When I had a few months left before leaving New York, I decided to make list of all of the things I wanted to do before I left. I know this is called a bucket list, but I think the phrase “bucket list” is stupid and embarrassing. It reminds me of people who read those 1,000 Places To See Before You Die books or are Australian or say things like, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I’d rather sleep during my afternoon nap than have to wait till I’m dead.
So, I made an experiential to-do list and read it aloud to my roommate while she was trying to do something else. After I had finished, she asked, “Is there anything new that you want to do?” She had a point. Almost every experience was one I had already experienced, most of them many times, some within the last day. It included Prospect Park, the/a beach, dancing, Sly Fox, and “a show!” The one new thing was “Statue of Liberty,” which was also the only item that had a “maybe :/” next to it. But the thing was, I didn’t want to do new things. I wanted to do more of the things I liked. A list that was all new would be like a dying person saying, “I want to spend my last days making small talk with strangers instead of hanging out with the friends I love.” I wanted to spend my last days hanging out with the friends I love, not finally going to the Natural History Museum.
The idea was always to write the most perfectly self-conscious Leaving New York Essay™. To strike some kind of balance between a Joan Didion ripoff and an Awl satire of a Joan Didion ripoff. Did anyone ever move to New York just to write a leaving New York essay? I’m here to tell you that someone did. The idea of even feeling the need to write a LNYE (pronounced len-yee) is weird because it suggests that you need to explain yourself to New York, when the nice thing about a city is that it doesn’t need your explanation. As much as Sex and The City wanted us to think it, New York isn’t your boyfriend. Not least because New York is obviously female.
Since New York isn’t your dumb boyfriend, it’s free to be perfect, and New York is perfect. There is nothing more New York than New York itself, which you can’t say for everywhere. For example: there’s nothing more Napa than Tuscany, and there’s nothing more San Francisco than hell. New York is especially itself in the summer. For a person from the West Coast this is exemplified by the wholly foreign concept of warm nights. Everything is hazy, lazy, sweating with strangers on the subway platform. Watching the day fade into the long blue nights while you’re playing it as it lays on the book of common prayer. The first time I ever came to New York was in the summer. I was 20 and my dad and I had driven from Seattle to meet my mom at this East Village duplex we had somehow rented for three weeks. I still consider this the happiest time of my life. I was taking a lot of Percocet due to a wisdom teeth extraction that had gone terribly awry, but there was more to it than that. Besides powerful narcotic medication, a confluence of factors came together to make me more susceptible to New York than I would have been at another time: A terrible haircut had finally grown out, but the strength of character that comes from enduring a terrible haircut remained. My longtime boyfriend and I had broken up, and I was deeply interested in a Canadian who may or may not have just gotten deported. (Was anyone ever so dumb? I’m here to tell you that someone was.) I was headed into my senior year of college having emerged from a lonely junior year filled with insomnia and sweatpants. Someone had informed me that writing can be a viable career option.
That was the beginning of my life in New York even though I wouldn’t move there for another four years. The city instantly made sense to me in a way no other place had. I lived in San Francisco before coming to New York, and when I was leaving people would ask if I would miss it. I couldn’t understand what they meant. Who could miss a city? Now I know who.
What I’ll miss most about New York are the small things, which New York manages to imbue with a cinematic quality that keeps you here. Riding the subway has never ceased to feel cool to me. Although, riding the morning L train with 1,000 other 28-year-olds shoving each other so that they can get to their graphic design job first has never ceased to feel embarrassing. The high of being asked which direction 6th Avenue is and knowing the answer. Not just wearing shoes but ruining their lives. Walking outside on winter mornings and being like “Why do I live here?” and then looking over at the shivering person walking next to me and them looking away. The party starting at nine and no one showing up till one. The party starting at nine and no one showing up at all because there are like eight other, better parties. Sleeping over at friends’ apartments, which is something I did in New York even though I have my own apartment and am not eleven. Rising up out of the ground as the Q train heads over the bridge toward Brooklyn and looking at the graffiti and laundry strung up on the roofs. Roofs. The only heaven I can imagine is drinking beer on a Brooklyn roof at magic hour as you watch the sun turn gold over the Manhattan skyline. The Manhattan skyline! Returning to New York after being away and getting that first glimpse of the pointy buildings and being like, “Yas kweeeeeeen!” Seeing celebrities, unless they are models. The worst thing about New York is accidentally sitting next to a model on the subway and then spending the whole ride trying to make your appendages look longer. The best thing about New York is the talking. I recently had two west coasters say things like, New York is great, but all people do there is sit in bars and talk. Can you imagine anything better?
Thanks to all this perfection, New York is a good place to hone your jealousy. Even when you live here it usually feels like peering in from Jersey City. In New York there are at any one time, 6,000 people who are better than you at the only thing you’re good at. You’re at once special and the opposite of that. How many special people fit on the head of a pin? It depends: The more special people the smaller and more insane each one gets.
At some point, I got to this place where I started saying things like “I got to this place.” It was also a place where I didn’t want to work at Buzzfeed but was also jealous of people who worked at Buzzfeed. This both wanting to and not wanting to work at Buzzfeed is a pretty impossible position to be in in New York. I realized that you can spend your whole life being bitter about Buzzfeed or you can leave New York and never think about Buzzfeed again or only think about it in the way that regular people do, which is like, “Oh, that thing.” I’m not trying to demean the thoughtful journalism that people do at Buzzfeed. I’m trying to say I don’t want a job at Buzzfeed but am furious that I also can’t have one.
Working in media in New York is like working at a restaurant: After awhile it gets hard to eat the food. Writing for a fashion magazine was the fulfillment of a childhood dream. What do you do when you realize your childhood dreams weren’t very well informed? In my case, you spend six months not leaving your apartment. Then you decide to move back to Washington and become a nurse. I know a lot of people will have questions about this like, What is Washington? and, Which way is 6th Avenue? I can answer the latter. Geographical cures aren’t permanent, but there’s nothing like a new place to wake you up for six months. After that you’re on your own. It seems like the whole point of travel is to come home again. And I’m ready to make my point.
When I told someone that I was changing my whole life—you only get so many chances at melodrama—they asked how old I was. When I said I was 28 they said that made sense because of something called the Saturn Return, which basically means that every 30 years you have to make a huge change or risk lifelong anxiety. I’m no stranger to anxiety, but I liked this idea because it made me feel good about what what I had already decided to do, which I think is the point of astrology. At some point you start to know yourself and one thing that I’ve learned, which is contrary to what I’ve said in every job interview I’ve had since I was 15, is that I am not a fast learner. I spent six months describing a certain dish at the restaurant where I work as “little fried dough pieces” and wondering why no one ever ordered it. I’m a slow learner, because I learn by feeling my way around in the dark instead of listening when someone tells me where the light switch is. You can learn a lot of interesting things this way, but I’ll tell you, it takes forever.
Living with parents is nice, except it’s weird to have people constantly observing your every move. “Is that a second glass of wine?” “Who’s calling you?” “Are you going to put the cheese away?” “Why did you sleep so late?” “Why does the dog like you more than me?” “Are you taking another shower?”…“Huh, okay.”
Regular roommates observe your every move too, but they don’t study it like how you might study a very difficult chemistry problem or a stray dog headed your way. They also don’t comment on it, because your roommate knows they themselves are not above reproach. Parents would probably love for you to observe and reproach them, but as you told them just yesterday, I HAVE A LIFE, MOM!
The worst is actually when they don’t comment, because it usually means they are too horrified to fully process your latest affront and will need time to think about it before knocking on your door three days later while you’re in the middle of an episode of The Good Wife— “Are you watching anotherepisode?”—to say, “I’ve been thinking about what you said the other day…” Whenever my mom says that she has been thinking about something I said the other day, I know nothing good is coming. Then she will relay some observation she has recently made and how it fits into some pattern of bad behavior she has actually been observing for decades, but has not been able to fully comprehend until now when I have handed her the last piece of the nasty little puzzle. If I argue she’ll say, “Okay,” in a serene way that suggests you can only lead a 28-year-old to water. You can’t make them fall in love with the nice guy down the block.
Two years ago a hot couple sat down next to me at a restaurant. I was eating alone, and hated them immediately, because come on hot couple. But then miraculously, they started fighting. Like right away. Like maybe they had come there for that express purpose. Like maybe just the idea of imminent pho makes them hot, hot couple. It was the kind of exchange you don’t really see outside of therapy: “Hi,” “Hi,” “I want to die.”
Maybe I had missed the fight foreplay. It’s entirely possible that things had happened in their relationship before I arrived on the scene, which is pretty annoying for a spectator. But whatever had previously happened, she had just been reminded that he was fucking his lab partner, Kara. Of course hot couple would be brought down by someone named Kara.
One thing was for sure, and that was that hot couple was terrible at fighting. They were talking about something serious—she was accusing him of cheating on her—but neither of them seemed to have any emotional investment in it whatsoever. Which maybe is how it is when you’re a hot couple. Regular looking people fight like IF WE DON’T RESOLVE THIS FIGHT I’LL NEVER LOVE AGAIN, but hot couple? They both knew there were other med students to fuck. One of them had already found one.
It was one of those fights where people go right into self-righteous indignation without ever even trying to explain themselves. Like in romantic comedies when the woman sees her beloved holding hands with another woman, and for some unfathomable reason, when confronted, the beloved goes straight to, “I can’t believe you would think I would ever hold anyone else’s hand,” and doesn’t even try to explain that it was his sister.
Hot guy was weakly denying that he was fucking his lab partner, but mainly just saying, “I can’t believe you would say that,” which usually means the person is buying time trying to think of an excuse for fucking their lab partner.
Their food came, which was when she threatened to leave. Well I thought she was threatening to leave. She said, “I’m going to get mine to go.” But then she just sat there, and it became clear to both him and I that she literally meant she was going to get her food to go. She wasn’t going to leave. She just wasn’t going to eat in this environment.
Then he, apparently having exhausted all avenues of reasoning, said, “Why don’t you just break up with me then? Just break up with me if you don’t want to deal with this.” “This” presumably being the complicatedness that is him and his lab partner’s love affair. He didn’t say “Relationships take work!” but that’s what he meant. Sometimes in a relationship you have to work to keep your boyfriend from fucking Kara. They were both so disengaged with the idea of “Kara” that it almost seemed like she was being used as proxy for what the fight was actually about, but usually you use something smaller to symbolize the bigger issue, you don’t accuse someone of cheating to say you’re mad about the dishwasher.
So he’s half-heartedly commanding that she break up with him, and she’s just sitting there not even being like, “You should be BEGGING me to stay with you after essentially admitting that you’re sleeping with your lab partner.” I was starting to get the impression that these people were crazy.
Then she hissed: “Why don’t you just leave and I’ll pay for this. I’ll pay for all of this.” She said it like it was a threat, but a threat is supposed to be something the other person doesn’t want, not something that would be awesome.
Then I had to leave, because it was so clear that nothing was going to happen. In the beginning I was worried someone was going to throw hot soup on someone else, but then it became clear that this was their thing. This was their relationship. Hot, angry med students passive aggressively working out their issues over pho.
There is no greater horror (in a life with few horrors) than getting the check after dining or drinking with a large group of people. The worst worst time is when everyone has cash except for you, so they’re like “How about you put it on your card and we’ll give you money?” That innocent sounding “How about…” always ends with you putting $200 on your debit card and them handing you 16 crumpled ones, and you being like, “What the fuck?” and everyone being like “I put in the correct amount PLUS a little extra for tax,” and then turning back to their conversations to leave you to be evicted from your apartment. The best worst time is when some extremely chill person who has never been out to dinner before is like “Just give me your cash and I’ll put it on my card,” and you’re like “Okay,” but are thinking: welcome to hell motherfucker.
On Saturday I somehow got into one of these situations at an outdoor bar in Brooklyn. Before the check came, I had worked out a PLAN with my two friends—a couple who no one knew except me—wherein I would give them $4 for my beer and they would put our THREE beers on their card. (Do I have everyone’s rapt attention?) Everyone else had put in cash, so when the check did come we were the defacto guardians of the check folder. As their card was being charged, we were counting the cash and continually coming up $5 short. This is actually a great position to be in when you’ve already given all of your cash to someone else and therefore can harass other people about their miserliness without worrying for one second that you might have to pony up more money. “Hey you guys,” I said to the group at large. “We’re a little short here.” I said this in the semi-aggrieved but ever so slightly self-satisfied tone of a person who never gets the opportunity to take on the responsible role in group. Everyone was all “I put in the correct amount PLUS a little extra for tax,” but weirdly didn’t turn away and instead kept looking at me expectantly. I had the floor. “Well, I’m not sure what’s going on, but we are a little short.” I felt like the waitress who tells you that that table you want is actually reserved, i.e. sure of my position and trying hard to contain my glee. People looked a little panicked. “I’m not sure what you guys want to do,” I said, distancing myself from this group of ragamuffin scoundrels who went out drinking but couldn’t pay their tab or do math. A tall girl took a $5 out of her wallet and offered it to the gaping maw of the check folder. “Thanks,” I said, smiling conspiratorially like, it’s hard being the only adults on Earth. The problem solved, everyone started heading toward the exit. My couple friends and I trailed a little behind having just signed the check and realized that we had actually gotten four beers.
Take a moment to find the exit nearest you, and remember it may be behind you. Sometimes we overlook the most obvious potential mates because they are behind us, and we can’t see out the backs of our heads. Make it a habit to turn around whenever you think of it.
In the event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the panel in front of you. Be sure to secure your own mask before assisting others. Always look out for number one. You can’t be in a relationship if you already died of oxygen deprivation.
If you’re seated in an emergency exit row please review the responsibilities for emergency exit seating on the back of the safety information card. If you’re unable to perform these functions just let us know and we’d be happy to find you another seat. You can change to a different row, but you’ll never be able to change the row itself, because those seats are bolted down. An emergency exit row will always be an emergency exit row, so if you want to stretch your legs out, don’t cry when you have to be the first one down the slide in the event of a water landing.
Your mobile phones and other electronic devices should be turned off during takeoff. If you’re dating a person who won’t stop looking at their phone, have him arrested by an air marshal.
Keep your seatbelt fastened at all times, even if the seatbelt sign is turned off. Sometimes planes drop like 1,000 for no reason and people break their necks on the cabin ceiling. Maintain constant vigilance over your heart.
Remember, most seat cushions can be used as flotation devices. If you have sex with guys who are already your friends, you don’t have to go out and buy a life jacket.
The word “selfie” has only been in the dictionary for a month, but for many people, the definition has already changed from “an image of oneself taken by oneself” to simply “an image.” Just because a photo was shared on Instagram, or was taken by someone under 30, or is of a human, does not mean it’s a selfie. For those who are still confused, here are 13 ways to differentiate between the selfie and the not-selfie.
1. If the photo was taken from farther than arm’s length away, that’s not a selfie.
2. Unless it was taken facing a mirror, which is a mirror-assisted selfie (mirfie), a recognized selfie subgroup.
3. If you hear someone say, “Can you take a selfie of us?” the answer is no, I literally cannot, because that’s not a selfie.
4. If you hear someone say, “Can you take a selfie of me?” that person doesn’t understand the boundary between the self and others, which can be dangerous in romantic relationships.
5. If the photo is of a cat, that’s not a selfie due to the selfie law of opposable thumbs.
6. If the photo is of Hilaria Baldwin doing yoga in her refrigerator, that’s terrible, but that’s not a selfie.
7. If the photo is of a butt, that’s a belfie.
8. Unless it’s not blurry. It’s scientifically impossible to take a clear belfie.
9. If it’s taken from an unflatteringly low angle, that’s a selfie of your mom.
10. If you can see armpit, that’s definitely a selfie.
11. If it’s a picture of a plane wing, that’s not a selfie. That’s my Instagram.
12. If it’s this picture of Ai Weiwei’s leg gun, that’s not a selfie; that’s a political statement.
13. Unless he was using a timer, then that could be a selfie. But people who use timers to take pictures of themselves should be treated with caution, because why don’t they have friends to take selfies of them?
How long has it been? It’s crazy! The fact that it’s been so long since I’ve seen yo face is a crime. It is seriously a criminal act. Someone should be arrested. Someone should be shot!! Haha, but if you shot me we wouldn’t be able to finally get together, like we NEED to do! Oh, yeah this week doesn’t work for me either. But don’t think it’s because I don’t want to get together with you, because it is crazy how much I want to get together with you. I mean, it’s all I talk to you about! I’m seriously always telling the people whom I actually hang out with how much I miss you. Like just the other night Ann and I were out in your neighborhood and we were talking about how much we LOVE you, and we were like, I WISH she was here! We totally should have texted you, but then we would have had to stop missing you, and how could we, like ever, stop? Anyway, we have to get drinks like yesterday. Because if I have to go one more week without seeing that face I might make a joke about us not even being friends anymore, which would be insane because I love hanging out with you so much.
You receive it and open the box with excitement and trepidation. There is always some trepidation of course, because there’s always some aspect of the item that you couldn’t fully comprehend online. Something that required holding it in your hands, something that if wrong could be ruinous. But even with that possibility of ruin, of return shipping labels and a lunchtime trip to the post office, you were willing to take a leap of faith, because isn’t it better to have tried to buy a thing online than to have never tried to buy a thing online at all?
Not least because sometimes you end up keeping the item even though the defect you feared came to pass. You do this partly because of the aformentioned return labels and partly because once you have the item you start to question whether the thing you thought was wrong is really so wrong. Maybe it is you who was wrong about this thing. You try to change your perspective by asking yourself questions like: If I saw this on a street style blog would I think it was wrong? Could this item help me get on a street style blog, or at least help me to become some approximation of someone who could get on one? Some crude sculpture of a street style star, not yet cast in a devastating ensemble that is the perfect mix of high and low.
Sometimes, a lot of the time, things are good because they are chosen, and soon the chosen thing, that in the beginning seemed to have some ruinous flaw—like the too deep body on this goddamn bag—becomes something you couldn’t imagine living without, and instead of changing (or exchanging) that thing, you try to change your feelings about the thing. You’ll change your whole life around this thing if you have to. You always used to be a perfectionist, unwilling to spend money on things that you weren’t 100 percent sure you loved more than any other thing in that category, but now you think maybe you were wrong about the things you were wrong about, or that maybe it’s the wrongness that you were missing all this time—the hint of dissatisfaction that makes you hold tight.
Last weekend, my friend who does casting agent for a reality TV show called “Who’s Your [Redacted]” (It’s not out yet and I’m not sure if, whatever, I don’t want to get in trouble) but she asked me to come be in the b-roll of a scene where this van drives into Union Square and people gawk at it. I said yes, assuming I would be one of hundreds (thousands?) of gawkers, pointing—and for some reason I got it in my head—waving at a van as it drove by, at which point I would pop on over to craft services and then pop on home. The whole thing would take one hour.
But movie people are all liars as it turns out. First of all there were only four of us extras, or “recruits” as my friend kept saying into the secret service microphone clipped to her shirt. Secondly, we were not just going to be gawking (or even waving) at a passing van, but were actually going to approach said van in pairs and then act like we were surprised and then ask what was going on with it and be asked if we wanted a DNA test all under the watchful eyes of 3 huge cameras and about 10,000,000 gawking tourists, who had unwittingly stolen the job I had signed up for. “Just act like you would if you were to see a weird van like that in real life,” my friend said. But how would I do that when my natural reaction upon seeing a weird van would be to look at my phone or pretend to count something on my fingers?
The problem is, I’m terrible on camera. I get really nervous and my face starts shaking and I sweat and I also don’t know how to act. One time I was asked to be in a “fun” “little” “movie” for a magazine where I was interning and I was like okay because I was an intern and it seemed like an honor to be asked. They brought in a whole camera crew and it took all day and then they saw the video and immediately were like, “While we LOVE what you did, we’re going to redo the whole thing without you in it.”
It’s not that I can’t act like a character on camera, it’s just that the character I’m acting like is not a human being.
So there we were standing on a street corner with the instructions to cross the street, then walk down a block, then notice the van to our left and walk toward it. The first pair went and it took forever, which terrified me even more because I was left wondering what kind of crazy, embarrassing things they were being made to do and how many really hard questions about the Affordable Care Act they were having to answer in front of Barack Obama—which was pretty much the scenario that my level of fear matched. What it did not match was walking up to a van and saying, “Oh, what’s this?”
By this point we were all joking about how scared I was and I kept making jokes like, “I can’t breathe.” Everyone was laughing, me loudest of all, in a maniacal, desperate way that makes people move away from people on the subway. I really wanted to leave. Suddenly, it was our turn. It was three of us: me, my friend B and the casting agent’s boyfriend, Y. I had insisted they be in my group, because both of them are very charismatic and I knew that I could count on at least one of them to “steal the show.” No one had ever wanted something to be stolen from them more than I wanted that show stolen from me.
We crossed the street and marched shoulder to shoulder down the sidewalk, like anyone would do if they had just met up with some friends and were headed straight to a firing squad. We were approaching the place where we would “react naturally” to the van. I was on the left and the van was also on the left, which made what I did next even more awkward than it would have otherwise been. They started to turn toward the van, but instead of also turning, as I had spent 2 hours mentally preparing to do, I just kept walking, which, because of my positioning in the group required me to basically walk right in front of them and actually push them out of the way with my arm. I then hid in a doorway for the rest of the shoot, periodically saying to the two girls who had gone before me, “Do you think they’re going to come try and make me be in it?” To which they responded, “No one wants you in it,” and they were right. Later my friend texted me saying how much she appreciated me coming and how great it was that I had tried, and failed, but more importantly tried to conquer my fears, which made me feel like I had accomplished something that day, which is sort of all you can ask of a Sunday.
there’s no such thing as “writing a screenplay.” There’s only not writing a screenplay or having already written one. Everything else is make believe.
My friend Allison and I had decided to write a screenplay. So she came over after work, and first we had to buy a bottle of wine, because it had been a long Monday. In order to do so we had to find a wine store. I actually knew exactly where a wine store was, and I told her, but since she was the one buying the wine—a housewarming gift—she had to be the one to go to the store, so while I could relate to her where the wine store was, and did, it obviously took longer than if I had just gone with her, which didn’t seem like an option at the time and still doesn’t.
When she returned with the wine, we set up shop by pouring it into glasses and positioning ourselves around the living room. I sprawled on the floor and she sat on the couch with the computer sitting next to her at a more jaunty angle than one would have used if one were actually going to type something, but luckily we were not going to type at that moment because we needed to discuss our weekends. She had gone to the lake with some friends of our mutual friend, and I wondered why I hadn’t been invited but didn’t ask, because there were almost certainly a myriad of reasons, the first being I wouldn’t have gone. My weekend had consisted of moving into my new apartment, staying up all night, and then sleeping for 24 hours straight, which is maybe the reason people don’t invite me to their lake houses, but who’s to say, or ask? Not me.
We had previously decided on the subject matter of our screenplay, which would be one night in the lives of a pair of completely ineffective MDMA dealers. Once we had typed that sentence into a Google.doc, we were able to relax a little and bat around some ideas and Allison had a frankly brilliant idea for the pre-credits sequence, which either is or isn’t film speak for “before the credits start.” We were so pleased with this small but important breakthrough that we decided to order pizza from the place down the street.
The pizza was to take 45 minutes, and we decided that we would work for the duration of that time, which would almost certainly have worked, had not the pizza shown up after only 20 minutes, that came right on the heels of a 20 minute conversation about whether we should use bitcoins to order drugs from India. It was at the moment that we were about to start working in earnest that the doorbell rang, putting a stop to everything. I went to get the pizza while Allison texted her friend Grace in LA to ask her how to write a screenplay. Next, we spent a not inconsequential amount of time getting situated: trying to find plates and napkins (there were none), me admonishing Allison to not get grease on my couch, her realizing she hadn’t really been that hungry to begin with, me devouring three pieces of pizza in quick succession, since as long as I was actively eating I could put off trying to figure out how to write a screenplay, and just repeat over and over again, “But how do you actually WRITE it?” I had also started to wonder why we were doing this at all. Was this a story that needed to be told? But I didn’t say anything about my creeping doubts since I didn’t want to sap the momentum that we were surely about to gain. The pizza gone, we decided to block out the first scene during which our protagonist dealers (one sweet and responsible, the other unpredictable and mean) would arrive at the McKibbon Lofts to sell drugs to drunk 23-year-olds.
“So they go inside right?” Me.
“Yeah, I think so,” Allison.
“So they walk in the door, then they walk another door, and then I guess they’re there?” Me.
One scene completed, we decided to brainstorm how we would pitch it to the people in L.A. who we would meet in elevators and have 30-seconds to say, “Breaking Bad meets Frances Ha meets Jawbreaker meets your mom on a dark corner. LOL BYEEEE.” Finally her “friend” Grace (as much as any screenwriting rival can be a friend) texted her back to say that the key to writing a screenplay is to outline the acts (3) and then sit down and don’t stop writing until you’re done. I had a panic inducing flash of sitting hunched over a typewriter for three days, but then remembered about computers and felt somewhat better. We were both so heartened by this straightforward advice—make a plan and then execute it quickly—that we decided to end the night on a high note and reconvene in a week to pick up where we had left off. After all, Good Will Hunting wasn’t built in a day.