th.jpg tambourine with hand

If you missed the beginning, the saga of my four weeks in writing hell starts here.

Besides inundating us with preparatory requirements, JFM made us—dare I say it?—write every day for at least an hour. The first week we could write about anything. We could even write about how hard it was to write, a topic I abused frequently and thoroughly.

But Week Two was different. Week Two was the goal we eager students had striven toward since first cracking the spines of our Grammatically Correct grammar bibles. We’d watched videos, written at least sixty minutes every day, communicated with our accountability partners via daily soul-baring emails detailing our writing successes and failures, made trepidation-tinged forays into the inner sanctum of the community forum, promised our firstborn to the writing gods—all leading up to Week Two. Time to walk the talk, to pound the keyboard pavement in earnest.

JFM laid down the writing law via YouTube and disappeared into cyberspace, promising we wouldn’t see him for another week. Write, he said, just write. He called it jam session writing—like a bunch of musicians hanging out in the garage, playing music, and having fun. It was basically just like the first week, with one major difference. Week 1 writing had been “whatever.” But week 2? The same topic every day.

My frivolous self skipped off to play tambourine with the garage band in my head while my workhorse self drove us crazy trying to come up with a worthy topic. Finally a sentence sprang out of nowhere and latched onto my cerebrum like some brain-sucking space alien from a Fifties sci-fi movie: “I contemplated naming my youngest daughter Olivia Octavia Penelope Smith because her initials would spell OOPS.” Perfect! I had nine months of inspiration to draw from and seven days to write.

What could possibly go wrong?