In writing, the first few words are the most difficult to convey. I usually start with a burst of inspiration—a word, idea or message runs in my head, through my fingers, and before you know it I'm sitting in front of my PowerBook typing away. However, I can't always capture that idea when I sit down to write. If I don't write when I get the urge, I'm distracted by homework assignments and fan mail, and intellectual articles like this one don't ever get written.
Writing, like most art forms, is done in solitude, kind of like that song Cher sings for the lonely. Sitting by myself, with my own thoughts, is not how I prefer to spend my weekend, nor any day of the week for that matter. Don't get me wrong—I love writing and I get a sense of fulfillment while doing it. Every time I see something I've written in print it makes proud that the little boy who didn't have a voice loud enough to be heard has taken it to a new level.
So, I came up with a schedule solely for the act of writing. If I designated a time specifically for writing, I would be more proficient at getting it done.
That was the easy part; now, I needed to find a writing partner to make the process more bearable—someone who also had some writing to do. Yes, of course, their writing probably wouldn't be as clever or articulate as mine, but I'm not one to judge. At first I thought about the people I associate with—some people call them friends. My first thought was my ex-roommate Frida. With that thought, however, came the image of us walking down Halsted heavily intoxicated on the best margaritas and free shots from a nearby restaurant that doesn't pay me to promote them, so they shall remain nameless. I knew 'she' wasn't the ideal writing buddy. My second choice was Bunny, who is currently in the process of applying to grad schools and has plenty of things to write about.
However, she also has a girlfriend, and they are both nauseously in love. Asking her to be my writing buddy would mean that our sessions would involve me listening to her tired stories of the minute things they do for each other and pretending like I care!
As I ran down the list, none of my associates seemed like the type who would enjoy sitting with me for a few hours on any given day of the week, between posing for cameras, shopping at Bloomies, making an appearance at the new local hot spot, jetting to a premier, or getting pampered. How dare I try and change the social order of the world to have a crutch for my runway! So, I decided to make this a solo project. I chose to do my writing in the afternoon on Tuesday after my Pilates class. The first day I decided I needed a good location. I was already dressed for the part. I wore a white oxford shirt, my favorite black cashmere sweater, and a snug pair of diesel jeans. I went to the coffee shop around the corner of my house on Broadway and Aldine. I ordered a medium Espresso. Sure it didn't taste nearly as good as the one I had during my weekend in the South of France, nor was the lad behind the counter as Voulez-vous-coucher-avec-moi-ce-soir as the one the that brought it to my table, but I wasn't there for the coffee or the men.
I was there to write.
Finding a table was a sport all on its own. The place was packed with men of different age groups. The window seats were all taken by guys in their early 20s who would sip out of their foam cup like it was the finest crystal champagne. In the center of the room was a fireplace with surrounding plush leather arm chairs occupied by older men who had one eye on a newspaper and the other on the door. I found an empty table in the corner at the back of the shop.
I pulled out my PowerBook and paused. I needed to transition from talking to the help to finally being with myself, gathering my thoughts, preparing myself to put the great American novel in print. My fingers froze; my eyes stared at the bright blank Microsoft Windows page.
My mind was blank—the only thought being of not having one. Why was my mind blank? Was my location wrong? Was I not wearing the right outfit? Did I pick the wrong time of day or had I been too busy planning the moment that I forgot what I wanted to write in the first place?
I found myself distracted by the big glass windows that randomly showed familiar faces, not so familiar ones, and ones I wish I did not see. Still my screen was blank. I took out my notes that include my story, outline, and characters. I decided I was here to write. I was here to work; this wasn't a game or a social outing. I forced myself to press keys, even if I knew it wouldn't be something that would actually make sense. Faster than the bus that hit Regina George, the plot, characters, and climax were tapping away on my fingertips.
Sometimes the things or people we love require time and effort. I love to write, but it's also something that forces me to be alone. I have a hard time being alone when I have a cell phone with 20 messages, and an e-mail inbox that dictates my social calendar. So setting a specific time to do my writing has helped me incorporate discipline into my lifestyle. I'm also passionate enough to want to make the commitment to it.
I hope that during the past year you have enjoyed my conversations with extraordinary talent such as Margaret Cho, RuPaul, Maria Conchita Alonso, and so forth. I promise this new year will not disappoint, as we continue the political, social, and personal changes of our lives.
Emmanuel Garcia is at