Friends, recent graduates, and those who refuse to be bored, lend me your ears. And by ears, I mean keyboards, hours of otherwise fruitless activity, and unbeknownst wit and candor. For as the summer sun begins to rise and the tomes of textbooks are stuffed into the backs of a closet, the time has fallen upon us yet again: the Essay-A-Week Challenge.
To those who do not know, the Essay-A-Week Challenge began as nothing more as the musings of a madman, Alec Thomson. As he said just a year ago, “I enjoy writing, and I enjoy reading the writing of others. For the past few weeks, I’d been wondering how I could do more of both, when I had an idea. What if I were to post 16 essay topics, one for each week of summer?”
As it is with Alec, that’s exactly what happened. Topics were posted and writers flocked like sheep. Some wrote until an early onset of alcoholism was apparent, others regretted that they had started a blog, and some were even disappointed for much the very same reason. Yet with each article, the writers displayed their creative urgency, their radiant personalities, and an unquestionable genius that haunted each and every one of their words. The way I see it, each article – however hesitantly written and perhaps personally exposing – was the stuff of the gods.
And like a god, the soon-to-be tradition needs a second coming.
So here’s how things will work. Below are a schedule of topics. Like always these are just guidelines and if people want to write about other things, that is certainly allowed. I will be posting my first essay here on May 4th, and I will continue posting one essay each week until August 31th. I cordially invite you to do the same. Like Alec did last year, I’m also hoping to post a weekly Index: a list of the other blogs. If you’d like to be included on the index, just let me know.
Without further ado, hours of unbridled expression await:
1. May 4th: We all have secrets. Some of them involve the Kardashians. Others involve that stench underneath your bed. Whatever they are, tell us something no one knows about you.
2. May 11th: Imagine it. The ability to lift something with your mind. The possibility of hearing what other people think. The power to do what you want, when you wanted it. That would be the life. And in turn, that is the question: if you could have any super power, what would it be?
3. May 18th: Immanuel Kant never ventured more than 20 km from his small city of Königsberg. Great as a philosopher as he was, I think he would have trouble answering this question: if you were to leave this very second, dropping everything you were doing, where would you go?
4. May 25th: Believe it or not, you used to poo yourself. You used to play barbies or Lego or whatever. Then you hit puberty. Life became confusing. Life is confusing. Now you’re here, wherever that is, with worries and success combining together in an eerie mixture. But what if you could rewind or go forward. What if you could be any age, what age would you choose?
5. June 1st: No explanation. No answer. Just one question: why. What that means, you’ll have to figure out.
6. June 8th: Life isn’t always dandy. Sometimes it’s black and blue. Sometimes it’s just plain ugly. Sure any side of this side of the grass is greener, but some days feel like the grass is on fire. Tell us about that day. Tell us about your biggest failure or greatest regret.
7. June 15th: If you aren’t still sulking from the last essay, maybe you remembered that someone helped you out during those dark days. Maybe they made it worse. Either or, write about the worst or best advice ever given.
8. June 22nd: Face it, time is fleeting and us right along with it. Our skin will sag. Our looks will diminish. We’ll never be who we are now ever again. In the end, we will all die. Yet what do we want our last words to be?
9. June 29th: The world is fascinating and the people in it even more so. There are so many great minds, such inspirational individuals. Yet if you could have breakfast with one person, who would it be and what would you eat?
10. July 6th: Heartaches suck. So does indigestion. Love is a combination of the too. For the strong hearted, the question this week is should you fall in love?
11. July 13th: If you were writing your autobiography, what would your 237 page say. Who knows, at this point in the challenge you may have already written that autobiography.
12. July 20th Write a how to _____. Maybe it’s how to write a blog. Maybe it’s how to regret starting one. Whatever it is, tell us how to do it.
13. July 27th: The cliché is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, let’s try to turn it around: let’s reduce a thousand words into a picture. This week, just post one picture of something, anything.
14. August 3rd: Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones – if you could add yourself into a book, what would it be?
15. August 10th: Let’s pretend that someone knows everything. Any question, and it will be answered. Call them God. Call them your Father when you were three. Whatever you call them, what would the three questions you would ask and why?
16. August 17th: Easy one: write a letter that will change the world.
17. August 24th: You’re walking on a bus. You see that there’s a seat. And it’s clean. Que the music. Literally. This week, ask yourself what would the soundtrack to your life be?
18. August 31st: It’s over. You’ve done it. Climbing over mountains of poorly chosen words and a knack for misspellings, you finished the challenge. Yet something whispers to you in the distance – something you wish you would’ve said. What is it?
And let it begin, for better or for worse.