Ten years ago, I began a writing project that had been birthed by an encroaching sense of dwindling mortality. My 30s were ramping up to their inevitable crescendo, and while I had long ago achieved my ideal family situation, and while I was waist-deep in the muck of earning an overdue degree to advance my career, my writing skills were… well, they were somewhat poopish.
Out came 1,000 articles on 1,000 topics in 1,000 days. A neat little bundle which happened to belch its final fanfare on the day before my fortieth birthday. How could I possibly follow up this serendipitous opus?
As it turns out, I could follow it up rather poorly. For all the magic and soul-tickling mayhem that surrounded my initial project, its sequel was beset with an equal dollop of clunky misfortune. Jodie (the tragic heroine of this story who has been cursed with matrimonial shackles to me and all my dough-brained schemes) and I sought to celebrate every possible holiday and National Whatever Day we could find. Over 2,300, all in a year. With as many as a dozen things to toast every day, how could it go wrong?
For starters, the year was 2020. We’d planned a trip in a glider, a voyage in a self-driving car, frolicking with penguins… and by mid-March the world shut down. Our project did not – I am as stubborn as a kidney stone and I was determined to squeeze through the narrow urethra of a defunct society to get these celebrations out into the world somehow. So I wrote. And wrote. And researched and wrote some more. Can’t take a ride on National Roller Coaster Day? Okay, let’s learn about roller coasters. Most days resulted in over 2,000 words, sometimes as much as 5,000.
In the end, the project was a success in the sense that it was fully completed. We can disregard the fact that it made me want to symbolically toss my computer into a wood chipper. We can also overlook the reality that I have forsaken giving any notice to National Anything Day (even National Doughnut Day) in the year and a half since this project ended. I’d hoped my second project would be Godfather II, instead it wound up being Zoolander 2.
Or maybe not. Maybe there’s a way to lessen the disappointment of Celebrate366. Maybe it could be my Temple of Doom dip in story-telling, followed by my Last Crusade uptick. Apologies to those of you who prefer the second Indiana Jones movie, but you’re simply wrong.
I’ve made a few tweaks to ensure this project won’t suffer the same fate as my last one. First, there is no time limit. Jodie and I will go on 1,000 dates in however damn long that takes. I understand that one date per week will take this into the realm of 20 years, so of course we’ll move a little quicker than that. There is also no minimum word count for each article, though I have ample faith in my tendency to yammer, so 1,000 words will probably be roughly where we land.
But I have no clear vision for this project. I conceived it out of my love for my wife and my love for great music, and I’m fusing the two concepts through my giddy penchant for juggling pretty words. But how will each album enhance, reinforce, or somehow intertwine with each date? I have no earthly idea. I can only have faith that two magnificent muses – one being my favorite human and one comprised of unearthly aural bliss – will work their magic and permit me to create… something.
Jodie will helm our social media, and I’ll focus on the palatial paragraphs to fortify us from the ever-present spectre of ennui and complacency. And if nothing else, I’ll get a thousand dates with my wife and I only had to get her to say yes once. No matter what, this will be fun.