Countdown to Fifty

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This is my Italian sports car.  This is my platinum pixie cut.  This is my facelift — specifically, the nose job, the brow lift.  This is my tattoo.  This is my LSD, my cocaine. This is me, jumping out of an airplane.  Scuba diving with the Cousteaus.  Driving a Jeep across the border into Mexico, my tanned arm dangling out the window, silver bangles jingling and a lit cigarette pinched between my fingers.  This is my free pass.  This is me, a five-foot-ten flat chested, small nosed blonde, a coat hanger for designer clothes, living in the West Village, partying at Studio 54.  This is my rage against all that is wrong, my complete psychotic break, my Thelma and Louise moment, driving off a cliff into infinity.  It’s my yoga, my meditation, my Nirvana.

This is me, in a million alternate universes, unencumbered by time, space, gender, marital status, parenthood, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, geography, morality, religion, the law, logic, sanity, and, most importantly, perfectionism.

What is this, exactly?

This is my writing.  And it is a verb.

Producing 50 pieces of writing in 50 days is my goal.  But it isn’t the finished prose or poetry that’s crucial to the challenge.  Those things are only bi-products of the action, just like a fit body is a bi-product of exercise and healthy eating.  My 50 pieces of writing are quite simply the evidence and accountability that I’m doing this.  This, being the action of writing.  Whether they are “good” is not relevant.  The latest research indicates that it takes 66 days on average to form a habit.  The writing is to become habit.  The work itself is the reward.

On the cusp of turning fifty years old, I am aware that if I do not do this single action of committing words to the page daily, I will die.  Sounds dramatic, right?  A little over the top?  Maybe.  But it’s also the truth.  In less than 50 days, I will reach the midpoint of my own story.  This is a time when, according to the rules of fiction, a major reversal takes place.  I (the main character) will be forced to look into a mirror, confront my flaws, and spin the story in a whole new direction.  The midpoint is a reflection of the climax, so if I have any shot at a happy ending, I must start now.

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to simply bear witness and occasionally, if necessary, remind me to do my exercise.  66 days to form a habit, 10,000 hours to become an expert.  Ready, set, write!


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