[Originally posted on July 29, 2012. This post was very popular thanks to the amazing group of creatives known collectively as OK Go. They were kind enough to tweet and Facebook this to their fans, and they completely made my day. Okay, they made my month. I credit a lot of good in my life to the power of their music. Also? they are very, very good to their fans. BUY THEIR ALBUMS, SEE THEM ON TOUR! They are good people.]
About a year and a half ago, I went on an OK Go video-watching binge on YouTube because I really, really love them and their stuff makes me happy. On this particular night, I watched “A Million Ways” and “Here it Goes Again.” I have watched both of these videos many times without incident, but on this particular occasion I developed an itch in my brain. It occurred to me that wonderful things are created when you allow your mind to wander outside of the expectations and the “shoulds” that are imposed on you. Rock bands don’t dance; they definitely aren’t supposed to incorporate West Side Story moves or twirl each other around in their videos. OK Go made these fun videos despite all the shoulds and shouldn’ts, and you can argue their success is found in their commitment to defying convention and following crazy ideas down the rabbit hole. After watching these videos on this night, I finally got it: Let go. Make something. Just start with one thing.
At the time, I struggled with my first love, music. Over the years, I made it mean too much to me and the piano became a stranger. Art? I felt so out of practice, and was afraid to see what years of typing did to my ability to draw. I decided to give writing a shot, so I tried writing a novel. 31,846 words later, I realized my story sucked. On the positive side, the story allowed me to dive into a really weird and dark part of my personality and I got to handcuff myself to a chair in the name of research.
On the negative side, once again, Anne-Marie started a project she couldn’t finish. It was like that Origami kit stuffed in my office closet, or paper quilling, or trying to learn the cello, or the million songs I have in Garage Band I just can’t figure out an ending to. I wanted to actually finish something for once. I also wanted to brush up my writing skills. That itch still needed to be scratched. So? I created The Menacing Kitten.
One year later, I am still here and I confirmed what I suspected about the Itch: once you let go and try, wonderful things start happening all over the place. In the year I started this site, I:
- Bought a guitar and wrote a couple of songs
- Bought a graphics tablet and drew a pegacorn (as seen above, and yes, I’m re-posting it just to see the disgruntled look on my husband’s face)
- Made an afghan
- Made a bunch of hats and scarves that I donated to a homeless shelter (I kept a couple for myself so I could look all hipster chic on the three nights a year it isn’t sweltering hot in the desert)
- Made an ass of myself promoting my site by singing a song on a phone line set up by OK Go for one of their band member’s birthdays. On the plus side, as a result of my mortification, I created Business Rule Number One for The Menacing Kitten: “If it feels dirty, it’s not worth it.”
- Got something published on one of my favorite web sites (and I heard from a bunch of amazing people as a result)
- Started to write about stuff I never had the courage to write about before
- Started playing piano again
- Wrote more songs
- Wrote over 70 posts for this web site (and kept a set schedule!)
- Began another novel and it might suck less than the other one
- Finished my Woman Cave
- Started an international cooking club (and discovered I make a killer ribollita and chicken mole)
- Opened my site up to submissions
- Joined Instagram with the goal of taking at least one photo a day with my iPhone of something I think is beautiful (@themenacingkitten, if you’re nasty)
- Did all this while being promoted to senior management at my full-time job
So one year later, thanks to a video of four guys who aren’t afraid to do this:
I’m getting back in touch with a part of me I thought died years ago in the dusty corner of an office cubicle. To date, I have made $0 from my site (I haven’t crossed the Amazon threshold for cutting a check yet, but I guarantee you I’ll post a picture of my first deposit), I have a modest number of people visiting my site (and I love every single one of you – even you, Person Who Found My Site by Searching “how does a virgin poussy look like” [sic and, sick]), yet because of this site, I have so many ideas swirling around in my head. I’ve learned to let go and make things. My hope is to one day create something so beautiful it will bring you to tears. Maybe that’s for next year’s post.
And to the person who found my site searching for “peak elevation of the hike between monterosso and vernazza?” I am so sorry you found a story about me taking a massive poop in a quaint Italian village.