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Writing About My Gremlin and Listening to Him Taunt Me at the Same Time

Gremmie loves Xbox and cookies — and I love keeping him busy.

Robin Finn
Jan 25 · 3 min read

I am working on a new book. In it, I am writing about the joy of unfettered self-expression and how that can transform a person’s life. Right now, I am at the part about the gremlin voices that shut writers down. I am specifically referring to gremlin voices that say things about how we are too small and not enough and no one cares and why should I write this and blah blah blah.

The strange thing is, as I am writing this section, I am also listening to my gremlin bombard me with reasons why I should hang up my pen and forget writing this dumb book. In short, I am having a meta moment. I looked up “meta,” and this is what I found:

Meta, noun, short for meta key.

adjective, (of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential. Ex: “The enterprise is inherently “meta,” since it doesn’t review movies, for example, it reviews the reviewers who review movies.”

The thing is, or, more precisely, the “meta” thing is, that while I am pouring out all the hard-earned insights I’ve gained from my years practicing spiritual psychology, and the years spent working with women, and the years spent writing, I am also — at the very same time — listening to my gremlin say, Why are you writing this? and This is so stupid and Give up and No one cares.

It is funny to be writing about gremlin voices and hearing them at the same time.

I have never been a believer in “killing” the gremlin because, number one: I don’t think it is possible, and number two: I believe the gremlin has a job to do. Re-assigning him and revising the stupid things he says and giving him stuff to do while I write is more effective and attuned for me than trying to kill him off. Plus, we have a weird love-hate relationship.

My gremlin, I call him Gremmie, looks like a muppet with a mop of blue fuzzy hair and a gold tooth. He is very spazzy and moves fast and makes faces and when he is mad and likes to play the kazoo. I don’t know why he is always sabotaging me or trying to but I don’t think about it because it’s a mind tunnel from which I will never emerge.

What I do know is this: When I give my gremlin a cookie and let him play Xbox, he doesn’t disturb me for hours on end. That is what Gremmie likes to do: eat chocolate chip cookies and play Xbox. I talk more about him and our strangely warm relationship in my forthcoming book.

Gremmie loves attention. He loves when I write about him. I have noticed that when I am writing about our relationship, he remains strangely quiet and happy, with cookie crumbs all over his face. So now, right now, I am handing him the Xbox controller and setting a large white plate filled with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in front of him. And, in the meantime, I will write.

Sleepless in the San Fernando Valley

By Robin Finn — She’s sweaty.

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Robin Finn

Written by

Founder: Heart.Soul.Pen.® for women writers & the Women’s Writing Den. Essays: @NYTimes @WashPo @LATimes @BuzzFeed. Author: “Restless in L.A.” www.robinfinn.com

Sleepless in the San Fernando Valley

By Robin Finn — She’s sweaty. She has to pee. She has teenagers. No wonder she can’t sleep.(Photo: Steven Pahel/Unsplash)

Robin Finn

Written by

Founder: Heart.Soul.Pen.® for women writers & the Women’s Writing Den. Essays: @NYTimes @WashPo @LATimes @BuzzFeed. Author: “Restless in L.A.” www.robinfinn.com

Sleepless in the San Fernando Valley

By Robin Finn — She’s sweaty. She has to pee. She has teenagers. No wonder she can’t sleep.(Photo: Steven Pahel/Unsplash)

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