“Writing a book, kind of like going on a first date, sounds like such a brilliantly exciting idea. And it is, until moments before it happens.” – Jen Glantz
Everything you read was written by someone, somewhere.
We always talk about the someone. If you enjoyed the story, you’ll start to delicately fall in love with the person behind it. You’ll want to know the oddities and realities that have been strung together to make them exactly who they are.
You’ll tug at your keyboard, begging them to write more and more and more.
Rarely, though, do we talk about the somewhere.
The dimly lit back tables that are inches away from the coffee shop bathroom. The queen sized mattress that cradles our dreams at night and serves as a working desk for us during the day. The notes section on our phone where we spit out 500-word essays while riding the F train to Bushwick because we’re hungry to go someplace, with someone, we’ve never been.
I wrote All My Friends are Engaged, last summer, alone. On the chilly top floor of Barnes and Noble, at a table for two in the front of Argo Tea, clutching onto the windowsill of a Coffee Bean that played techno music at 9am. Overcome with nerves and what-ifs and butterflies that enjoyed hula hooping in my stomach.
One Saturday afternoon, I was on my third cup of tea at my second coffee shop, using up what was left of my computer’s battery life to write chapter 6.
A guy, who forgot to wipe off the crescent moon of skim milk that was flirting with his upper lip, said to me, “You must be writing something dramatic because your face looks like paper scrunched in a fist before it’s about to be tossed away.”
I lowered my screen.
“Well, I’m writing something.” I said. “I just don’t know if it’s something anyone will want to read.”
I was writing about a first date at a baseball game where our conversations were more painful than watching the Mets play. I was writing about how embarrassed and uncomfortable and sweaty I felt that day.
I was writing all of this after checking my Facebook moments earlier and seeing that approximately 3 friends had just gotten engaged, 2 friends got married that day, and 1 friend just gave birth.
Everyone on Facebook seemed to be so put together and here I was trying to write about the most blah 4-hour date of my life, with a guy who told me I was smarter than I looked.
“Can I give you a piece of advice,” he said. “Close your eyes and write. Forget about everyone else. Stop writing when your fingers hurt and your eyes need light and your head starts to ache. That’s how you create something beautiful.”
So I began to write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until finally every chapter made my heart flutter again and again and again.
I never got to thank that stranger or the stranger I met in Argo Tea when I was writing chapter 14, who bought me a cup of tea and told me giving up is as flimsy as an exclamation point and that I should strive for the finish line, the period at the end of every story.
Or the strangers in Starbucks who shared a table with me as I worked on my final revisions and bought me a ticket to see a movie with them, as a celebration, afterward.
This book is about finding love, sometimes in the strangest places, just like where it was written.