Chipping Away at Life Goals, One Piece at a Time

​Nine years ago, when I began writing a personal blog, I could not have imagined that it would lead to dinner with Augusten Burroughs and his husband, Christopher Schelling, at their haunted house in Connecticut, but here we are. Wearing surgical gloves, Augusten places a plate of vegan burritos in front of me and my husband Paul and says, “Connecticut's first murder conviction without a body took place ten miles from here," which strikes me as odd. How can there be a murder without a body?
As if reading my thoughts, Augusten says, “Wood chipper. The pieces found in the river implied that the victim could not have survived."
He sits down at the head of the table, smiles, and says, “Bon appétit!"
My blog was more of an online diary and a poorly written one at that. So I read works by my favorite authors, attempting to learn the magic by studying the construction of each sentence, paragraph, and page. I read Augusten's best-selling memoir, Running With Scissors​ multiple times, and then consumed DryMagical Thinking, and Possible Side Effects.
The meatless burrito is one of the best things I have ever tasted.
“Isn't it wonderful?" Augusten asks.
I am seriously beginning to believe that in addition to being a witch, as he describes in Toil & Trouble,​ that Augusten is also a mind reader until he says, “I mean the murder. Isn't that wonderful?"
It is wonderful in the sense that I am delighted to discover that this is precisely how I expected one of my literary idols to behave. It all began with a hope to publish something other than what I forced my immediate family to read. When The Huffington Post​ picked up one of my essays, I thought I had reached the pinnacle of my publishing career.
“A significant percentage of me is Neanderthal," Augusten says, “according to a DNA test."
But here is the thing about dreams, they evolve. After I published the piece, and many others in The Huffington Post​, I set my goal on seeing my words in print and published an essay in The Boston Globe. After that, it grew into a desire to publish a piece in a literary magazine and then finally to write a book.
“A friend of mine, who never reads, told me I should read this book called The LIE," Augusten says.
After I finished writing my memoir, I sent a chapter to Dan Jones, who is the editor of Modern Love at The New York Times. Within 30 minutes of the publication of that essay​, Christopher Schelling, who, is both Augusten's husband AND his agent, contacted me.
I thought when my book was published that all of the hard work had been completed. However, looking back at all of the essays, interviews, podcasts, and readings​ that took place in the year proceeding publication, I can see pieces of me spread all over the globe.  
“This friend said that the writing in your book reminded her of me," Augusten adds.
This is it. I am dead, which is wonderful in the best possible way.
I killed it.​

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