That’s where I’ve been living for the last decade or so. Wanting to finish a book, but not doing it. Sometimes writing pages and pages and pages, then long stretches of writing nothing at all. Not exactly getting where I’m trying to go. But I’ve recently learned that trying is the stupidest word in the English language. There is no trying. You either do it—or you don’t. So now I’m doing it. Putting myself out there. Long before I feel ready to be out there.

Today I read this old Paris Review interview with the newly deceased writer Barry Hannah, and was reminded that at the gawky age of thirteen I played flute in the school marching band. On one unseasonably hot afternoon, I marched up and down an empty street in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a poor-fitting powder blue polyester suit, commemorating some veteran-type holiday. Unlike Barry Hannah, I wasn’t any good at my instrument of choice. And I certainly didn’t enjoy it.

Welcome to the first day of my own personal marching band. I’m determined to be first chair—because this time, it’s my own private orchestra, my one and only life. And I’m going to practice practice practice. And I’m going to play my heart out.

That means I’m renouncing my citizenship to Procrastination Nation. For good.

The name of this blog, by the way, comes from a fantastic poem by Gerald Stern of the same name, which involves a ham sandwich, a hungry cat, an affair in Rome, and a memory of happiness.

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