Day 6 of #1000wordsofsummer 2020 August edition

Snaps from Some Strangers

Hi friends,

Today you will write 1000 words. You will write these words because they can help you connect with the world. These words can be a conduit to something bigger than yourself.

I was thinking this week about a reading I participated in four summers ago in Brooklyn. It was called the Popsickle Festival, organized by a woman named Niina Pollari. (Niina is also a gorgeous, gorgeous poet.) I had been touring a lot that last year or two, often doing what felt like formal, stuffy events, and it had become very song-and-dance for me, as if I were a traveling salesman selling my wares.

But I was so excited to do this festival. It was a marathon event, every writer just had a few minutes to speak, and it was all kinds of readers, lots of poets, which I loved. The festival was held at a watch company showroom that Niina had somehow gotten use of for free for the day. Everyone there was young and smiling and glistening from the heat.

Going to readings like that, where people just gave it their all, sometimes with their nerves showing, sometimes with a charming bluster, I found it thrilling. The audience came and went, filtering in and out all day long, in a warm room, on a summer day, in a donated space, everyone just there for no reason other than they just wanted to be around other writers and maybe they had a little something to say. It meant a lot to me to be a part of it. When it was my turn, I read part of a chapter from my sixth book, which was nearly finished. I just wanted to connect. I was there for the connection. I was grateful for a few laughs from the audience, a nice response at the end. Snaps from some strangers: worth a million bucks.

When my writing helps me connect with the outside world — this project right now is an excellent example of that happening — it is worth every ounce of energy I put into it. Writing can be private, you can use it just for you, and your purposes too. And that is worth a lot, too. But it can also help you open up your world. That is a nice thing to remember. It is another reason why I write: to connect with other people.

Day 6. You’re almost there. Don’t stop till you’re done.