Oh, nothing. Just waited my entire life to do something like this, and it’s six weeks away. But who’s counting right?
Terrified. I am absolutely terrified.
I am going to share something I wrote on the first day I started to write what would become The Unaccompanied Minor.
The exercise was to write down your hopes and fears. Then write down someone who wouldn’t have those fears. Or, if they would— how they would handle them. Then write a character monologue for them… talking to you. Advising you. Have them address every fear you named.
Stanley Kubrick — Filmaker.
Stanley: I never know what I’m doing until I’m doing it. I plan. Sure, I plan for days, years. I got so much blood to fit down that fucking hallway. I got Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to be in a movie. I made beating up old people to Beethoven… cool. You don’t think I was scared? You don’t think I was worried at being laughed at? Try and smoke cigarettes. I chained smoke, and it really helps. Don’t listen to other people. Other people are fucking idiots. They don’t know you. They don’t know them. They just want to make you fit. They want to fit you into something they understand. Fuck them. Ask for a cigarette, and when they give you one tell them to fuck off. Go. Write. Be you. You can do this.
Ernest Hemingway — Novelist.
Ernest: I ran away from everything that was challenging. Everything that hurt. I ran. I ran away just like you. I finally had to stop running. Ever put a gun in your mouth. To see how it feels. How the metallic taste can conjure images. Images that don’t leave your mind once the taste is gone. That’s life. Life is a gun in your mouth. You can either clamp down. Carefully not breaking your teeth. Carefully not offending anyone. Or, anything. Don’t write about what you know. Write about what you fear. Write something that will make others stand. Make them stand. I don’t give a shit how scared you are. Did your father and mother make you? For what? You want to sit at home and be a good boy? Fuck you. Be you. Write. I don’t give a shit if it’s nonsense for fifty pages. You write what makes you want to put a gun in your mouth. And if you can’t think of another thing to fight for. Then you go ahead and pull that fucking trigger.
Mikhail Tal — Chess Champion
Tal: I plan meticulously for a game. I study my opponent, I study all his games. I try to stick to the plan, but… you know me. I am known for being an incredible attacker. For creating positions on the board that don’t yield to exact mathematics. Listen to their heartbeat. They are telling you something. Look to the board. Look to the pieces. There is a symphony you must find. It is in every person. It is in every game you play. Every interaction. I got sick, and could not continue to play. Ailing health they called it. I guess, that’s what happens when you smoke ten packs a day. I don’t think I’m scared, because I have nothing to lose. I have no ego; I have no big weight on my shoulder. I love to create space. To play with rhythm. If I could do nothing else, I would do this and be happy. Play to win. Crush your opponent. But love your life. Love it. It goes by fast. Don’t ever stop.