The first challenge was the subject matter: Kids in Orlando. You’d think that would practically write itself, and it’s true that there is a lot to say on that matter. But I’m about the least likely person in the world to say it. I don’t have kids, and while I did travel to Orlando and see lots of children having fun, the week I spent in Florida was actually one of the least kid-friendly experiences I’ve had since my early 20s. Of all the articles I’ve written this year, this is the one that required the most post-trip research.
None of us in the group I was traveling with have any children, which is good, because if we had, Child Protective Services would have taken them away in the first 24 hours. We spent our first evening seeing a John Waters one-man show, and then we drank with him, and then we went out for tacos in the middle of the night. And it only got less wholesome from there. We closed bars three times in one week, and at least two out of the eight of us hooked up with each other. (No, I wasn’t one of them; I just caught them making out in the back of the van.)
As for hookups outside of the group, I can’t begin to guess how many happened, facilitated by the modern marvel that is Grindr. Grindr is something that I almost thought was a myth, but whoa, Nellie, is it real in the world of young gay men. I got little enough sleep, but the guys…I don’t know how they’re still alive.
The second challenge I faced is the simple fact that I have written about 18,000 words so far on Orlando, and before I sat down to write this, I was starting to worry that I didn’t have many left in me. (For comparison, a respectable novel is 100,000 words.) But somehow another 1,800 found their way into a Word document, and arranged themselves in some kind of comprehensible order. I’ve been writing one article a week since mid-May, and now I get a little bit of a break, which is kind of nice. I’ve only got two more Orlando articles left, and they’re short, so I’ll make them happen somehow.