Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too Virtuous for My Own Good?

by Gigi Pandian

Much to my dismay, I'm awful at having vices.

How cool would it be to sit in a candle-lit study with a cigarette and a glass of whiskey while typing away at a novel? Yes, very cool.

Alas, I tried smoking in college and hated it. More recently, I gave up alcohol during chemotherapy treatments, and found I didn't miss it one bit. What kind of tortured artist am I?

Gigi with a cup of strong coffee. Bliss.
Sure, I've got my coffee. But does that even count as a vice? Lots of studies show coffee is good for you.

One of my biggest fears about being a writer has always been that I don't possess enough angst to write meaningful stories. At first I thought cancer would solve this problem. Instead, it turned out that even in a supposed crisis, I don't freak out.

But I realized something else while going through cancer treatments. The books I was devouring weren't deep explorations of disease or crime or the human condition. I didn't want an excuse to cry. I wanted to be carried away on adventures that would inspire me to take my own. I was picking up lighthearted mysteries with a heavy dose of adventure -- the stuff I like to write.

So perhaps it's not so bad that I wrote some kick-ass pages last weekend while eating a kale salad instead of with a cigarette dangling from my lip.

10 comments:

Toni in Florida said...

Cigarettes? I'd puke. Alcohol? I'd get a 3-week migraine. Coffee? It's a lying seducer that leaves you jittery with a bad taste in your mouth and an utter sense of disillusionment that something that smelled so warm and delicious while brewing could do you like that.

But KALE? That's one vice I'm pretty sure I can avoid.

Rachael Herron said...

But Toni, what if it's fried kale? Yummmm.... Gigi, if I ever go to jail, I want you to be someone who picks me up, please.

Lee Lopez said...

Kale is a good thing, look at this way, cig would stink up your house or den.I love the idea of being a Dashiell Hammett pounding out a book on a old type writer, in a crowded bar, smoking and drinking, still able to write. So cool.

Sophie Littlefield said...

ha! I adore this about you, gigi :) but what i adore even more is that you tolerate all of us vice-ridden types with no apparent judgment at all

L.G.C. Smith said...

Kale. I love it. Not kidding. Sadly. The antidote to finding most vices unappealing is to make the most of the ones you do have. For example, I've parlayed a super-efficient metabolism and a fondness for carbs into being really fat, which then allows me to co-opt the vices traditionally attributed to fat people (gluttony, greed, sloth) without actually having to indulge them (much). Granted, this isn't as sexy as smoking things while swilling single malt whiskey and sleeping with the wrong kinds of men. I have to work within my limitations. Hail kale.

Lisa Hughey said...

Yes!! :) Something we all forget, there is room for both angsty and light-hearted novels. We are in the business of entertaining people. I think liking Kale could be considered a rather nasty vice ;)

Gigi Pandian said...

Seriously, people, the next time you're planning on coming to San Francisco I'll tell you where you can get the most mouthwatering kale salad imaginable!

Time to hang my head and return to my cigarette-free study now...

Juliet Blackwell said...

Gigi, I agree with what Sophie said above-- though you are one of my least-vice-ridden friends, you manage to escape the curse of the virtuous: obnoxiousness. YOu are so non-judgmental and open that one can easily forget you are without many vices, yourself!

Lisa Hughey said...

Love my Neti. I don't need it all that often anymore but last fall I had the man-child use it when he had a cold he couldn't get rid of. ONE time and within days the cold was gone. :)

Those ancient Indians knew what the hell they were doing. :)

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