Nov. 1, 2016

They say you won’t regret the things you do but the things that you don’t do.

Dumbest TextI figure, “What do I have to lose?” My other friends are just home doing, I don’t know, whatever they do in November. I’m in Paris. They’re not. I’m doing something.

It’s November 1, 2016. In the morning. I still have a few hours before I meet her. Her is Sally. I met her, well, I haven’t actually met her met her, but I met her online. Well, that sounds kinda cheesy. I met her on a good online. I mean, I met her in a writer’s forum. That’s legit, right? It’s called NaNoWriMo and that sing-a-long abbreviation stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” The idea is that you write a novel in the month. Well, specifically, the month of November. In fact, that month starts today.

Before the month begins there is a lot of hype and, well, real excitement and anxiety about starting out on this whole endeavor. There are thousands of writers and wanna-be writers and lots of them meet up online and even in person. I didn’t meet Sally in person, but we met online. Wow, how did this even happen? I can’t believe I’m in Paris to meet this girl I don’t even know and met her in some writer’s forum with an acronym that sounds like a candy bar.

I think we were just joking at first. Well, I was joking anyway. We were taunting each other about how we could make NaNo (that’s what the regulars call it. OK, I’m just kidding, I don’t know if regulars call it anything, I’m just tired of typing that whole big NaNoWriMo all the time. Anyway.) more interesting.

As if it’s not interesting enough to begin with, right? I mean, writing a novel in a month? Who does that? Well, it turns out, thousands of people do. I guess that’s how we got to the part about spicing things up.

 My, Myself & WiFi

Several people were talking about what they could do. Maybe write together or at least online together or at least write at the same time. Write while drinking a glass of wine per chapter and trying to write five chapters and see how that went. But Sally wanted to travel and so did I.

We started out with fanciful ideas like going away to a cabin on a lake and be there alone all month. Just you, your laptop, maybe some WiFi and a lake. That sounded idyllic. But also a bit lonely. It turns out we both wanted to write a romance but we both had never written one. At some point, the back and forth started sounded like we were going to do this or we were going to do that. I didn’t question it, but at some point towards the middle of October, I just had to blurt out what I was thinking: “Sally, would you like to co-write a romance with me for NaNo?”

She, Me & Paris. Or is it, She, I & Paris?

At first she said, “Sure! Why not!” But I thought she was just being polite and friendly. A bit more back and forth and we thought it was just a silly idea. Until there was a point when I thought it wasn’t a silly idea anymore.

The chat messages were flying back and forth. The time difference wasn’t an issue and she seemed to be up at all hours anyway. She was in Denmark and I was in New York. We talked about how we’d work the time zones, how we could structure the book. Should it be from both of our perspectives or like a play? More messages. At one point, she hinted that Europe was so easy to travel in. I mentioned that in November flights were cheap. We were like kids taunting each other with something but it was easy to play the game because we knew nothing would really come of it.

Until it did.

Whereas I was the bold one who suggested we write the book together, she took off her mask and asked me flat out with these exact words, “Do you want to spend the month in Paris and write this book together?”