I know, I know, this is the third time this week you’ve cut me out of a metal trash can. I haven’t yet figured out how to squeeze myself into these things without my kneecap crushing up against my throat. Yes, I’m very lucky someone spotted me each time and hailed you over before the lack of oxygen killed me. But you know the saying, a good writer can write anywhere, and I’m hell bent on literally proving—but mostly profiting from—that.
Imagine a book written entirely in uncomfortable places with completely unconventional materials. Genius, isn’t it? An aspiring novelist pens their first novel about the life of a struggling novelist by writing said novel from inside literal trash—it’s fucking poetry. And more importantly, sure to be a fucking instant bestseller.
I can practically feel myself clicking the articles now: “Breakout Author Weaves Debut Masterpiece From Tiny Spaces.” “Book of the Year Written In Literal Physical Discomfort.” “Writer Challenges Society’s Idea of Comfort to Pen Great American Novel.” I can also practically feel myself cashing the advance for my second book.
No, I’m not just doing garbage cans. Two weeks ago, I strapped my feet to my fire escape and wrote with pigeon poop while hanging upside down. I passed out multiple times. And for the past few nights, I crawled under my roommate’s bed and wrote two chapters, using dust, in the dark, while he snored so loud I swear it could power all of New York if we could harness his respiratory vibrations. I was told this morning to find a new place to live but it’ll be worth it when this book gets published and I finally have a million dollars.
It’s not like I want to write in trash cans. Or inside a dryer at my laundromat. Or between subway cars on the R train. Or hiding under the altar at my ex’s wedding. But these are the most economical options right now. Maybe after I’m highly esteemed and very wealthy, I’ll pay to have myself fastened on the outside of an Airbus, Tom-Cruise-In-Mission-Impossible-style, and write my memoir.
But for now, I need to local, a.k.a. affordable, spaces to make myself uncomfortable in. Kind of like how J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter on a typewriter because she couldn’t afford a computer. I’m not saying I’m J.K. Rowling…I’m saying I’m probably better.
Oh, I’m definitely going to try and stuff myself back into one of these trash cans. I haven’t quite nailed this particular space yet. I want to get a full chapter from each place I cram myself into and I haven’t gotten more than a few sentences from inside the cans before I start suffocating from my own anatomical limitations.
Ugh, you’re still not getting it.
Listen, I have $40,000 in student loans, $10,000 in credit card debt, a looming $1,500 medical bill from when a car hit me and the EMTs made me ride to the hospital in an ambulance, and my Twitter jokes aren’t exactly filling my savings account, you know? This is my literal last garbage ditch attempt to publish something that can financially support me—or at the least, launch me in the direction of money—before I buy a shovel, apply to grad school, and dig myself into an ever deeper hole of debt because I don’t know what else to fucking do.
So please, for the love of whomever you believe presides over this hellfire of a planet, let me keep trying to write from inside this gross bucket of public human waste.
Fine. I’ll go to a different neighborhood tomorrow. But only if you all follow me on Twitter.
Join upcoming online comedy classes like “Writing Satire for the Internet” at The Second City – 10% off with code PIC.