I might just possibly be JT’s evil twin…


By Cornelia Read

So I was just sitting (okay, LYING ON MY SOFA) here, reading JT’s wonderful post about NOT SETTING GOALS this morning (it’s still Friday, as I’m typing), and I’m thinking to myself, “yes, this is wonderful advice for people who HAVE TROUBLE WITH SETTING TOO MANY GOALS.”

Because I set, like, not enough of them, I think. Except for goals such as, “um… dude, maybe you should try thinking about thinking about setting a goal or something. Next week.”

Well, actually, I set goals like, “I will stop being such an asshole-procrastinating-bitch type person and perfect myself OVERNIGHT, and start keeping actual to-do lists which I will then NOT FORGET ON THE F TRAIN ON THE SEAT NEXT TO ME WHEN I AM LOOKING THROUGH MY BAG FOR MY iPhone HEADPHONES,” for instance.


And then I get to the part of her post where she quotes Leo Babauta, about making oneself NOT set goals:

“What do you do, then? Lay around on the couch all day, sleeping and watching TV and eating Ho-Hos? No, you simply do.”

Yeah, right Leo. Actually, I’m lying on the couch right now, and I would be eating a Ho-Ho, FOR BREAKFAST, only that would require getting up and walking around the corner to Steve’s C-Town grocery on Ninth Street and PURCHASING a box of Ho-Hos, which seems like entirely too much trouble.

(I would have inserted John Belushi’s classic “Little Chocolate Donuts” thing from Saturday Night Live, but NBC seems to police Youtube pretty intensely so I offer you the following lovely homage in its place…)

 As my daughter and I decided about a month ago, we both suffer not from OCD, but from “OC… um… whatever.”


Meanwhile, the final (please GOD) draft of my fourth novel is due a week from today. O joy, o rapture unforeseen. (Look! SQUIRRELS!!!)

Maybe I should make some flan.

 Because, come to think of it, I don’t actually LIKE Ho-Hos all that much. I mean, if you’re going to blow calories like that, why not eat something good? Like a doughnut.

Except that maybe an apple fritter would taste even better

But really, I think I’d like to be JT when I grow up. That would be a worthy goal. She is an awesome woman. And an actual grownup. And I bet she writes her novels sitting up instead of lying down on her sofa, which is what I’ve been doing for about the last book and a half. When I actually leave my bed and meander over to the sofa, which requires a great deal of coffee.

But the concept of me EVER getting to be even a tenth as organized and thoughtful as JT is strikes me as being about as likely to come true as me growing up to be Batman.

I ran into a high school friend on the sidewalk yesterday, here in Brooklyn. We talked about all kinds of stuff because she was supposed to be going to yoga class and I was supposed to be going to my new bank. And we cracked each other up by admitting that we have both realized we have a problem with transitions.

Diana discovered this when she was talking with a friend about her procrastination, and he said, “yes. This is called having difficulty with transitions.”

And she said, “THAT’S IT! THAT’S PERFECT!!”

And he said, “Yeah, um… I know that because I teach Kindergarten, and it’s something we work on a lot with the kids. Who are, like, FIVE.”

So I told Diana I’m so bad with transitions that it requires a great deal of concentration and willpower for me to bathe, most days. “Because I just look at the bathtub, and I think, ‘you know, I’m DRY right now, and if I get in there I will be, like, WET. And it will be, um… different.”

And then of course once I am actually IN the shower/bath, I have the reverse problem, which is that I’m wet, and it’s warm and kind of cozy, and it seems like an awful lot of trouble to get OUT of the shower/bath,

because then I will drip on the floor and everything and start getting cold, and then I think about how the reason you get cold is because evaporation is an endothermic reaction, in that it requires energy for the water to become a vapor and leap off your skin, so it sucks up heat to do that and everything, and then I wonder if that isn’t EXOthermic, and remembered that this is why I got a D- in high school chemistry for the year, but I also remember that evaporation is additionally a really neat-jeato way to refrigerate things when you’re camping. You just dig a hole in the dirt and wrap your food in a wet towel, and it will stay cool for quite a while. Except then of course your food is in the ground so that’s a really crappy idea if you’re camping someplace that a lot of bears hang out. Or, you know, even ONE bear. Or probably coyotes. Or, like, dingoes, if you’re in Australia or something. And I wonder if Meryl Streep watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because I hope it would make her laugh if she realized they named the band “Dingoes Ate My Baby.” Or was it “stole my baby?”

Anyway, as my pal Muffy always says about the difficulty we share with the whole transition-to-bathing thing, “you know, I just have to tell myself, ‘Muffy, no one has ever REGRETTED taking a shower.'”

Maybe I should make some flan.

Or just get off this sofa and go buy some little chocolate donuts. For lunch. Because it’s almost lunch time.

Back to the novel… Wish me luck, and some of JT’s mojo, please

22 thoughts on “I might just possibly be JT’s evil twin…

  1. Jasmine

    Okay, I'm a lurker. As in, I almost never, ever comment, but this is just too good not to comment on because that's EXACTLY how I am. I had to convince myself to get up for fifteen minutes just so I could find my glasses and I'm currently trying to convince myself to bathe. Now I know what it's called! TRANSITION TROUBLE!

    Very eye-opening post, Cornelia. By the way, I'm on my bed as I type this.

    Zoe: Ho-Hos are those delicious chocolate swiss rolls in the first picture. They're so awesome we even have them here in Egypt.

  2. Reine

    Oh god, Cornelia, I am in Ho-Ho Hell. How I got here started when I was 4, and the kindergarten teacher didn't believe that it was my birthday and wouldn't give me my Hostess (where the Ho in Ho-Ho comes from, Zoë) cupcake with a candle and my birthday song! It made me really mad, and I've been eating Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, Snowballs, those raspberry creamy swirly thingies till they came out my Ding Dong . . . Hey, you know what I mean! I didn't stop till last year when I was pretty fat. This week I hit the 70lb weight loss mark, so I feel pretty good about that. But honestly, C … all I want is a Ho-Ho! And you are no fucking help. I am just grateful I don't live near a Dunkie's where they have those HUGE deep fat fried apple fritters!

    Good luck with your fourth! I cannot wait!

    "Pepsi . . . Pepsi-Pepsi. Chips-Chips." xo

  3. Cornelia Read

    Zoe, what Jasmine said… the cakes at the top of the post are Ho-Hos. We'll have to get you some when you're next here!

    Jasmine, my sister in bathing transition! And I, too, have to convince myself to get up in the morning. Every morning. Sometimes the arguments can be pretty amusing.

    Reine–70 POUNDS!! YEEEE HAAA!!! That is AWESOME!!!!!

  4. Alaina

    Course, that can also be very useful. Once you've started doing something, after all, you don't stop.

    Like writing. Or editing. Which is how I'm so productive; if my only choices are 'work on fiction' or 'work on this 10-page report due Monday' I am so avoiding the report.

    Still, maybe you should try to borrow, like, half of JT's goal-setting skills. Then she'll relax more and you'll be more active.

  5. Louise Ure

    Oh, boy, I'm with you on the "no list" thing right now. I have a particular hatred for things that, once done, have to be done again the very next day. Shower? Dress? Make the bed? Why? I'll just have to do it again tomorrow.

    Love the Batman floor sign.

  6. Lisa Alber

    Sometimes I can't be bothered to wash my face when I get up, much less take a shower. Glad to know there's others out there like me…I thought I had a goal for today…hmm, where did it go?

  7. Cornelia Read

    CarlC, thank you for the good-luck wishes–much needed!

    Alaina, it's absolutely true. Once I get started on something, I have hyper-focus. It's just that the *starting* is suck a damn pain in the ass. If I ever win the Powerball or something, I should probably hire someone to threaten me with a Taser unless I start writing. Like Cato. The Green Hornet version, not the Pink Panther version.

    Louise, YES! And doing the dishes. Why can't those little fuckers learn to wash themselves? They've had thousands of hours of being washed by me, you'd think they'd've figured it out by now…

    Lisa, if you find your goal, ask it if it's seen mine, okay? Thank you!

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Hmm, I think on a scale of Cornelia to JT, I'm about a 75 toward the JT side.

    Ho Hos are definitely not a problem. I programmed myself to block all Hostess products from consciousness long ago.

  9. Cornelia Read

    Yeah, I'm with you on the Ho-Hos, Alex… just not much of a Hostess person. But there are other things in the larger sweet bad shit genre I am kind of a fiend for. Just can't keep them in the house. And try to block the actual retail-opportunity locations.

    I like the idea of a Cornelia-to-JT scale. I only wish I were closer to the JT side of it.

  10. JT Ellison

    "[JT] is an actual grownup."


    Boy, I have y'all snowed. I am five. FIVE! I have trouble with transition. I have to force feed the shower. I write on the couch most days – not laying entirely, but definitely leaning, and most certainly not upright.

    Thanks for the giggle, Cornelia. You are most wonderous, and if I could steal an ounce of your je ne sais quoi I would sneak off and bottle it and never let anyone near it except for me, who would be required a weekly sniff to remind me to take the stick out of my ass and lighten up. But not bathe. Bathing is highly overrated. As is makeup and pinchy shoes.

  11. Daisy

    Actually, science may have the answer for you: One of the winners of this year's <a href="http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/09/29/8002625-silly-science-prizes-highlight-beer-loving-bugs-pee-pressure">Ig Nobel Prizes</a> was a researcher who determined that the way to get procrastinators to get something done was <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-ProcrastinateStill/93959">if they could do it to avoid doing something more important</a>. So, clearly, you just need to set yourself a goal for something like curing cancer or managing the middle-east peace process, and the writing should be a cinch. Science!

    (Although, having read the article, it seems to have not so much useful advice, and more in the way of evidence that entering academia is just a way to avoid having a real job. What you really need to do it to hire my friend Tabitha, who has taken over the running of the MWA Norcal newsletter and is politely relentless about getting people to submit things on deadlines. She even got me to do stuff pretty much on time, and she only had to threaten to show up at my apartment one time.)

  12. Reine

    Cornelia, my new Goddess of Fun and Laughter, you have cured my weekend suckitude fest! I decided to get out of bed. Wish me luck. Here goes.

  13. Reine

    Oh, Zoë, you poor thing . . . Cadbury's is much too discriminating for those of us stuk in Ho-Ho land – not at all like the difference between M&Ms and Smarties.

  14. Sarah W

    CADBURY makes HO-HOS?

    Well, that's it, then. I have my ten reasons to visit the UK and I'm booking my flight. What rumors of HobNobs started, Cadbury minirolls have accomplished.

    Seriously, though, I'm so bad at transitions that I'm sitting here applauding this (brilliant and hilarious) post instead of writing (a less brilliant and far less funny) one of my own. Perhaps I'll just link to this one . . .

  15. Fran

    I love this post, I relate to this post, and I spent a long. . . .long. . .long time staring at this empty white box trying to think of something witty or tangentially interesting or empathetic to say.

    But no.

    Maybe later.

    (((hugs, Miss C!))) Virtual hugs. Because, y'know, standing up and all. . .

  16. lil Gluckstern

    I'm just laughing, you guys. Reine, what a great accomplishment! Cornelia, I can't wait for book 4, and, Zoe, does Cadbury's make anything that doesn't taste good? I'm on the list side, because I get distracted, and then, I um forget-never mind, I say it's an age thing. Wonderful posts…

  17. Cornelia Read

    Oh, JT–you're my hero! And you are AT LEAST nine and a half, in maturity. I can say that is the absolute truth because I'm somewhere around six, on a good day. And I'm so glad I made you laugh!! You're my hero….

    Daisy, can we RENT Tabitha? She sounds awe-inspiring. I will feed her Ho-Hos. And I'm liking the sound of that study. I'll just tell myself I need to do math homework, and I'm sure the book will write itself.

    Reine–congrats on getting out of bed! I just got back into mine. It's lovely.

    I'm with Sarah–CADBURY MAKES Ho-Hos? Why do we live in America? Clearly, we are all on the wrong continent. And Sarah, you and I will just have to write each other's books. That way we totally won't procrastinate. Genius, right?

    Ah, Fran… and horizontal procrastinatory hugs to you, my dear. And I'm so happy you liked it!

    lil, YOU are wonderful!!! I aspire to list-making. If only I could find a pen… and my brain…


Leave a Reply to lil Gluckstern Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *