stressed, overwhelmed + swamped really translate to “afraid”

Things are about to get ugly. Literally. Pardon me while I squeeze the excess from my site and do some remodeling. “Spare” won’t be reserved for my “Spare & A Pair” dating advice, but will be the temporary adjective used to describe this site. Clusterfcuk will be the second descriptor. Thank you for your feedback, and if there’s anything else you’d like changed ‘round here, speak now, or forever hold your—that’s a lie. You can always tell me. Because I’m good like that when it comes to requests and criticism. I think I inherited the need to please from my mother. That and cellulite. Beggars can’t be choosers.

I’m sorry my damn site is misbehaving and taking forever to load. If I try to fix it, I’ll not only break it, but I’ll spend all day breaking it. Every last moment. Short of that, I’d like to remind people that my site is not If you still have or, it’s time to update your bookmarks, links, and favorites to this sparkling fine address: (which is the fastest way to get here without a redirect). I am trying to strip things down. In the meanwhile, thank you for being patient. Which is more than I can say for myself. If patience had a general crotch area, I’d kick it.

I’m anxious. I feel overwhelmed and avoidant at the same time. When we say we’re overwhelmed or stressed, what we’re really saying is that we’re afraid. Afraid we’ll drop something, then lose it, ruin it, disappoint people, ourselves. And maybe that’s all true. Maybe all of that will happen. Everything I’ve wanted goes away. Then what? What am I afraid of? I’m afraid of not knowing what to do, of not having a clear path or answer. And all I can really do is sit with it, and ride it out. Which is far from productive. That’s the point, really. You can’t to-do list your way through it. The “not knowing” and being okay with it is where I’m supposed to be. It’s the only way you can actually get through it. Why does this feel like such an angst-ridden mess? Because it is. Don’t worry, you can do it. You survived adolescence.

I’m hiding behind errands (buy gold flats, ratty tees, more jewelry cleaner, a rhinestone to replace the missing one on leather clutch), returns (the shoes that rip the skin off my feet), and trivial research (hmm, I need a point and shoot, so which point and shoot do professionals use? Answer: Leica D-Lux 4 or 5). But in truth I’m worried about giving a speech for an hour. Don’t get me wrong; I know I can talk about myself for an hour (if I must limit it to only that). But when you give a talk you don’t want to be all over the place. You want to inspire, for people to walk away with actionable items on their own to-do lists. You want to give of yourself, to teach and share, and all the while delight, make people laugh, be relevant, and relatable. I know I just need to sit down and plan it out. But I’m still avoiding it.

I have been living this next book, but I haven’t started the proposal. What is that about? I worry that there’s not enough of a story, a depth, a deeper discovery, a reveal. I don’t want to ever write a book that’s just funny for funny sake. There has to be depth to it, self-discovery. I’m struggling with what the scenes will be when it becomes a film. I’m also wondering where the “juicy” is. With Straight Up and Dirty, there were parts, while reading, where you almost couldn’t breathe. There was abuse and such raw emotion in Moose, angst and pain a la John Hughes. I struggle with finding what marks this next memoir as “Holy shit, I can’t put this down.” Maybe I should stop analyzing and just keep going and going, write through it and see where it all nets out.

My lawyer, agents and manager are closing a TV development deal. I know once that work begins I’ll create the pressure to perform, to get it all done. We live this life just once. And I don’t know if I’ve stopped to ask myself what I really want to do, or if I’ve been stopped for so long that I’m over thinking things and stalling out. Plus, all I want to do is comfort myself with truffles (the non fungus kind). Thank goodness for my escape to Vegas tomorrow. Then back here for 2 days, giving the closing keynote, then off to New York for a good long stretch, then to Savannah, GA and SCAD! for the film festival. Well, thank God for escapism in movies! I think whatever it is I do next, it ought to involve my obsession with food, feelings, and film.



  1. So glad to read that you are doing some website changes and streamlining it. I have been a fan for many years, and would love to see something simpler that loads faster. I come here for the stories you write, and I don’t visit as often as I used to because it’s gotten a lot more time-consuming to load the pages and sort through the graphics in order to get to the stories.

  2. You don’t buy ratty tees; they evolve. I’ve been finding the site somewhat crowded, and I am confused by old posts appearing where one expects new posts. I also don’t get the occasional square of 4 different clickables — are they past, present, what? You sure have a lot coming up! In fact, just reading it made me feel like I’ve gotten something done tonight. *whew* I’m going to bed.

  3. Here’s the plan for a one-hour talk. Spend 15 minutes telling them what you’re going to tell them; spend 30 minutes telling them; the spend 15 minutes telling them what you told them. It sounds sort of condesending but it gets your topic across well. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll be very entertaining.

  4. It’s one of the hardest things in life – I think – believing that you’re relevant, important, worthy. But, Stephanie, you are. Fact is – you’re more amazing than anyone else at this moment, because you are doing what you’re doing. It’s all about you, you are fantastic and you will do an amazing job. Courage and strength.

  5. The dated “previous entries” on your home page seem fairly straightfwd–since they’re organized chronologically. I ran into trouble figuring out what the top square was (new? old? how did you pick it?) and then that right hand column was really busy.

    I’m not sure you need 4 prior posts on home page, but it was helpful to have them on days I missed a few.So I could see that I had.

    Seems like putting some of that stuff from right hand col. into clickable links organized by category would be helpful.

    I like your photos and also the typefaces. But it can get really cluttered fast. I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Good luck!

  6. You asked, here goes my two cents on the blog (I’ve been reading since 05): the header pic should be updated, less clutter and more involvement. If you don’t answer comments other than dispense advice, people visit less often.

    As always I appreciate your honesty, it’s nice to know that even successful writers (those who can make a living at it) experience feelings of self-doubt. Step outside yourself for a moment and view yourself as an outsider (she’s got it all). I’m sure once you are in the moment, you’ll be witty and on point. Good luck.

  7. This maybe out there but how about how you and your style of eating, party planning and cooking have evolved from your first marriage to the Straight Up and Dirty days until now? I have a strange suspicion that’s been quite a journey including the birth of the beans. I know my newlywed carryout even changed when I was trying to feed the monsters somewhat healthier stuff. It’s a messed up culinary road … especially when one loves to eat!!!

  8. Point and shoot? Canon G11—I started with the g7 a few years ago and have finally replaced it. Great glass lens, exc zoom, it’s a very smart camera with a relatively tiny price. My big camera is a Nikon d90 and I still love it….but I carry the G11 on most o’seas trips and am very happy with it. Nikon just hasn’t figured out p/s, and when I got my first Canon the Leica wasn’t out yet. It’s gorgeous, but I’m not sure I’ll buy up.

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