I’m On Fire

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I keep a line of post-its on the bottom of my iMac with word count goals. It’s a good way to set tangible milestones when I sit down to write, especially when it doesn’t feel like I got anything done after a particular session. Writing is a lot of justĀ sitting there, I’ve found, typing a few words every five minutes. Deleting them. Rephrasing them. Sneering at them. Starting over. But the post-its keep me on track, and thus far I’ve crossed off four: 15k, 18k, 20k, 22k. And then I set fire to 28k.


I did not magically write six thousand words in a single session this past weekend, but I got to take down the 28k milestone post-it. Because while writing, I like to light a mini French baguette candle to ‘set the mood,’ and on Sunday I accidentally slid the candle too close to the bottom of my computer screen. You see where this is going.


No one should ever leave me home alone. Jamal left that morning for Colombia for a business trip, and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost my privileges with matches from now on. The best part was I wasn’t even in the room when the fire started, so the likelihood that our entire house went up in flames was pretty high. Thankfully, the smell of fresh baguette quickly turned to burning paper and adhesive, and I came back to find a singe mark on my computer (which thankfully came off) and bits of hot pink post-it floating in the candle. And that: that sad, burnt milestone.


19 thoughts on “I’m On Fire

  1. I’ve had trouble with fire lately. Standing in our front yard chatting with neighbors to suddenly hear our smoke detectors go off. Only then did I remember that I was cooking rice on the stove.

    This will make you happy though: my favorite fire story comes from my favorite Frenchman, Fred, of Mark and Fred. Years and years ago Mark lived in this gorgeous but dilapidated old apartment building in Harrisburg. Fred was visiting from France and the two were taking a nap when Mark was rudely awakened by Fred who, smelling smoke, yelled, “Marky! Marky! I smell burnt!”

    1. Hahahahaha, oh language barriers. I shouldn’t laugh, I’m sure in a panic my French wouldn’t be reliable or accurate. Um. Need I bring up the “tea vert” situation?? And that wasn’t even life-threatening! xo

  2. I’m glad that this did NOT turn into a horror story and only something to laugh at later. Curious, what brand of candle is that? I kind of feel like I must have it now. And my sister peppers her work area with post-its that say INBOX: 0.

    1. Ha, yeah, I would have lead with “I burned our house down” if it had ended up more tragic than this. The candle is from Bath & Body Works, but it’s a seasonal scent apparently, and I can’t find it on their website! Look for it in the fall. I wrote about it first here. xo

    1. I know! Moral of the story: everyone who says not to leave burning candles unattended is TOTALLY RIGHT. xo

  3. i can’t get over what a lovely and perfect little flame-looking burn was left on your post-it. if it’s a sign i’d say, by that, it’s a positive one. maybe it means that 28k is just going to burst out of you here soon. or yes, it could simply mean, you should not be left home alone. maybe when jamal goes on business trips he should get you a ticket to portland. just a thought ;) xo

    1. Ohh, I hope so! That’s a good way to look at it, leave it to you to see the bright side of things, twinsy! But yeah, I’m pretty sure Jamal needs to hire a babysitter or confiscate the matches. OR send me to see you! Oh, that would be the best option. xo

    1. It is rather photogenic, isn’t it? Not teaching me a lesson at all by being so cute. xo

  4. Holy crap! That is the very last things I was expecting to read after I read your post title (silly I know because it’s kind of obvious)! Is it wrong that I laughed my butt off? Glad nothing serious happened but if this isn’t a sign that 28k is going to happen soon then I don’t know what is!

    1. Haha, don’t feel bad, I laughed at myself too! I’m still laughing, but only because nothing more serious happened! I hope you’re right that it’s a sign! That would be great!! xo

  5. Oh, my…Good to hear your laptop didn’t get damaged in the process and this turned out to be a funny story to tell instead of a disaster. Keep on writing!

    1. Haha, thanks Nina! I’m happy it had a relatively safe ending, too. Thanks for the encouragement! xo

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