I’ve always hated the term “New Year, New Me.” January 1st seems to inspire everyone to “turn everything around,” when really, at best, they’ll go to the gym every other day for a week or so before giving up, just like they did the year before.
All the same, last week while having dinner at Grey Dog I found myself thinking about the idea of a fresh start. “What are you going to write about in your column this week?” my friend S asked, filling his glass with happy hour wine.
“I don’t know,” I sighed, wondering if we should buy another bottle before happy hour ends at 7:00. “When I started the column three years ago, it was a sex and dating column. I had tons of New York experiences to write about. Now… I don’t know. I feel like I’m running dry.”
I realize it’s too meta to be talking about my column in my column—but here we are.
“Maybe it’s time to expand the column,” S suggested, shrugging. “Or, expand your idea about what the column can be.”
I bought another bottle of wine.
We spit-balled ideas for the next hour, each one getting more and more… drunk. “I can do this,” I slurred, waving my hand dismissively. “I’m not a sex columnist, I’m a writer. I can write about anything.”
And it’s true. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer my whole life, even before I could read. My parents gave me a cassette recorder; I’d set up all my toys, Barbie and teddy bears alike, open one of my books and record myself making up my own stories to the pictures. When I got older and learned how to read, I realized that my stories were always better. (At least, I thought so.)
I went to college specifically for creative writing, my senior thesis being a novella and three collected short stories. (Fun fact: I double majored in theater, my senior thesis being a one-man show written and performed by me.) (I’ve not acted since.)
When I moved to New York, I specifically targeted
the short-story market, feeling it was my strong suit. Then I learned that the short-story market is
very small and, just like any creative market, not easy to break into.
I struggled along trying to write a novel, trying to find my voice. In 2013, my ex-fiance suggested I start a blog, ditto’d by one of my greatest inspirations, David Levithan. So I did, a blog of personal essays about my experience in New York, before it was picked up by Get Out! Magazine in 2015, and has been featured solely here ever since, focusing on my sex and dating life.
And here we are, three years later. And it’s time to expand: evolve.
New Year, New Me. Or, rather, New Year, New Column.
As much as I scoff at the “New Yearers,” sometimes we need to revamp ourselves, or our work, and if we use the New Year as the excuse to do that—well, why the fuck not?
See you in 2019.