I’d been talking about writing a book on Russia ever since I left the place (10 years ago), started writing it 3 or 4 years ago, started actually writing it (as in, several words at a time) last year, and I’m now at the point where a couple of weeks would do the trick and my work would be over. Which is exactly what I had in July, since I was tagging along in Berlin as my fiancée was starting a new job and I was free to sit at any coffee shop and, well, write.
Which I did, to some extent. But, mostly, I focused on the next thing, the thing that would come after the book. You have to understand, for all these years I was supposed to write the frigging book, it looked like enough of an end goal. But, now that I could see that end in the not-too-distant future, I had to focus on something else. Thus not doing what I supposed to and finishing said book. It’s always easier to write a to-do than to write — period.
And that next thing was an intellectual venture I’d be thinking about on and off for years, with particular insistence in the past few months (see the trend here?) without quite being able to set what it was exactly I wanted to talk about. After all, ideas are a fairly vast topic. Then, on my last day in Berlin (no joke), as I was taking my morning shower (around noon), it hit me: a connection between my ideas on society and politics and the ever growing issue of sustainability and climate change.
I had my new idea. Now, I needed to implement it. Which, incredibly, I did that very next afternoon: I wrote a piece that sort of set the tone for further theories. I was fairly satisfied with it, which is no minor victory, as I tend to rewrite even the lousiest of jokes (likely making it worse in the process). I didn’t publish it, though: I gave myself a day to think it over and proofread. Which I did the next day, on the plane back to Paris.
So there we were: it was Friday night and I had the first article for my new intellectual venture ready. I wasn’t gonna publish it right then and there, though, right? I figured I’d wait till Saturday: my fiancée was having her bachelorette party all weekend (I’d been warned, so as to plan my Starbucks sessions accordingly), there was plenty of time to publish a 7 000-sign blog post.
A friend of my fiancée stayed over on Friday (for said bachelorette party), we all woke up together on Saturday morning and had breakfast, then they went away to visit sex shops (obviously) and I was left to my own devices. Meaning, I opened Youtube and started checking Stephen Colbert videos (obviously) until my brother messaged me to offer coffee and possible brunch right down the house.
How could I refuse? I figured I had the rest of the weekend to publish that damn’ text, so I could do brunch. I got out of the house, only to find half a dozen of my best friends waiting for me in the street: turns out they’d managed to keep it a secret, but my bachelor party was actually happening at the same time as my fiancée’s bachelorette party!
To be clear, we didn’t go to any sex shops, we went to much more serious places instead: an escape room, an arcade and a private, Japanese-style karaoke where I sang Bohemian Rhapsody three times. Just kidding: they didn’t let me. My brother, meanwhile, sang “Barbie girl” suspiciously well. The girl part.
My friends being somewhat lazier than my fiancée’s, we were done by Saturday night (or, rather, early morning) as the girl went on Sunday morning with drinks above the Moulin Rouge (didn’t know that was possible) and boat ride (f***). Which meant, on the upside, that I could have finally published my thing. But I was too tired, was supposed to meet with friends from the US, had planned a one-on-one with the cat… in short, I didn’t do shit. This was after all the weekend, I felt an urge to follow the labor code and sit that one out.
I finally published my new piece yesterday. As for the Russia book, I’ll have to get back to you on that.