A writer I once knew, one who is now famous, well-regarded, and almost universally loved, wrote some of his earliest stories, ones that were eventually published in The New Yorker, at work, in secret, when the boss wasn’t looking. Like I’m doing now. I call this having an alt/tab kind of day. A day when by the swift stroke of the keyboard you quickly flip back and forth between the life you have and the life you want. A day when you pretend you’re doing one thing when you’re really doing something else. A day when what you’re getting paid to do isn’t what you’re doing. When you alternate between the screen with the spreadsheet you’re supposed to be working on, the one that’s due in a few hours, and the clandestine novel you’re writing in Word. A day when you turn down your Alice Coltrane so you can hear if your boss is quietly slooshing down the carpeted hallway to your office  in her noise-cancelling flats, like some kind of human octogenarian-driven Prius: a silent killer you don’t hear until it flattens you as you step off your creative, true-self curb. A day when you dream about the writer you want to become and try not to dwell on the fact that you’re just a minion in a basement with a banana on your desk. An alt/tab kind of day. A good day.


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