A month into the pandemic I felt excitement, energized by the specter of slowing down. With no commute I'd have time for writing, for reading. In a flurry of activity, I re-engaged with this blog concept, promising a friend I'd write about Bad Boys 4 Life, which was the perfect opportunity for me to lash out against a movie I was pretty sure I wouldn't like (Miami and grown men referring to each other as bro is a toxic combination). We went to the Warwick Drive-in for a movie in a year where it was clear we would get no movies. Saw The Invisible Man too, liked it, couldn't be bothered to write about it. There were essays I'd planned: drafts existing in the dust-bin of the ideal internet hosting solution for nobody's witness. Eugene asks who the audience is, appealing to a narcissism about writing that must exist. Why do it, otherwise?

Unfinished thoughts with workshopped titles tied to memories, like the time my sister got the giggles at church. Mom was in the hospital for a hip replacement, was it? I wrote a prayer request card. Please keep my mother in your thoughts, as she is sick in the hospital. Pastor Dennis later told the funny story of the anonymous prayer card to the congregation. How was I supposed to know God required named attribution? A personal request? My parents taught me that was gaudy. Or the time I was a best man at a dry wedding in Antigo, Wisconsin. I was a terrible best man, a bad pick for it just because of my personality, my nerves. It's the same reason I make bad first impressions. Generally not a social animal.

So the writing languished, lingered at the back of my thoughts. The technology frustrates always: I want footnotes, and have the skills to implement it. I want mutiple columns--a trivial task. Different layouts of stories, so that it has the feeling of a page in a magazine instead of a list of parts. These things will come. In the meantime: I will try to put words. Not words for anybody. The original impetus of the blog when I wrote about Beaches in that Park Slope apartment of Eugene's some 14 years ago was that I would write and finish things. I had too much in the drafts folder. And going back to it is overwhelming: you want to tinker with everything, instead of finishing something and moving on. An apprehension about putting something out to no one. That's an existential creative case of constipation.

And yet, the year passed on by. Disappearing into a whoosh of work bleeding into every hour of the day. I stopped writing on Sundays, wrote less even but for a stint in the summer where I hopped on a 1000-words-a-day train led by Jami Attenberg. It was successful: I wrote bits and pieces of the last story of the short collection I've been tinkering with since 2012. Eight years on eight stories, mostly just writing on Sundays and then A Void for 2020.

It's close.