having finally finished the new Murakami book, 1Q84 and The Book Thief (it's a slow start, but it gets good and it's begun the book exchangers route), i killed time before work the other day by wandering the B&N shelves. like i said, dangerous. not that i bought too much, but my library queue is now absurdly full.
i am a sucker for book recommendations. and what is the first floor of my Barnes and Nobel except one giant shelf of staff picks, reader picks, most popular, teen favorites, omg you haven't read this yet, you loser? picks.
without a working phone or a pen with which to right down all these book i simply-had-to-read-simultaneously-right-then i commited as many titles as i could to memory, and after work ran home and pulled up the Brooklyn Public Library page. Search. Click. Request. Yes! Search. Click. Request. Yes!
this means, in about a week, ten equally tempting books will be on my nightstand. at the moment, only two have come in, so before jumping into The Tiger's Wife (did you know that author is only 26?excuse me while i go kick something) and before all the haven't read/must read YA and awesome non-fiction (helloooo Moby-duck) gets to me, i'm starting with a book that is fun by it's very definition:
i've been curious about it for awhile, but more so since i've started watching 30 Rock and admiring how Tina Fey's mind works. (i know, i know, they have a stable of writers, but still, some of the things that come out of the actors mouths are just so bent, and it's her show, no? so she gets the credit). plus i knew she'd have a say on that whole "women aren't funny" thing, and i do love me a good strong heroine, so....
imagine having lunch with a good friend who became a famous actress, and the whole time she's jumping from one thought to another, throwing out famous names, giving good life lessons, and being seriously upfront about aging and beauty. both lunch and this book will only take you about an hour to get through. and with chapter titles like: I Don't Dare If You Like It (One in a series of love letters to Amy Poehler) you leave the meal feeling entirely satiated.
me being me, my favorite parts are the empowering ones. (i should just hang framed motivational kitten posters around my apartment and be done with it already.) so here's a little Monday morning Tina Fey for you. if you lived closer, i'd let you borrow the whole book, 'cause i'm almost done and about to get SLAMMED with Requested Materials.
ain't life grand?
"The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat*
The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, “freeze I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.
Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.
As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. “No, we can’t do that.” “No, that’s not in the budget.” “No, I will not hold your hand for a dollar. “ What kind of way is that to live?
The second rule of improvisation is not only say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “What did you expect? We’re in hell.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here, and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here, and you say, “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth,” now we’re getting somewhere.
To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.
The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” if we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers.
In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.”
MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements with your actions and your voice.
Instead of saying “Where are we?” make a statement like “Here we are in Spain, Dracula.” Okay, “Here we are in Spain, Dracula” may seem like a terrible start to a scene, but this leads to the best rule:
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities. If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what? Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a police hamster who’s been put on “hamster wheel” duty because I’m “too much of a loose cannon” in the field. In improve there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.
* Improv will not reduce belly fat."