A hot bath, low lighting, a mug of tea, and Joni Mitchell crooning about clouds behind the swish and trickle of water.

These are the things that clear the head and soothe the heart. I feel it is time for a writing session. Wish me luck.


I have decided to create an “About the Author” blurb designed to go on the back flap of a book’s dust jacket. It will contain a sophisticated yet laid back portrait (because all best author blurbs do) and will describe where I will be, ideally, in twenty years. Where I live, whom I live with, how many books have made the National Bestsellers’ List.

I will then hang it on the wall by my desk, like the proverbial carrot dangled at the end of a string used to keep a pack mule moving forward.


There is a boy who works with me. He’s short and skinny and quiet. He always smiles at me. I smile back, trying to look at him as simply a human being, but my Inner Writer is busy transforming him into something more interesting. I can’t decide if he is actually a mass murderer, a sorcerer, or a brilliant young drug lord.


Life will never surprise a writer. This is because no matter what happens in their futures, they have already asked themselves “What if?” and envisioned that and twenty other different scenarios.



Once I heard an author say that he kept all his story ideas organized in separate manila folders. As of yesterday, I have a pile of 25 newly purchased manila folders on my desk, waiting to be filled with my own future published works. I can only hope that it was the manila folders that were actually responsible for his success, so that I may also have an equal chance at fame and fortune.


I remember suggesting that my parents play pretend and imagine they were in another world. They shook their heads, smiled, and explained how grown ups can’t imagine things like children can. This frightened me, and I swore to them that would always be able to imagine.

Perhaps my ambition to be a writer of fiction is a result of this promise to myself. Perhaps the reason that I’ve been struggling so much lately is because – despite my best efforts – I’ve become a grown up.


Today I wrote a brief dialogue between a politically-minded coffee shop proprietor and a socially awkward barista-in-training. Then I went into extensive detail describing the eastern coast of an imaginary island I’d created out of a coffee stain. I also went to the library and checked out two books about the history of coffee for research for another project.

I believe I have coffee on the brain, as any good writer should. I now feel more validated in my chosen profession.


I get three or four paragraphs into page one of a work in progress, and suddenly panic. It is like realizing that you swam too far into the grown-up side of the pool and can no longer feel the bottom beneath your frantically kicking feet.

So, backtracking, sloshing water everywhere in an attempt to get back to the shallows, I hit ‘Delete’ and sit back. I stare at the blank page with relief and a little embarrassment, hoping none of the other bigger kids saw that.