Get Up. Dress Up. Show Up. And Don’t Give Up.
As of 11:52 AM yesterday morning (the 28th of February), my first book has officially been written. In fact, my editor Monique confirmed that I was now entitled to state the exciting yet slightly arrogant nugget: “I have written a book!”
Well, sort of.
Before I dance around demanding congratulatory pats on the back, I should really qualify that statement. I’ve officially completed a manuscript, not a shiny, perfected piece of art. Just because a guy has written some words, doesn’t make them necessarily good. The task now is to transfer into an editorial stage, and move this amorphous blob of 120 000+ words into something that resembles a tightly packaged work of travel non-fiction.
So please, hold your applause.
Since late December I’ve been in Victoria, Canada, staying in my mother’s spare bedroom and attempting to complete a memoir that has been lingering on my to-do list for over a year now. My average day includes rolling out of my horse blanket covered bed around 7 AM, fixing myself a coffee and then wandering aimlessly around the Internet for an hour while waiting for the stimulating consequences of the java to take full effect. Eventually I instruct myself, in a stern tone, that I cannot avoid work any longer. So I procrastinate a bit more by brushing my teeth and, more recently, by changing into clothes that I did not sleep in the previous night. I’ve learned that adhering to small self-imposed rituals is a helpful behavior. And I’ve been applying these words of wisdom:
“Get up. Dress up. Show up. And don’t give up.” (fun poster here!)
Some days, good headway is made on the book. Some days, I drag my knuckles and detest that fact that the written word exists. But as long as the ink flows, I generally feel a sense of satisfaction. Miraculously, my commitment to this project has not waivered. In fact, I’m still eager to birth this book, despite the prolonged gestation period. And, in a way, I’ve grown to appreciate the process, which has been its own educative experience, its own adventure while I remain less geographically frenetic.
Luckily, I manage to incorporate more into my day-to-day life than simply hunching over a computer with coffee-breath and yesterday’s underwear. After I’ve purged as many words as I feel capable for the day, I throw in the literary towel and try to do things that don’t involve glowing screens. Common activities include jogging through the surrounding suburbs, prepping spicy crockpot meals and zealously knitting ugly socks — I’m in a MAJOR sock-knitting phase right now. And if all of these activities lack immediate appeal, it’s usually a surefire bet that my sister would appreciate an extra set of hands to manage her two untamed toddlers. After which, I’m usually more than content to return to the solitude of writing. It’s a cyclical lifestyle. This current phase of my life is not glamorous, but it’s never boring. Boredom is a byproduct of boring people.
So, apart from immediate access to my charming but geographically-scatter friends, I suppose the only thing missing from my life right now is a torrid and all-consuming love affair. But really, is anyone entitled to moan about lack of romance? #GetSomeRealProblems
I’ll shut my mouth. And count my blessings.
[Sidenote: If you, however, know any available babes, my email address is listed in the ‘contact’ section…]
At the top of the list of blessings is the free room and board from my mother. In one of Canada’s sleepiest cities, suburban life with Mommsie Cheryl is as dazzling as one could imagine. Yet, due to the lack of distractions (I’m looking at you Montréal), this environment is actually quite conducive to getting work done. And I generally get a kick out of hanging around my family members.
For instance, Cheryl is quite the character – she’s one tough cookie. When my sister and I were younger, my mother forbade us from watching teenage television staples, such as The Simpsons and any music video on MTV, fearing that exposure to pop culture would somehow corrode our fragile developing brains. These days, mom likes to spend her evenings watching gory crime scene investigation shows while munching on Hawkin’s Cheezies. I guess she’s changed, become less of a tough cookie. Perhaps this is what the years do to us all?
And speaking of years, I sometimes wonder how I will look back upon this chapter of my life? It lacks the glamor of my year of world travel. But also is far more satisfying than the confusion of my early twenties. This phase is all about production, focus, good behavior. Perhaps it will be remembered as a time when my bank account was low, but my ambition was high. A moment where I was not quite satiated, but certainly not uncomfortable. A phase where my simple ambition was to keep moving forward.
To get up. Dress up. Show up. And not give up.
And yes, that means changing out of yesterday’s underwear.
Victoria, British Columbia
PS: Here are some photographs of where I write.
This is where the magic happens.
Notes to myself about continuity in character portrayal.
[Editorial Note: Daniel is NOT a spectacular speller.]
Flowers decorate the room.
I sleep among wild horses.
The guest room also features a learning library.
The closet is shared with holiday wrapping paper and a selection of my mother’s coats.
Lacy shades cover the venetian blinds