As many of you two or three devoted readers of this blog already know, Rachel and I first met when I signed up for a course at the Writer House in Charlottesville. She was the teacher. I was her student.
Now we're travelling together. A few weeks into our trip, and about four travel blog posts in, I thought it might be fun for me to write a guest entry. When I proposed this idea to Rachel over dinner one night in Buenos Aires, she giggled and then quickly dove back into her 16 ounce prime rib with glazed mushroom sauce.
When she realized I was serious, she put her fork down and said, "You can't be serious."
I was serious. "I'm serious," I asserted. "I'm ready."
"Ian, impossible. I'm the teacher. YOU are the student. Finish your meal and enough crazy talk."
"But I've been studying your posts," I countered. "I know I can do this."
"Well, why don't you start your own blog?" She burst out laughing. I looked down and away, feeling beaten like the scrambled eggs that are never served for breakfast at our hostels.
Rachel hiccupped and composed herself. "Sorry, Ian, if that was insulting. I didn't mean to laugh out loud." She reached her hand forward and I thought she was going to touch my wrist apologetically, but instead her fingers wrapped around a few potato wedges from my plate. "You weren't going to eat these?"
I sighed. "I guess not."
She dropped them next to her steak. "But really, why don't you start your own blog?"
"Because you've already snatched up any readers I might have."
She nodded. "Yeah, probably."
It was then I leaned in, my gaze hardening rapidly like the crappy icing on the cakes they serve at budget restaurants. "I KNOW I can do this. Just let me out of the stable. One time." As if to demonstrate my confidence, I snatched one of my wedges back.
By the time we'd emptied our second Malbec I'd worked her into a deal: I could write ONE (1) entry, and ONE (1) entry only, provided I do the following: One, I notify our, ahem, HER, readers that I had to beg to write this, two, assure ourher readers that she'll soon resume full and sole authorship, three, adhere to a strict word count, and four, don't embarrass her. Her reputation as a writing instructor was on the line, she reminded me.
Nodding happily, I agreed, and a few hours later, with my legs folded up on the cramped top bunk in our no-eggs-with-breakfast hostel, with only the dim glow of afterhours Buenos Aires seeping through the window as a light, I hunched over my notebook and set to work on practice entries. This morning, after weeks of drills and training with Rachel grudgingly but dilligently over my shoulder ("Believe me, Ian, nobody cares how all these different foods affect the solidity of your bowel movements. Start over."), and eight countries and three continents later, she finally gave me her reluctant approval to pen an entry.
So, I'm ready to begin. I can't wait to fill everyone in on all we've been up to the past few days. As promised, I'll begin by stating, officially, that I am a guest blogger only, that I had to beg Rachel to write this, and that she'll be back chronicling our world odyssey very soon.
And now, finally, FINALLY, my first REAL words as my first ever blog post on any subject truly begins:
The sun is bright and crisp like toast and shines gloriously down on us today in beautiful- Looks like we'll have to stop there. I'm rapidly approaching my word allotment - 20. When negotiating, I told Rachel I thought this figure was a little low, but then she reminded me that in class last summer she taught us to use words economically, and if I can't share what I want to in twenty words, well, then, that's my problem. She's probably right. We are, after all, travelling on a frugal budget. Or something like that.
It's time to sign off then. :( Maybe I'll convince Rachel to let me write another one sometime. If so, next time I'll bargain for more words. I've still got three left on this one, though, and I think there's only one thing left to say: I'LL BE BACK!