When you were in 7th grade, did your doodles of your crush’s name turn into creating new mashups of your last names?
I’ve continued this practice into embarrassingly mature ages. I like to daydream, and it’s way too easy to go from blushing at the thought of my next conversation with someone to picturing what our children would look like. I’ve had entire imagined futures with people I never even kissed.
For a moment, it’s fun to guess what your date would look like in wedding formalwear, where you’d live, what your dynamic would be like when you’re old and bored. But this future pacing takes some of the fun out of the actual relationship. If the daydreaming gets to the point where you see how someone’s cute qualities can become annoying, it can be easy to give up on a relationship before it’s really had a chance to blossom. Or on the other hand, you can be so dead set on your vision of a future marriage that you’re unable to see that your partner mistreats you.
A few weeks ago, I was struck by a NaNoWriMo idea on the subway. This seed was small, but dense. I smiled as I watched it unfold in my imagination while avoiding looking another fellow passenger in the eye. I became excited as I recognized the story’s potential. Then, next thing I knew, I was signing a book deal. I was receiving great reviews and the respect of my peers. I was on the New York Times bestseller list. I was receiving massive royalty checks and buying myself a TriBeCa penthouse. I even received the Nobel Prize in literature!
Then my story brought me back to reality. “Hello?” it said. “While you’re off in la-la land enjoying the spoils of your fake fame, I’m over here languishing. You haven’t even started writing yet!”
Oh, right. We just met. I don’t know if we’re getting married.
Today is All NaNo’s Eve, and I’ve committed to getting to know this story one day at a time starting tomorrow. I’m trying not to imagine what it will look like in hardcover, even though I’m tempted. I haven’t even written an outline. We’re just going to have to sit together in the present moment, just me and an idea I’m crushing on.