Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling


Kaling says something quite valuable about the creative process and taking control: when she and her friend Brenda are working on Matt & Ben, which eventually became a breakout hit at the Fringe Festival, they let it grow organically out of their own bits. "Bits are essentially 'nonsense time,'" she writes, "or, to describe it more pejoratively, 'fucking around.'" They publicized the play on their own, and they sunk their time and effort into it because it was, at its base, fun. "We had no idea what we were doing, but we had a purpose after two years of living in New York and not having on. Matt & Ben was a respite from helplessness."

It's odd, how just focusing your efforts on something like that can grow into such a big thing. A friend and I recently collaborated to put together a literary salon, and it had much the same effect: we produced a book and got together a group of artists to share something, and even if there was a chance that no one would care or nothing would come of it, it was a great way to spend a few months -- and it forced us, as well as our friends, to hone writing we'd been sitting on for a long time, to take a chance and put our work out into the world.