|I Love Mindy Kaling (Screenshot/YouTube)|
Mindy Kaling, with her fine feminine fashion and farce, is my newest celebrity girl crush. And I'm quite confident she's going to reign with that title for a very long time. I first fell in love with her as Kelly Kapoor on The Office, but it wasn't until The Mindy Project caught my attention that my enjoyment of Kaling surged into the burgeoning desire to make her my BFF. Hey, she's practically my neighbor AND we kinda-sorta chatted on the phone this one time. With Instagram as my guide, I could potentially track her down and make her mine. But don't worry, Mindy. I won't do that. I'm too busy blogging about you. (I know she'll read this.)
My big friendship plans finally swelled into full-on love and adoration after one of my lady loves, likely equally as smitten as I, lent me Kaling's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). She nailed it for me on so many levels, starting with the title. I had this exact fear growing up in York, PA, a place where activities are scarce and imaginations bubble over to avoid boredom, and those smart enough escape becoming racist homophobes.
As I turned the pages, I could hardly contain my delight upon reading the perfectly titled first chapter, "Chubby For Life." Hello, Mindy? Are you inside my head? Hardly, as I am nowhere near as funny (though I was voted Class Clown twice in middle and high school) and clever (I made Honor Roll; I had a privilege pass; I made Dean's List every semester but one; I missed summa cum laude by a point.) as she. But seriously. This is the story of my life. I have been struggling with my stomach rolls for as long as I can remember, and as I approach my thirties and the pressures of parenting, the likelihood of me weighing what my driver's license claims I weigh seems more and more unlikely. But I'm okay with that. And so is Kaling. She's so beautifully confident as a healthy woman gracing the spotlight. For that, I admire her beyond words. If you want clear out a communal space and get a sweet ab workout, you should read this chapter somewhere public, like the TOMS flagship store in Venice. That's what I did, and I couldn't help but notice the distracted bodies shifting as my cackles increased.
Aside from this first chapter, another section of the read really resonated with me, so much so that, as I'd done with many portions of the book, I excitedly read it aloud to my boyfriend, knowing he'd get it and we'd laugh together until we cried. That didn't happen. But I'm confident that other writers will. He's not a writer. He's an aerospace engineer. What does he do? I have no fucking clue. I like to think he's an astronaut of some sort. The "How I Write" chapter sings to my daily blogging routine. Because I just love typing so much, I'm going to clickety-clack up almost the whole chapter shortly, but this section in particular really killed me. Under a photo of Mindy fondling her laptop while sitting in bed, she writes:
As you can see, when I write, I like to look like I'm recovering from tuberculosis. I sit in bed, my laptop resting on a blanket or a Notre Dame sweatshirt on my lap. I got the sweatshirt when I was there doing stand-up in 2006. (Where I bombed, by the way. Those kids hated me and my long, matronly rants against low-rise jeans. I did a three-college comedy tour with my Office costar Craig Robinson, who is hilarious, and a pro at performing at colleges. He plays the piano in his act, incorporating medleys of hit pop songs and then does a rendition of an original song he wrote called "Take Your Panties Off." I don't need to tell you that it's very funny and all the college kids wished he'd partnered up with a different Office cast member.)
The blanket/sweatshirt keeps the laptop from getting too hot and radiating my ovaries, which everyone knows makes your children come out with ADD. I almost always write alone in my house. I never have music on, because I can't concentrate with Nelly Furtado remixes thumping, and, unfortunately, I have only dance music on my iPod, which is how I got to be such a great dancer.
She kills me. Writing friends, I know you can identify. What's my writing setup like? My appearance is slovenly, and I barely try to get it together enough to not horrify my neighbors while walking my dog, Bodhi. I spread my office throughout the entire condo, moving from the bed to the kitchen table to the couch to my favorite spot: the patio. And I do this all in silence, alone (except for Bodhi), with the company of my laptop—just like Kaling. I also added a few more writing habits to my "Things Mindy Kaling & I Have In Common List," per the rest of the chapter included below, like her Internet ADD, penchant for snacks and extreme procrastination skills. Of course, I'm only referring to my personal blog, which I continue to neglect with great guilt. As a blogger, I am unable to procrastinate. It's impossible. Fellow bloggers, you know exactly what I mean.
The main reason why I enjoy working on a writing staff is because of the social nature of the job. To put it kindly, I am a very talkative, social person. To put it less kindly, I'm a flibbertigibbet, which is what my frenemy Rainn Wilson calls me. It's always been incredibly challenging for me to put pen to page, because writing, at its heart, is a solitary pursuit, designed to make people depressoids, drug addicts, misanthropes, and antisocial weirdos (see every successful writer ever except Judy Blume). I also have a nice office at work, but I use it primarily as a messy closet.
The Internet also makes it extraordinarily difficult for me to focus. One small break to look up exactly how almond milk is made, and four hours later I'm reading about the Donner Party and texting all my friends: DID YOU GUYS KNOW ABOUT THE DONNER PARTY AND HOW MESSED UP THAT WAS? TEXT ME BACK SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT!
I've found my productive-writing-to-screwing-around ratio to be one to seven. So, for every eight-hour day of writing, there is only one good productive hour of work being done. The other seven hours are preparing for writing: pacing around the house, collapsing cardboard boxes for recycling, reading the DVD extras pamphlet from the BBC Pride & Prejudice, getting snacks lined up for writing, and YouTubing toddlers who learned the "Single Ladies" dance. I know. Isn't that horrible? So, basically, writing this piece took me the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy it accordingly.
I will, with great reluctance, be returning the book to my friend tomorrow, but I plan to purchase my own copy to read whenever I need a stomachache. And did I mention Kaling's second book is in the works? Hell. Yes.