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3am Feedings & the Birth of the Great American Novel
Bobby vs. The Novel. Volume 1.
I gave the infant a bottle at 3 in the morning, and instead of climbing back into bed like a sane person, I sat on the couch and contemplated my existence.
It was 2020, the pre-vaccine part of the pandemic, otherwise known as the good shit.
For most of the year, I watched film projects I was set to direct fall apart due to Covid, all the while trying to turn the page, start the next chapter of my life. Become a Dad.
But it was hard to let myself go. And at 3 in the morning, something strange happened, something batshit fuck crazy.
I started writing a short story.
I hadn’t written a short story since high school. But something was happening inside of me that needed to get out. With an infant and a worldwide pandemic keeping me indoors, I had no creative outlet left.
The story was called “I Wish Kevin Was a Bag Of Sand.” (Published by Expat Press today!) I eventually sent it to my email list, and people really liked the early draft. Some even thought it was about the pandemic. I didn’t see it that way, but maybe it was. But, more importantly, was this my thing now? Writing fiction? It wasn’t a crazy notion. After all, who can forget one of my very first stories in grade school?
I wrote several more stories and felt I was pushing toward something. I thought about an idea I had several years ago. It was a big idea, maybe it was a feature film. Or a TV show. But now, I wondered - was I wrong the whole time? Was it a novel?
I poured over my old notes, and things began to click and feel exciting. This continued for several months. During this time, I didn’t tell a soul. What if I was wrong? What if this wasn’t a novel?
But then, at a buddy’s art show, I started running my mouth. I started telling everyone I was writing a novel!
What the fuck was I thinking? If I tell people I’m doing something, now I have to do it! Fuck!!!
And then, like a beacon in the night, I gazed upon this art piece:
It was a sign.
You don’t see it? I’m the fucking frog, you guys!
I’m the frog sitting in a —something—writing his first novel, alone, in the middle of — something.
I bought the painting. It was the first real piece of artwork I ever bought. I told my friend that I would hang it over my computer and use it as inspiration to write the thing.
The stakes were high now. Not only did I blab about writing a novel to everyone at the art gallery, but I also spent cold hard cash on something that was supposed to propel me into making it happen.
My back was up against the wall. And the worst part was I did it to myself. The only thing I knew with certainty was I had to write this fucking novel now.
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