!

5.) Note to self: Do not forget deodorant. Also wear a button down shirt so you don’t jack up your hair like some animal.

6.) Headpiece? Check. Jewelry? Check. Random assortment of pharmacy essentials in the event of a sudden headache diarrhea indigestion attack? Check.

On the Commute

7.) Let’s go get spiffed up! OMG. What if there’s construction? PLEASE DON’T LET THERE BE A DARK RED LINE ON THE MAP, GOOGLE!

8.) WHY ARE WE STOPPING?!

9.) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (stares at sea of brake lights).

no the office michael scott please no

10.) God? Are you there? It’s me – a frazzled bride in search of meaning and a clear roadway.

11.) If you let this traffic pass and I’m not late for everything, throwing off the entire flow of the day and ruining it for everyone, I’ll be eternally grateful!

12.) What’s this? MOVEMENT?!

13.) Whew. False alarm. We’re moving again. People will make it to the wedding and we won’t have to eat 900 pounds of shrimp by ourselves (though that wouldn’t be so bad…)

tina fey hungry shrimp happy eating

Getting Hair & Makeup

14.) IMMA LOOK SO PREEEEETTTTYYYYY.

film musical gtkmm get to know me meme natalie wood

15.) Why did I never learn to use a curling iron like a real person?

16.) Maybe I should give YouTube another shot. BRING ON THE HAIR TUTORIAL VIDEOS.

17.) Can you just be here to do my hair every day?

18.) Do celebrities have healthy hair with all of that styling and hot tool usage?

sad zooey deschanel frown pout the new girl

19.) Who am I kidding? I won’t suddenly start doing my own hair. I’ll watch YouTube videos and mourn.

20.) Ooo! This makeup looks delightful!

21.) Why don’t I wear makeup more often?

22.) Oh, yeah. Because it takes time and effort.

23.) My eyes are…how you say…on fleek?

24.) Brow game is strong today.

25.) OMG I LOOK SO GOOD!

princess diaries celebrities

26.) I’m like a fairy princess in this flower crown.

27.) *sneaks peek in another mirror* WOOOOOOO!

28.) Okay. Now what?

29.) I’m going to watch my friends and family get their hair and makeup done too!

28.) *fidget* *fidget* *fidget* WHEW. OKAY. THIS IS REAL.

29.)  Everyone looks so great!

30.) *hears Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”* LIFE IS A MYSTERYYYYYYY

madonna like a prayer 80s music video

31.) Where is Madonna right now? She’s probably not in an Ulta. I’m in an Ulta.

32.) I’m so happy this button down fits me right now. #buttongap

33.) OOOOOOOH! I LIKE THIS COLOR LIP GLOSS.

34.) *sniffs every perfume*

35.) Imma dance right now right here.

dance feeling it 80s films bored

36.) UH UH UH UH GET DOWN

37.) Okay, Mom. I’ll stop.

38.) CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP

39.) Why is my stomach so flip floppy?

40.) Flip floppy. Flip floppy. Such a weird phrase.  Andy Samberg.

grace helbig hannah hart mamrie hart lonely island on a boat

41.) I’M ON A BOAT!

42.) We’re all ready? Awesome! Great!

43.) GONNA RIDE OR DIE WITH MY MAIN GIRL, MAMA BEAR

44.) This car feels so hot.  It’s October. What is this nonsense?!

airplane sweat sweating

45.) *cracks window* No. Yes. No. YES.

46.) Aww, Mom. You’re getting me all teary looking over here!

47.) I CAN’T BELIEVE TODAY IS ACTUALLY HERE AND MY MOM IS IN THE CAR AND EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.

48.) Wow – we’re here already. That went quick!

Getting Dressed

49.) ALRIGHT. DRESS TIME. LET’S DO THIS.

matt ren thumbs kylo

50.) Wait. Gotta put on deodorant again.

51.) Wait. Gotta brush my teeth.

52.) Wait. Gotta change bras into that undergarment thing I paid way too much money for but is integral to the structure and shape of my dress.

53.) Getting married is a con.

54.) SO MUCH MONEY. BUT I LOOK SO GOOD RIGHT NOW.

movies audrey hepburn funny face

55.) Okay. Dress. On. Yes.

56.) This is slipping.

57.) Anyone have a safety pin!?

58.) Okay. Dress is stable. WHOA. PRINCESS ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!

59.) No, Mom, don’t cry! If you cry, I’ll cry too!

60.) I wish I brought a sweater. Might get a chill.

61.) My Nanny would be proud. I’m in her pearls and thinking about cardigans.

62.) Okay. I’m dressed. I’m ready. LET’S DO THIS.

awkward jim carrey ace ventura primping

63.) How do I sneak out without Brent seeing me? I know he’s next door…

64.) Is the coast clear? The coast is clear. Let’s book.

65.) Wow, walking in a dress like this is…interesting.

66.) HELLO CO-WORKER/FRIEND/CLASSMATE IN THE ELEVATOR WHO I INVITED TO THE WEDDING. THIS ISN’T WEIRD AT ALL.

community awkward alison brie bye annie edison

67.)  Am I ready for this? I’m ready for this.

68.) Do I need to pee? No. I’m good. This is just nervousness.

69.) Everyone is looking at me in the lobby. How…do….I….respond to this?

70.) Do not close dress in car door. Do not close dress in car door. Do not close dress in car door.

71.) Do not mess up hair. Do not mess up hair. Do not mess up hair.

72.) *smile at Mom*

73.) I can’t believe it’s here already.

tv excited mom arrested development screaming

74.) It’s all happening.

75.) This is the best day. I’m with the best people. Everything is the best.

 

 

 

 

Why Does Creativity Feel So Difficult?

Photo By: Richard Jones

I scheduled the time for me to write this. I planned it in advance. In my whirling brain, I committed myself to sitting down and writing about…

Something.

Creativity doesn’t always come easily to me. There are times when I sit and stare at an empty screen, waiting for an answer that never comes. Or one that comes but doesn’t satisfy.

But then there are those rare moments when that sneaky bolt hits you and charges you with enough energy to write 5 blog posts in quick succession. Or 10 pages of a play. Or that manifesto you’ve been waiting for.

It never seems to be conveniently timed or on command. Rarely when you need it. Sometimes only under the greatest of pressures. Creativity is the thing we wish for with a smile but curse when it doesn’t arrive as expected.

So, here I sit, my feet propped up on a cozy couch with a cup of mint tea at my side. My husband is writing code next to me, working on building a website. He’s good at putting his creativity to use. Meanwhile, I’m struggling.

I went to Google, because, well, where else do you go when you want answers? I searched “why is creativity so difficult?”. What I found was pretty darn interesting – and rooted in science.

All this, and more, from a squishy thing in our noggins.

I started this post feeling frustrated at my lack of inspiration – but now, I’m feeling pretty good. This block is a positive thing. I’m stretching my brain and letting it do its thing. And hey, I’ve got another post out of the experience!

I’ll enjoy the down time while I’m at it.

You know – spending a nice afternoon with a cup of tea and brain science.

If an idea comes, it comes.

I’ll wait and relax.

After all, it’s good for me. 

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