When I brazenly stated that I’d be the one to take Mondays — assuming that reading how other people tackled the topic of the week would only cause me undue stress and possibly bring on a continued massive inferiority complex — I surely hadn’t imagined this moment.
Me, the day before my introductory post is due, with no clue how to do it. What could I have been thinking? I’m the magazine writer who asks, before an assignment is even out of an editor’s mouth, to see a sample of a similar story that they like. Sure I’m unique — I just have an abject fear of doing things wrong.
Despite that fear, I’ve managed to carve out a career as a journalist for the past decade or so. (I’m also just at the age where keeping things vague — a la phrases like past decade or so — has become sadly crucial.) I started out doing celebrity profiles before graduating to investigative pieces and first-person columns and essays. I’d thought of myself as a writer for so long that I remember being devastated at age seven when I saw in the 1976 Guinness Book of World Records (apparently I’ve grown less self-conscious about my age while writing this paragraph) that the youngest novelist was six. For reasons unclear to myself, however, I didn’t try writing a novel until more than two decades later — and it was really an accident. I was visiting a journalist friend in London and we were having one of those wouldn’t-it-be-lovely-to-write-a-novel conversations, possibly over tea and crumpets. And she suggested we send each other 1000 words every Sunday of our new respective novels, since we worked best when we had deadlines. I agreed, finished off my tea, went back to fending off the bitter cold (it was February), and didn’t think of it again. To my utter horror and shock, I received the beginning of her novel the following Sunday and, mostly as a result of my aforementioned abject fear of doing things wrong, frantically threw 1000 words on the page and sent them off to her. This kept up for a few months and when my friend’s work obligations grew too great for her to continue, I decided to finish my book.
This is not to suggest, however, that the book wasn’t aching to be written. As I come closer to celebrating my sixth year of sobriety (November 19th, in case anyone likes to note such things), I’m ever more clear that getting off of alcohol and drugs — and more importantly, discovering why I turned to them in the first place — is the single most significant thing I’ve done in my life. I had read all of the humorless I’m-a-drunk-or-drug-addict memoirs and knew I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be able to take what I’d experienced, poke some fun at the denial I used to always be in, and create a story that was both entertaining and potentially illuminating to any other ‘party girl’ scampering through life who’s sure that something’s wrong but not quite positive what it is. The book, as the cliche goes, wrote itself, and I’m proud of the result.
But I think I’m supposed to not be writing so much about me as I am about my feelings around being a part of the Debutante Ball. I’m quite excited. Not many Jewesses (even those of us who are such lapsed Jews that our Jdate name during that brief — and abysmal — foray into Internet dating was “xmastreejew”) get to experience the debutante life. In all seriousness, I’m thrilled to be part of something so modern. I already have a blog of my own but a grog? Until a few days ago, I’d thought that only referred to some obscure drink made out of rum. Being a part of this reminds me of that little quiver of satisfaction I get when I manage to order my Decaf Grande Percent Latte at Starbucks, that sense that I truly am a member of the ever-changing world. And I love, despite my aversion to things like sororities, the notion of being a part of a supportive, all-girls group.
And so I say: bring it on, ladies. Bring it on.