Last night I finished a personal essay. One thousand one hundred and ninety eight words, as it stands. I had to drink a lot of whiskey.
I almost didn’t write it, but I was kindly bullied by a Twitter friend. She gave me a deadline. She encouraged me. She put me on the spot.
Like Lizzy Bennet, I never avoid challenges. I laugh in the face of danger. Until I cry.
I did research. It felt like college. I bookmarked. Copied and pasted quotes. Compared reviews. Avoided the writing until it was unavoidable.
The beginning came easily, like falling in love.
The middle, I got through.
But I faltered trying to write the ending.
Days passed. Opening the document I’d read it again. Stalled.
Usually, that would’ve been the end: another dead essay, half-completed and relegated to a folder deep within my computer.
But I’m in a workshop with a group of damn fine writers and I could not disappoint them. I’m surrounded by people who keep me writing.
So last night, I committed. I bought a bottle of Jameson, a lemon. My first reader advised me to eat dinner first. A good call.
It wasn’t long before I was typing like a woman possessed. The dog left the room.
At one point, I noticed my right hand was wet; the ice from my drink had melted completely. Time for another.
Not sure why I had to take a break to sing a few Beyonce songs. But I did. Another drink.
And then I knew why the ending had been so hard to write before. I had to tell the truth — the whole truth or the essay wasn’t worth a damn thing. And I wasn’t able to do that alone, without liquid assistance.
Hence, the Jameson.
I know what it says about me and my writing process that I write faster and with more focus under the influence. But I haven’t learned how to find that place without it.
And the essay? For a first draft, the bones are strong.