Starting February 2nd 2017, I made a solemn vow to myself that I would write everyday.
There were very few guidelines other than, of course, that I had to write everyday. Some days this habit produced little more than a tricky word in Spanish, or what I had for breakfast. But on special planetary rotations, when even there was plenty else to do, a swooning literary goddess would surf into my consciousness upon a wave of Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate. With her, trailed a thousand tiny grammar fairies disguised as vocabulary words and punctuation marks.
The fairies kissed my neck and the goddess massaged my feet. We had a grand old time, scribbling stories together atop a melting glacier, or scrawling desperate prayers to God while sleeping alone at the bottom of a deserted riverbed.
Writing became my best friend, from an odd social standpoint, or at least I could call a most consistent receiver of expression.
I would write what I had for breakfast, often, and then go from there. Most days I would write down recaps, business ideas, recipes, contact info, directions, poems, interview notes, article notes, quotes, and sayings. But on those special days, I would sit down at a desk and write a hyperbolized or intensified version of something that actually happened to me while traveling. In whatever college-ruled notebook graced my backpack that month, these stories would span 8-12 pages and take me well over 5 hours.
One entry above all others caught my attention as a catalyst. It was in a hostel in Bariloche Argentina enjoying a little pit stop after living and working as an unpaid volunteer in El Bolsón for the two months previous.
The night before I crossed into Chile to begin a new job as a carpenter at the Chili Kiwi hostel in Pucón, I went on a bike ride with one of the wildest travelers I’ve, to this day, ever met. The morning after our bike ride, I began writing a hyperbolized story about what happened and didn’t stop for about 8 hours.
Finally, just as the hotel’s owner walked in with a 5 litre jug of port wine, I finished it. We drank the port and floated on down the street to where a vagabonding angel named Oliver “showed me the ropes” and provided an example of what it meant to be completely and totally beyond yourself. It was as if he showed me how to crack the concrete mold that had been encapsulating my personality, and I could finally “be myself” as the say.
Although seemingly melodramatic, the writing of that story followed by concrete smashing ceremony of port was the match that ignited a potentially perpetual fire inside my hear.
That is, only if I keep on writing, right?
Within a day of returning home from my 2017 GapQuest, on December 22nd, I began writing my first book. It is a 537 page absurdly altered account of what happened in South America that year, and I didn’t stop (except for one month – August – when I stopped to work on TNT Podcast) until December 22nd 2018, exactly one year after I began writing the thing.
All names were changed in this book and some stories never happened whatsoever, but it could certainly not be called pure fiction.
In fact, I have no idea where you would put it in a library. Perhaps that is becuse it does not belong in a library. Honestly, who tf knows?
I sure don’t, so it’s sitting on an external hard drive in a place that is probably too obvious, but still not yet totally obvious.
And this is where it will remain until I figure out what the hell to do with it.
That year, 2018, I wrote everyday. Then, for 2019 my intentions were to print all 537 pages of the first book and edit it by hand for 4-5 months living off the grid in the Peruvian Amazon. Which I attempted, but upon reading the first page, decided that the original version was a dry run, so I began writing an entirely new book.
The second book, I can say with honor, is all fiction so far. And it has been a much better time.
Will this second book be The One? For a while I thought it could be, and it still could, but I’ve told myself it could be another dry run, just to entertain the thought and reinforce my commitment to the writer’s life. Besides, it’s not even done. I’d say I’m about halfway, and I don’t personally know exactly what’s going to happen in the story.
Even then, intertwined character flashbacks and extracted concurrent scenes take the story in directions I never could have predicted everyday.
There she goes again, it’s the swooning literary goddess, swooning her swoon all over my notebook pages.
In all relationships there will be times of separation. Sometimes it’s forced and unpleasant, other times we’re just so fucking tired of each other that we just need to leave the countray and be thumbin’ bums for 11 months.
So for the last week (tomorrow will be 7 days) I took a break from writing to work on this podcast and read books.
It has been a breath of non-polluted air. (not to say writing air tastes like toxic smog). I have been able to read and ride my bike after work instead of writing EVERYDAY.
It has been a healthy break, and i may continue until the feeling and desire are there and some universal guiding manifestation of Love communicates that it is time to write again.
So I say YES, we writers are allowed to take a break… for a little while.