First Drafts

In life, as in writing, I struggle to get out of the gate.

I overthink. I analyse into the ground. I act (or not) out of fear rather than confidence. I have no sense of adventure.

Which surprises some people.

I guess the truth is that I’m just excited when I get out of bed in the morning. I put on clothes and (some days) eat food. I make it through my day job without yelling or crying or killing anyone (a genuine concern at my workplace). To ask for more than this seems greedy (at best) or overwhelming (that’s more like it).

But I’m an overly privileged punk, so this year I’m asking more from life than just survival. (I’m asking for this, but I’m not telling myself yet–I don’t think I could handle it.)

Travel to Europe has been a close possibility several times in my life (once it came so close that one of my brothers genuinely believed I’d done it–we’re a close, communicative family). But each time, within days of buying tickets, plans have fallen through. I’ve chickened out. My health has acted up.

I’m frankly amazed that there are now tickets in my name.

To Paris.

For Five Weeks.

(With jaunt over to London and Oxford in the middle, just for kicks.)

Because I’m a greedy goober and want all or nothing and haven’t told myself that this is really happening because I won’t be able to handle it for at least a month after it’s already over.

But now the conversations I find myself having (with myself, obviously, who else do you think I’m going to talk to?) are about the importance of “just doing” things.

(Thank you, Nike, your slogan remains inspirational almost 30 years later. Don’t let them fool you, though, this time next year, your precious phrase will start to find age spots and grey streaks and no, they’re not trendy, they’re signs of death and decay. Time to move on to a younger model.)

“Just doing” usually looks different for me. It involves holding a pencil staring at a page drinking three times my body weight in caffeine until my right eye starts tweaking so bad I can’t make out my last sentence. Still. I’m a writer. That is “doing” for me.

This time the first draft looks different. It involves new languages and new coffee shops and new beds (!). Theoretically, though not terribly likely, if I let my focus slip and the words blur, I could die.

…just like every other day that I walk out my door and into another first draft…

Here goes.


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