Everyone has nights where they lie awake thinking of every mistake they’ve ever made and cringing at the ceiling. I had one this weekend, thinking of something that happened when I was 15. It was 3am and Rational Brain — the part of me that should have said, “Look, Stephanie. That was 10 years ago. It might be time to let it go.” — had gone to bed at a reasonable hour, so it was just me and Crazy Brain hanging out in the dark, regretting everything.
Crazy Brain, as crazy brains are wont to do, decided that it was vitally important that I track down the journal I kept from ages 14 to 15 to find out what my teenage self had thought about the incident in question. Immediately.
Last weekend I finally finished the first draft of a thing I am physically incapable of talking about. Now it’s sitting in a folder on my computer, waiting for me to come back to it and give it the rewrite it desperately needs.
I say that because right now it is terrible, and I don’t mean that in an aw, shucks way. I mean that it might actually be pages and pages of random nouns and verbs strung together. The typing monkeys everyone is always talking about are probably producing an exact copy of it at this moment just by slamming their fists into the keyboard. I’m afraid to open The Folder because I’m worried I spent hours and hours of my life working on something and I could have produced the same result by jumbling up a dictionary.
I usually forget about No-Shave November until right around this time each year, when men start to seem fuzzier than usual and it’s not because my glasses are smudged. I typically don’t notice NaNoWriMo until around November 29 each year, either. I always think, “Hmm. I should write a book,” but then I remember that I don’t have any ideas, I lack even the motivation to create an account on the NaNoWriMo website, and writing is haaaaaaard. So I move on and forget about it for the next 365 days.
NaNoWriMo, for the cool kids out there, is a challenge designed to motivate people to write a novel in a month. It’s not a long month — November only hath 30 days, if you’ll recall that dumb rhyme. The good news is, it’s not a long novel, either — the goal is 50,000 words which is apparently the approximate length of “The Great Gatsby”
I really wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, and the only reason for this was that writing came easier to me than other subjects did. I wanted to be a writer because I didn’t want to try to learn anything else. Everyone does that, though. Kids who are good at art want to grow up to be artists, kids with a knack for science want to be scientists, and kids who like math want to be calculators.
When I was 14, I was crazy about my boyfriend, Josh. (Josh, incidentally, carved my name into his forearm with a compass point, so it’s safe to say that if he wasn’t crazy about me, he was at least crazy.) I was also pretty sure I hated him.