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Project 1,825 Things
Or, 365 first drafts.
This morning, on the clean page of the new year, I opened up a document and typed the number 1. I wrote about the pink midnight fireworks over the Seine last night, and the indignant seagulls high in the soft black air, and the faintly sulfurous smell of burnt matches that wafted over the city once the fireworks were done. How easy it had felt, standing there in the crowd on the wooden footbridge, that my phone might slip from my hands and fall through the gaps between the planks, down into the spangled churn of the cold river below. My phone, dark and smooth as an arrowhead. How easily I might have dropped it, might have let it slip, might have flung it over the railing and into the water. How easily I might have flung anything, a coin, my phone, the keys to my life, my wedding ring, out over the railing towards the slick gold lights and the party boats.
I typed the number 2, and then wrote about something else. An empty church open late. A man selling scarves. A young Italian woman I had passed in the street with sleepy lined eyes and a white fur coat. The way confetti collected in the gutters in the morning, and the velvety buds on the magnolia trees already, and the smashed champagne bottles. I continued writing, unplanned, disjointed, as honest as I could make it, until I reached the number 5. Then I stopped.
This was my first Five Things draft of the new year, and I plan to do one every day for the next 364 remaining days of 2023, no matter what. I sit down. I write five things. I don’t overthink it. I suppose it is a diary project, but there’s something about the five things format in particular which I find freeing. Making myself push through to write five things, rather than stopping at two, or four, is important as well. I almost always discover something unexpected. Five things is just enough to push yourself, to go deeper, to give a little shape to your thoughts.
Some of these drafts I’ll revise and publish, others I won’t. I have worked with this format on and off for the past two years, but now I would like to commit to it. Five things, every day, for one year, rain or shine, no excuses. Drop by drop they will add up. 1,825 things, 365 first drafts. I’m beginning a year of writing abundance, and this has been day one.
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