Don’t Forget the Confetti

The Snark Zone:Letters from the Editors
Theryn “Beaver” Fleming

Confetti Cake
Photo Credit: Theryn Fleming

Celebrate (verb): to observe a notable occasion with festivities

This issue, I could have chosen to write about writers who bully readers who aren’t sycophants, those who feel compelled to rebut reviews, or those who just take matters into their own hands and write their own. So much material! Perhaps next time. This time, I’m going to press pause on the snark.

As I was mulling over potential topics, my eyes drifted over to my calendar and I saw a reminder I’d added at the beginning of the year, when I realized I had three ten-year milestones coming up in 2012.

The first was in April, my ten-year runniversary, which I celebrated by… going for a run. The second, which is this week, is my anniversary of going back to school. I’m celebrating that one by writing this editorial and setting myself the goal of being done by the time eleven rolls around. (Ok, now I’ve probably jinxed myself.) And the third is my ten-year blogiversary, which is coming up in October.

I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated my blog’s anniversary. But ten years, that seems worth celebrating. Especially when I see bloggers celebrating 4, 5, 6 years all the time (and inevitably claiming to be old-timers). I’ll probably celebrate by posting and linking to my (incredibly unexciting, yet somehow very revealing) first post. Ten years later, it’s all pretty much true: I’m still a procrastinator, I still futz with aesthetics when I should be writing, and I think I still have one regular reader (though it’s a different one now).

I never did get comfortable with blogging about myself, though I did try in the early years. In year three, I found my niche when I started keeping track of the books I was reading. That led to a reboot and the evolution of my blog into a commonplace book. I know it’s not really of interest to anyone but me, and I’m ok with that. It’s not only the longest I’ve ever journaled consistently, which is a success in itself, but every time I’m writing and I go to my blog to find a quote or refer to a book post, I think: woot! That’s why I keep at it.

Intellectually, I recognize these milestones as achievements. Emotionally, I have a tendency to downplay things, be they positive or negative. Okay, so it’s more than a tendency. You could say I don’t do drama. Which is, you know, kinda weird when you’re on the internet all the time, because it’s simply at odds with how the internet is. The interwebs loves the dramz.

It’s easy to get distracted by individuals who insist on creating drama where none exists (yes, I’m looking at you, writer going berserk over a one-star review) but what interests me more is watching the real dramas of everyday life play out online.

As I scroll through my feed reader or thumb through Twitter, I frequently run across people exploding with happiness and occasionally, crumbling with grief. I see people go all out to mark every occasion, the good, the bad, the big life events—birthdays, graduations, weddings—and all the smaller moments in-between. Things like typing “the end,” acceptances, signing book contracts, book launches and the like.

I remember once telling someone about Toasted Cheese and her asking if we had launch parties for the new issues. The question made perfect sense—print journals traditionally celebrate each new issue with a party. But honestly, until she said it, it hadn’t really occurred to me. I currently celebrate by sleeping in the day after a new issue goes up. While I’m sure I could make a convincing argument to my fellow introverts that sleeping in beats a party (some of the time), it’s not exactly a celebration.

In the past year or so, I have, amongst other things: run a half-marathon personal best, completed my comprehensive exams, written (and revised) my PhD research proposal, said goodbye to my fuzzy buddy, put out another year of Toasted Cheese—and learned how to be alone. And yet, I can’t remember the last time I did something extraordinary—something beyond picking up something nice for dinner—to mark an occasion.

I keep doing things, but it’s like I’m on a treadmill. I make note of the achievement, but I never pause to celebrate, it’s just right on to the next thing. I looked at everyone else’s celebrations and decided I needed a reward—before I launch into my dissertation.

Two weeks ago, I took a mini-vacation and stayed in a fancy-pants hotel. I booked the room through a site that offers discounts by not revealing the name of the hotel until you’ve paid. As I was choosing my mystery hotel, I noticed I was kind of excited—and not about the savings. I was thrilled about the surprise. Finding out the name of the hotel was like unwrapping a present when you genuinely don’t know what’s inside, but you know it’s going to be good. I loved it.

And that was when I realized just how much I need more festivities in my life.

Most writing-related advice focuses on getting to various goal points in the writing process. There’s not a lot of advice about what to do once you’ve accomplished a goal—except move on to the next one. Perhaps that’s because most people don’t need to be told to celebrate their accomplishments. But if you’re anything like me, here’s a reminder: don’t forget the confetti. Take the time to celebrate.

Maybe we do need to have Toasted Cheese launch parties. Hmm…


Email: beaver[at]

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