200 Words

There’s this article going around Facebook right now about this woman that’s giving away her Maine inn via a 200 word essay contest. Several people have said I should enter. It’s posted twice by two different people on my wall. To the first person, I said that my essay should be something akin to, “do not let me win this. I will let the whole thing go to shit because all I will ever do is write in that house.” To the second, I said that I would write the essay, but they were responsible for the $125 essay and the cost of the upkeep for the life of the house. It’s not that I do not want to move to Maine and become a writer. I do not want to move to Maine and own a hotel. Did you miss the part about 17 hour work days? It is amazing that my friends think that I am capable of winning, but I assure you that I would be “winning.” As Matt Damon famously said in Project Greenlight, “first prize is making a movie with Miramax…. second prize is making two movies with Miramax.” I am eager for adventure and excitement, but probably something that gives me less time for writing than I already have is not the gig for me. The only way I could really see this idea having legs is that if Dana and I were still married and Chef needed a gig. That way, Dana and Chef could run the inn while I lived upstairs like Boo Radley (don’t think I wouldn’t, bitch).

Here’s the essay. I don’t think it will win. Why? I haven’t entered. But here’s the essay, anyway.

I hate the cold, and I will wear the same clothes for days in order not to feel that nanosecond of frigid air on my skin, especially at night, when the bathroom isn’t steaming from the running shower. Though, when I look at my life, I am probably in the best and worst shape ever to make winning this a reality. I don’t have a family, so hard work is necessary. I cannot focus on anything else except what is right here…. in my hands. I can focus on a hammer. I can focus on a knife. But do not ask more of me. I do not know what I think about love or hate or kindness or grief, but I do know that working with my hands keeps me from doing anything else. And it’s the “anything else” I need to rid myself of the most. I would come to Maine like most people, I imagine. Ruddy-faced and excited….. for three weeks. The rest would be earth-shakingly terrible in the way that all writers need to be struck down and kicked without mercy until all the unnecessary words fall away and I am spent. It is only page one.


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