In a nutshell: this is an embarrassing photo of a lame secret that was supposed to stay hidden in a notebook forever.
I start every writing project with a pen in a notebook (it has to be lined, it has to be spiral-bound, and it has to be hardcover). This is because if I start typing onto a screen with a perfect white emptiness and a thin blinking cursor and a clean “delete” button, every word I write will end up deleted before it has a chance to go anywhere, and writing by hand forces me to roll with the punches—a messy activity that I’m not, as a major Type A control freak, very good at.
These two pages are basically the gist of the final piece, which is expanded and edited to make “ExpirDating” (which already loses its dash halfway down the first page—I’m the daughter of a marketing expert, after all) into a more legitimate company. “We’re betting on love” was the basic idea from the beginning, as scribbled on the first line so that I wouldn’t lose sight of my premise. It seems my biggest struggle in this first jotting was the naming of the customer, who started out with some pretty stupid names. I think I wound up with “brian1988” (eventually lowercased) because there is something sort of sad and plain about it; someone who is not trying to be funny or express very much but is apparently feeling in need of life experience on Valentine’s Day, which makes me want to hug him. And I mainly like to write stories about characters that make me want to hug them. Finally, it should probably go without saying that I’d been reading George Saunders at the time, and also that I’d been thinking a lot about dating culture and relationships, on account of I Am In My Twenties, and that is what we do.
Read Lillie’s final piece Here!