Photo: Pereanu Sebastian
Ah, the infamous shitty first draft. The place where hopes are simultaneously born and slaughtered. The one thing that writers fear the most.
The first draft can be anything. I can write poop all over again if I want. Poop poop poop. I can, like, use punctuation however I like—I can even make sentences no meaning at all fire escape what yes.
Perhaps I’ll rewrite that later. Perhaps not.
But that’s the point. That’s what the first draft is. The canvas where you start creating your art. You probably thought that the blank page was the canvas. Well you thought wrong.
Photo: Quino Al
“You gave me the new guy?” the lady said, her big hair swaying like loose springs as she glanced from one receptionist to the other. “How dare you!”
I stood beside the receptionists and the salon manager, taking particular interest in my nails, not just out of embarrassment, but also because this lady had complained about my lack thereof throughout the entire hair wash. I quickly learned that customers like these only liked it when you raked the shit out of their scalps.
Photo: Curtis Macnewton
Ever since 2020 turned into the year of Covid-19, my social media feeds have evolved into a never-ending stream of home-cooked food, bodyweight workouts, and forwarded challenges of all types.
There have been a handful of people who’ve picked up seven new languages as well as those who’ve turned into three-star Michelin chefs overnight. Then there are the ones advocating self-care from the couch, assuring everyone that it’s okay not to be productive.
I say fuck it. You’re old enough to decide what you should or should not do with your time, regardless of all the flexing—both figuratively and literally—you’re seeing on social media.
Photo: James Lee
This was written for the Reddit writing prompt: You were one of the greatest people on Earth before you died. Instead of going to Heaven, you arrive in Hell and are welcomed with open arms by Satan himself, who you learn is your real father.
What would I leave behind? My running foundations for the needy? My success in fighting climate change? The eradication of disease?
I would say that these were my last thoughts on my deathbed, but as it seemed, I just went from one way of existence into another, much like waking up from a dream. It happened so naturally that I didn’t even know I had died. Not until my guide had told me who he was, which I found it hard to believe too.
Photo: Kelly Sikkema
“I think we should break up.”
“Right,” I said. I slipped the paper rose I’d been hiding back into my pocket.
“I just want to be honest,” Lana said. She pointed out the main entrance of the shopping mall, where her new boyfriend was waiting in his car. “It’s just that he has… you know… and you don’t… you know…”
Money, she meant money. To be fair, it was one of the most honest breakups I’d ever had to endure. You had to give her credit for that.
“I get it,” I said. “Okay then. Guess I gotta go back to work.”
“You’re not mad?”
Mad? She’d been hanging out with this guy all week, told me he was just a friend she hadn’t met in a while, was breaking up with me for him, and they were heading off on a date right after this, while I’d have to spend the remaining hours of my shift dealing with customers trying to haggle a couple bucks off our pirated Playstation 2 games.