Shitty Romantic Myth, Happy Birthday to This is the End of Something But It’s Not the End of You by Adam Gnade, 2/14/2020

Excerpt from the novel, This is the End of Something But It’s Not the End of You by Adam Gnade, released by Three One G and Bread & Roses Press two years ago today, 2/14/2020

In Portland, in the daytime, I kept to myself in my bedroom or sat outside under the big walnut tree in the backyard at a wooden desk I’d pulled from a curb up on 51st. I had a notebook and a short dagger sitting next to it—a small bayonet, sharp, with a rust-blacked blade—and sometimes a cup of coffee or tea. Never booze. There’s work to be done, I would tell myself. You can’t drink and write. It’s a shitty, romantic myth. No one can. Then to make a point I’d stab the tabletop with the knife and leave it there while I wrote.

My unrealistic dream was to write a sort of liturgical song to my birth-state and to the places I’d left it for—a love letter to the highways and rivers and back-fields of America.

I slept alone the whole time. If I were lonely I pushed it off by walking the streets at night—walking everywhere though nowhere, walking prolifically without destination. The neighborhood had the summery candy smell of night jasmine, of weed from ramshackle punk houses, dinner cooking, curry, stew, marinara, garlic, frying onions. I walked alone under the moon and black skies and purple-gray clouds, hands in my pockets, staring at the ground in front of me, the sidewalk with sparkles of silver under the streetlamp light. Frankie had Jude. Ethan had Jana. I had “my work” and I swore it was enough (though I knew deep down it wasn’t). Still, I took comfort that I had my plans and dreams. This is something to hold onto, I told myself. And it was and I did. –Adam Gnade