* WARNING: This story, “Serena,” contains some slightly strong language and content. It might not be suitable for sensitive souls, small children, or your boss. *
Hey, gang! Welcome to EP 01 of my new podcast, “Something That I Wrote.”
For awhile now, I’ve been trying to find some way to put out some of the things that I’ve written. Until now, they’ve just been piling up underneath my bed. They’ve been piling up, beside a Mason jar full of money I’m saving for I-dunno-what. They’ve been piling up, beside souvenirs from places that, for different reasons, I don’t want to remember I’ve been to (or who I went there with), but don’t want to forget, either. They’ve been piling up, and soon, I’ll run outta space under there to hide the things I don’t want my parents to find, so I thought I’d better start putting some of this stuff out. For my contraband’s sake, if nothing else.
So that’s what this is. It’s a way for me to put out something that I wrote.
It’s hard to know where to start with something like this. Beginnings are very important. Beginnings are very, very important, and anybody who tries to tell you otherwise is lying to you or themselves. I want this project to start strong – it needs to start strong; it has to start strong – but I don’t know if I know what that even means. I don’t know how to do this. So I sit in a booth at Tim Hortons, staring at this screen, sipping on a coffee cup till the rim’s been rolled, trying to find whatever words I think I need to say. I don’t know if it should be funny, or smart, or coy, or none of those things, and I get so frustrated and flustered, and I pull out all my hair. (I mean, I opened with a “Hey, gang” – really, Ryan? That’s what you’re gonna go with? “Hey, gang”?) I’m stumbling through this, doubtful and unsure, and though I’m doing my best to impersonate swagger, my knees can’t stop knocking, and I can’t hide my voice’s quiver. I feel like I’m losing my virginity.
There is much about this first episode that’s got me nervous. But I am certain about this: of all the things I’ve written, “Serena” is the best to start with. It works better than anything else, for many reasons. It was the first thing I wrote in 2015, and that seems too significant to deny. It’s set at New Year’s Eve, too. That helps. And it’s a story so very much about new beginnings. Mostly, though, I wanted to start with “Serena” because I think, for better or for worse, the story is so quintessentially “me.” I didn’t know it would be when I started it, though. The things I write tend to dip awfully deeply into autobiography, and I didn’t want to do that this time, so I tried to write something inspired by a friend of mine. But when I finished it I realized that, whether I meant it or not, a whole lot of it was about me, too. I think, somehow, they always are.
So this is where I will start. I think it’s a good place, and maybe it is, but maybe it isn’t. I will keep my fingers crossed, but either way, it doesn’t matter. Because sometimes, with some things, you just gotta start. Even if you don’t know what it is you’re doing, or where it’ll take you, or how it’ll all turn out when you get there – sometimes, you just gotta do it.
I think that if she could, Serena would tell you exactly that.