In Praise of Deadlines

If it weren’t for deadlines, I’d have no work at all… That isn’t true, of course, but it feels true. When I was in the fifth grade, I remember staying up late in the bathroom (legitimate room to have the light on at night) furiously copying my state report so I could hand it in in the morning. I had my sister take my Senior thesis into school; I don’t recall how long I’d been up finishing it, but I crashed that morning and slept for a long time.

Those were mandatory deadlines; now I pick and choose from the myriad deadlines offered by writing contests and literary journals that only accept work during certain months. I’ve let a few slip, but it does serve its purpose. NPR’s 3-minute fiction came at an inopportune time, but I thought about the opening line and the last one for just a day or two. I scribbled a few notes down then wrote and polished it the next day. I still rather like it. I would have preferred the fiancé’s name to have been Samuel, but in an effort to get it to read in three minutes, I had to substitute Paul.

‘A Stranger So Helpful’ was written in a similar fashion though I’d known about that contest for months. The deadline was today. I thought it was humorous that when I gave it to B__ to read, she started to and thought a few paragraphs in that it was going to turn out one way and was ready to be furious with me that I gave it to her to read. She read on. After, she said it was a story of mine that she’d give to other people to read. A high compliment.

I’m glad that even though I’ve not been on time this month (September is ALWAYS a difficult month) with this blog, at least I am going to get this post in under the self-imposed deadline. I hope October turns out a bit more staid. Staid is a state of being that is underrated…