Last week I ran into an acquaintance of mine — at a bar, because, yeah — and ended up drinking with him and two of his friends for a few hours. He’s a writer, and a good one: he’s published two books, one of nonfiction and one of poetry, has been included in a couple of collections in the lovely company of people like Jamaica Kincaid, John Edgar Wideman, and Lee Gutkind, and has written for publications like Pittsburgh Magazine, McSweeney’s, Mental Floss, and more. We drank, considerably, and had wonderful and wide-ranging conversation. At some point, we decided to each send around 10,000 words this coming Tuesday, and we’ll meet back up a week later to talk about what we’ve written.
The following morning I had a variety of thoughts as I walked to work:
1. Did I just network?
2. Holy shit I have to write another 4,000 in the next week. (I had, unfortunately, overestimated how much I had of this particular piece when all was typed up and collected.)
3. Was I really the only person at that table under 30?
4. What if my 10,000 words really, really suck?
5. If I don’t do this I’m gonna hate myself.
So there it is. I still have another couple thousand words to write in the next four days — though thankfully I have Monday and Tuesday off from work — but I am taking a proactive step and that feels good. Of course at this very moment I’m sitting and writing about this as opposed to actually writing, but it seems inevitable that I put everything off till the true deadline. It’s kind of my style.
If nothing else, I got two free books out of the evening. Both of the guys who will be reading with me have published novels and gave me copies. Christ what have I gotten myself into.