A Different Color Refrigerator

When a former colleague and I disagreed about something, she would always say “that’s why they make different color refrigerators.” Which is funny, but true. If we all thought alike, or approached life the same way, it would be a very uniform world view, and we would all have monotone appliances.

I love that I usually blog the day after Deborah Lee Luskin. Though we have some similarities (we are both writing novels, for example), we have a number of differences as well. She lives in the country, I live in the city. She writes literary, I write genre. But I really started thinking about our different lives when I read her post at the end of May, “Be Boring”.

northstar retro refrigerators1It was after a particularly busy week when I was out every night to an award shows (the Norton awards), a Crime Bake meeting (I am the c0-chair this year), a theater show opening, dinner with friends I haven’t seen for a while, and a trip to the Cape for a mini-writing retreat. I was exhausted, and thinking a lot about my life choices. And while I appreciate the idea behind the rule, but my life doesn’t work that way. In a world where leaning in is encouraged, and at a place in my career where I can make a difference by taking on another challenge, not taking on too much is very, very difficult.

And aside from that, boring is not the word I ever want used to describe me. (Nor would I use it to describe Deborah.) Balanced. Peaceful. But boring? Please remember that I work in the arts. I have spent my thirty year career breaking out of an introverted shell into this place I am now.

In thinking about that post, and rereading it again, I realize I am getting stuck on the word, and missing the message. In order to live a creative life, there are many paths. If you ask a dozen people about their path, you will get a dozen different answers. My path is not boring. Sometimes it is too not boring for productivity. “Be balanced” is the rule I would set out for my creative endeavors, and what I am working on this summer.

Balanced or boring? This is why they make different color refrigerators.

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Julie Hennrikus (aka J.A. Hennrikus and Julianne Holmes) is two weeks closer to her deadline, and writing every day.

15 thoughts on “A Different Color Refrigerator

  1. I’ve heard you mention this “many color refrigerator” mantra on occasion, but this is the first time I’ve heard it in the context of writing–and it’s so apt! It’s so curious the way we get caught up on words like “boring.” A friend of mine had a similar reaction when I shared Deborah’s post. He liked the sentiment but not the idea of a “boring” life. He substituted “purposeful,” which I like. And isn’t that what writers do? Share words, but adapt them to our own (genre, literary, poetic) purposes?

    Personally, I like that sage green refrigerator (and I suspect you might be partial to the red!)

  2. What a great saying.
    I love the question you and Deborah have raised through your complementary posts, and I think that “balance” is an excellent answer.

    I confess that I sometimes get caught up in the writer stereotypes. From the attic-bound recluse to the world-traveling vagabond, we writers certainly do have a lot of stereotypes to choose from, don’t we? The funny thing is, you don’t have to be a Hemingway or JD Salinger – neither extrovert nor introvert, social butterfly or painfully shy. The breadth of our “stereotype” options is so broad that you can hardly call it a stereotype.

    I have times when I want to squirrel away with my books and my writing. I have other times when I want to head out on the town with friends, attend conferences, and generally drink in all life has to offer. Although these wildly varied tendencies might make me look a little schizophrenic on the outside, they make perfect sense to me because they mirror the ebb and flow of my creative process.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about working with what you’ve got. Sometimes that requires solitude and sometimes it requires a party. How fun that we get to have both! 🙂

  3. Is it possible for an introverted person to become an extrovert? I am an introvert and try to live a balanced life which to some may seem boring but to me it’s not? At times to me I feel impersonal in doing the things I do and therefore wonder, “Is there hope for an introvert to become an extrovert?”

  4. Pingback: Resistance | Live to Write - Write to Live

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