Last year, I attempted to write in the same spot (Cedar Park in West Philly) at the same time (sunrise) every day. I went out with my typewriter and typed a full page before driving to work. It was called Private Drafts.

Photograph by Erin O’Dell.

The project sputtered out once spring and March hit. I remember physically being unable to leave my bed for a week, calling in sick to work each morning. I remember the desire to keep going but a tangible inability pressing down on me. I slept often, avoiding technology to keep sane.

A stack of onionskined paper typewriter stories for Private Drafts by Billimarie Lubiano Robinson.
Typewritten Stories for “Private Drafts” on Onion Skin.

Next to me now is the stack of onion skin paper I wrote on, the one Moises gifted me as a birthday present many moons ago. I started to run out of that paper by the end, and ordered a different batch online. It’s not my favorite, but it is fitting that I used all of my friend’s gift by typing Private Drafts.

Looking back, there is an interesting pattern revealing itself: abstractions become memories, and eventually fall into concrete fictional stories. There is one about a man whose brain is taken hostage by the alien EMF radiation via LED street lights. Another centers around two gods/goddesses teaching a demi how to unravel fate in a universe of cellphones, social media and dating apps, and programming algorithms. And another: an apocalyptic retrospective musing on how a new race of people with blue-black skin take over earth and institute stories as the only accepted form of currency. This one must have been inspired by Literary Creatures.

Originally, I had an impulse to burn the pages I wrote in 2019 once 2020 appeared. I am now wary to commit to such an impulse. This is how I know I’m getting old–or wise–or neither, both.

I plan on transcribing and editing the pages, all January 2nd 2019 – May 4th 2019 of them. My hope is to transform it into a small book collection, submitting it to independent publishing houses who might like the spirit of the thing.

The First Page / The First Day

To close out, here is the beginning of a poem from April 4th, 2019.

PRIVATE DRAFTS

Strong, cool chill
of the early, dilapidated morning

There, in its corner,
lies a song.

[…]


4 Comments

T. Munk · January 3, 2020 at 1:04 PM

Wisdom. The impulse to destroy should always be second-guessed. Pulling a trigger always has consequences that can never be fully comprehended or predicted beforehand.

    Billimarie · January 3, 2020 at 9:42 PM

    This resonates somewhere deep. I’ve yet to truly consider this–thank you for the gentle prod.

Ray Sharp · January 4, 2020 at 10:41 PM

I would like to see the originals someday

    Billimarie · January 4, 2020 at 11:21 PM

    I would love to show you–or rather, let you feel: it’s lovely to touch, & to hold. Lightweight paper made heavy by becoming a full-fledged stack.

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