The 100,000 word first draft of my book is due in September. (I'm currently a little over 60k.) Writing the book has caused my digital output to decrease quite a bit, but I'm still working; managing VSB, writing and editing pieces for VSB, and writing pieces for GQ, Slate, and The Root. I'm also a husband. And a father to an 18-month-old girl. And a Black man in Trump's America. A Black man in Trump's America who happens to live in the single Whitest major metropolitan area in the country.
Oh, and I almost died three months ago. (Actually, that's a bit of a stretch. I didn't almost die. I don't think so at least. But for a month or so after my hospital stay, I thought that I did almost die.)
Alone, each thing listed would seem to have a considerable amount of stress attached to it. Combined, it would seem to be a tsunami of stress. A stress casserole. Stress goulash. Stress bukkake. But it's pointless to even begin to think about any of that, when there's a stress jabberwocky out there too; an angst and anxiety-inducing leviathan lurking in the shadows, patiently waiting to permeate my pours and piss in my milkshake. I see it each time I check my Gmail. Or log onto Facebook. Or browse my VSB email account. And even when I check my phone, and see my texts and missed calls. It exists in the form of the thousands of emails, messages, and texts I've yet to even read, let alone reply to. And they're not all just spam. Many of them are from people I genuinely want to respond to. Texts from friends I'm totally not trying to avoid. Requests to speak at schools. Invitations to appear on podcasts or panels. Shit, at the time of writing, there are at least three emails sitting in my inbox from three separate publications where each are attempting to contact me because of money they each owe me.
I know what you're thinking. (Or, rather, what you're thinking about aside from the Burger King Mac n Cheetos. Because, once you became aware of its existence, how could you not spend every waking moment pondering the evil genius of macaroni and cheese wrapped in a cheeto?)
"Damon, why don't you just answer these emails and texts? Seems like a simple solution to a problem too simple to even call a problem. I hate you."
It's a question I've asked myself numerous times. And each time after I ask it, I convince myself that the jabberwocky isn't a jabberwocky at all. And I go to my email, confident and convinced that I'm going to read and respond to all of the emails I actually want to read and respond to. But then I see all of the other emails surrounding it. And then I feel guilty about the emails from months ago that I still haven't read or replied to, thinking "Why should these new emails get special treatment? That's racist." And then I close my email completely, and go back to Reddit to search for conversations about Kyrie Irving. Maybe I'll eat a waffle too. I like waffles. They're a good substitute for when no pancakes are available.
The more this happens, the more I'm convinced that one day, I'm going to wake up in the middle of the night, and hundreds of pitchfork and lamppost and noose-wielding emails and texts will have surrounded my bed. And the oldest unreplied to message — who the rest of the messages have anointed as their leader and named "Sam" — will methodically approach me, say "It's time" and lead me down a hallway of dampness, darkness, and deleted Google Hangouts threads.
I clearly need help. Or perhaps maybe just an intern. Yeah, I just need a fucking intern. Who wants to be my fucking intern? (To clarify, this doesn't mean I want an intern who I also sleep with. Just an intern. To answer my emails and totally definitely not have sex with me at all. Also, if this intern wants, they can help me research romp-appropriate rompers.)