I work north of Boston in that pocket of New England that keeps getting blasted with snow this season. I know I shouldn’t complain—I live in New Hampshire after all—but the snow banks have far surpassed my height, making me even more stir crazy than usual. Even now as I write, snow is lightly falling outside my window. While I will readily admit that my state looks breathtaking blanketed in white, she is getting a bit narcissistic at this point. So for those of you who need a good laugh during these dark days of winter, I highly suggest Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).
I rarely watched The Office and I’ve seen one episode of The Mindy Project, but for some reason I was drawn to this clever and quirky actress. She is relatable and down-to-earth, a self-made woman who details her rise to fame in this book. What I love most about her book though is her identification as a writer. In fact, one chapter called “How I Write,” which I share with students, is entirely devoted to her process. She writes:
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? (Kaling 143).
While that doesn’t mirror my own writing process exactly and it certainly isn’t a method to aspire to, I know there are days when I sit refreshing Pinterest for inspiration. I imagine our students can relate as well.
In the end, readers will have a good chuckle given Kaling’s eclectic chapters that bounce around to different topics. Her energy and humor are just enough to brighten even the snowiest of days.