Monday and Tuesday I was sick as a dog. Tuesday night my body kept me up until 3 in the morning when I had to be up for work at 7. Wednesday night I was asleep by 8, and Thursday I just couldn’t be bothered. Friday I watched a play-through of To the Moon on YouTube, and on Saturday I upgraded my Steam and bought it so I can play the game myself. And yesterday, Sunday, I went on a much-needed day trip out of the city.

My word count for this week is shit, but I did handwrite twenty pages of notes.

It’s just about time for another rewrite.

Which is my favorite part, even if it means putting my current WIP on hold.



Here we have a repeat of Week 4—that is, four zero word count days in a row.

Tuesday, May 17th:
After work I had just enough time to pack an overnight bag and run to the bus stop if I wanted to make dinner with my boyfriend and his friend by 7 o’clock. I ended up sitting on the sidewalk for twenty minutes waiting for my bus to show up. At 7:30 I hoisted myself up and over the railing of his balcony to be let inside. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t all that hungry since I’d inadvertently eaten chocolate-covered hazelnuts and cilantro in an Asian pasta dish set out for staff at lunch. Teacher Appreciation Week! Sometimes I eat things I’m allergic to knowing that I’m allergic, and for that, there’s Benadryl. This time I didn’t know. I thought I was biting into a piece of chocolate-covered fruit. And I thought the green flecks in the pasta were basil. Or parsley. Or some other green herb that doesn’t cause my mouth to itch and swell.) Luckily, my boyfriend and his friend were enthusiastic enough and drunk enough when I showed up to remedy my sour disposition. I had some catching up to do, and because I’d already resigned myself to not writing for the night, I drank past the point of productive drunkenness. So it goes.

Wednesday, May 18th:
I spent the entire day at work tired and haggard, which is what happens when you drink booze, sleep in your makeup, and then wake up early to figure out how to self-measure your bust, waist, hips, and hollow to hem so you can call a place about a bridesmaid dress on your lunch hour. I spent the morning trying not to fall asleep while feeding and diapering infants. Then, on my lunch hour I called the place about the dress and had a woman tell me that I’m between their size 2 and size 4 (when I’ve never worn bigger than a size 0 and haven’t grown since I was 14) and that I should go with the size 4. I agreed with some serious reservations, because, hey, she’s the expert. Then I took a twenty-minute nap on what reminds me of the couches in school nurse’s offices (except it’s teal instead of beige).

After work, I met up with a friend from freshman year of college and his girlfriend, also from our college. We went to a burger joint and then out for beers at the brewery located a convenient 450 feet from my apartment. They even briefly got to meet my boyfriend, who swung by to return the sunglasses I’d left at his apartment. My friend agreed that he doesn’t seem like a serial killer, which is the kind of reassurance I’m always looking for.

I set my alarm for 7, and fell asleep by 10. Praise be!

Thursday, May 19th:
I woke up tired still and delayed my alarm until the last possible minute. I decided I must be fighting something off—a cold or maybe even a plague*. I had just enough time to get dressed and make my bed but not enough time to do the dishes, which somehow managed to pile up even though I hadn’t cooked for days. And I had really wanted to do the dishes, not just because that’s what good adults do, but also because I needed to make something for the Teacher Appreciation party on Friday. Something = puppy chow. I didn’t bother trying to nap on my lunch hour. But I did have to return a phone call about the bridesmaid dress after getting a voicemail from a woman with a gut feeling that we should order me a size 2. Go figure. So after work, I dragged my laptop into the kitchen, played The Smith Street Band on Spotify, put on my green rubber gloves (because I cannot do dishes without them, especially dishes other people have touched), and then once I finished, pulled out my bag of ingredients, grabbed a Schilling grapefruit cider from the fridge, and got to work.

The boyfriend asked if he could stop over for a bit, and I said yes. (Duh.) He came bearing chocolates and affection. I didn’t want him to leave, so even though he said to kick him out at any time to relax or write, so I kept him until it was like 10 and neither of us had had dinner and were kind of lightheaded and famished.

So I didn’t write, but I did compose a text about the perfection of avocados.

Friday, May 20th:
I woke up a little early and I didn’t write so much as I rearranged a few words and adjusted some phrases before work—nothing that affected word count much. Then I spent the day with toddlers instead of infants. The main difference between toddlers and infants is that toddlers are heavier, faster, louder, and more defiant. By lunchtime my energy was spent. I wasn’t hungry. I couldn’t fall asleep. I still had half a day to go.

Sometimes it’s difficult to discern mental exhaustion from physical sickness. Could have been either/or. Or both/and. It is an adjustment—being an introvert with such a social job. It’s a balancing act. I’m still figuring it out.

At 6, I pawned my puppy chow off on a coworker and told her, “I meant to go to the party tonight, and I made this, but I’m not going. I’m going home. I’m going to bed. But I think that you should take this and that people should have it.”

I caught my bus home and collapsed on my bed still wearing my coat, one backpack strap still slung over my shoulder, and aggressively cuddled with my cat. (He honestly deserves to be registered as an emotional support animal.) After a while, I changed into pajamas, made chamomile tea and crawled into bed with a mug of it and my laptop. I put Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, had myself a good cry, and thought about how funny it is that my old, comfortable show is set in a fictitious version of my city that’s always falling apart: sinkholes and plane crashes and tunnel collapses.

Guess it isn’t just me.

*This is being published on Tuesday instead of Monday because it turns out I was coming down with some sort of plague.


May started out strong . . . and then I went on a four-day writing hiatus.

Tuesday, May 3rd:
My landlord had the bed bug detective dog come back to my apartment for a follow-up inspection after heat-treating my place back in March. I was hoping for an all-clear, but instead received a text that began with, “So the bad news is . . .” The good news was that the only piece of furniture the dog seemed concerned about was the spare, red mattress underneath my bed. I gave him permission to dispose of it–I had bought the mattress back when I had a studio apartment and no couch for guests–uninvited or welcome–to sleep on.

So I counted out getting a good night of sleep for the next three nights, and I cracked a beer open as soon as I got home for work before bussing over to my boyfriend’s to meet a friend of his for a movie night. We watched Jacob’s Ladder, which was a lot less scary than bed bugs.

Wednesday, May 4th: 
Because I had meant to write Tuesday night but didn’t, I decided I’d give myself Wednesday night off, too. Why? Well, I did finish 30 Days of Yoga! But really I gave myself Wednesday night off, and fuck it, why not Thursday, too? because I felt so damn defeated. I needed some fun in my life, so I made plans to go over to a friend’s after work, which involved a ten-minute walk to a bus stop downtown after work.

I LOVE walking. It’s one of my favorite things about city living. What I didn’t remember is that I don’t love downtown Seattle. I should have. I really should have. At lunch one of my co-workers was telling the tale of how just that morning she bear-maced some hateful Russian man at the train station, and I remarked on how little street harassment I’ve had to deal with since moving neighborhoods, from Pioneer Square to Fremont.

However, on this ten-minute walk, about 50-minutes removed from cleaning up a whole lot of child vomit, I had to deal with three too many man-children. The first asked me to smile–“just a little smile?” And then a block or two down, a man walking just behind but completely in-step with me remarked, “Damn, you’re really making me walk,” alerting me to the fact that he’d been following me for god-knows-how-long. Finally, there was another man who muttered I-don’t-know-what-nor-do-I-want-to as I slicked on some lipstick at the bus stop. Luckily, I only had to wait five minutes for the bus.

Then my friend and I ate all of the Thai food and I finally got to watch Mad Max: Fury Road.

Thursday, May 5th:
I took on an early shift–at first excited because that generally means also getting off early. Except we had a two-hour staff meeting, so it didn’t.

But at least I had an hour between when my shift ended and when the meeting began. Except that I ended up clocking out with only 50 minutes to spare.

So what did I do? I went speed-shopping for the sake of retail therapy. Because it’d been a long week and an even longer day. Somehow in twenty minutes I ended up with a more successful haul than I usually do after an entire day dedicated to buying clothes: four camisoles, three skirts, three pairs of socks, a romper, and a dress.

And you know what? I did feel better.

At least until I ate the dinner provided at the staff meeting–Qdoba, cilantro–and my lips swelled up and I had break into a First Aid kit and drink a child’s Benadryl.

After, my boyfriend picked me up, because commuting by car is almost always faster than commuting by bus, and he’s nice like that. And when I got into the car, I noticed it smelled like LUSH and I had to make sure I didn’t step on a giant paper bag at my feet, but I pretended not to notice until he said something. Because it turned out that he’d gone shopping, too. So now I also had bath bombs, beer, baked goods, and tea.

So I took an hour-and-a-half long bath, complete with a Twilight bath bomb–Lush’s “gentle, reassuring hug for the bath,” drank a beer, and watched Autism in Love on Netflix.

Friday, May 6th:
I planned on writing Friday night. I really did.

But . . . it was hot as hell in my apartment when I got home because while the day’s high only reached 77, my apartment’s temperature reached 140. I decided I should wait for it to cool off some. And then I decided I should probably do laundry. And return my library books. And have a cold drink. And a phone a friend from back home and talk for an hour. And reorganize my closet. No, not just my closet. My dresser drawers. Why should my sweaters take up residence in the top drawer when I won’t have reason to wear them again until November? So I emptied the entire contents of my dresser drawers onto my probably-bed-bug-free-bed and hit play on some Spotify playlist until I ran out of clothes to put away. And then I thought I ought to make some dinner, and what’s dinner without entertainment? So I put on an episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

And that’s when I finally decided, fuck it, I’ll write tomorrow. (Which for the record, I did.)


No zero word count days this week! (Just one less-than-satisfactory word count day.)

April 28th: I have a good enough excuse: I graduated from therapy! After just twelve weeks, my progress graph shows clinically significant improvement. I celebrated with my boyfriend, beer, and a second-rate horror film starring Julianne Hough. Between my day job and the appointment, I managed to put my butt in chair and type out an acceptable paragraph. Progress is progress, right?

May 2nd: If I fail to make my word count tonight, it’s because my roommate took me to Trader Joe’s for the first time ever, poured me a glass of red wine (which I refilled three more times) and chased with chocolate coconut almonds while watching stand-up comedy (Louis C.K. is my boy). And I’m now about to go do Day 29 of 30 Days of Yoga even though I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be on Day 28. Surprise, surprise! I’m no good at math.