If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at some well-meaning person saying, “If you just write one sentence per day, you’ve succeeded,” check out this project: the writer Steven Arcieri is publishing monthly installments of his Decade project at The Nervous Breakdown, where he writes one sentence about his life per day for a whole decade. Once the project is over, the completed text will be an autofiction novel.
The project began in January 2020 and will end in December 2030, when we’ll be inhabiting a significantly different world. Climate collapse? Post-pandemic—what does that mean? Right now it’s difficult to imagine a month in advance, much less feel the narrative arc of the world. Decade’s Liveblogian conceit knits the past to the future.
The larger conversations—COVID, the Black Lives Matter protests—are present in Arcieri’s entries, but much of the text is hyper-specific. Arcieri writes about his father; his childhood; the minutae of isolated days; the process of writing itself. (And the sentences! Great sentences. Lutz-like sentences.)
It’s pretty mind-bending to think that the project has only begun—mind-bending in the way that imagining anything in the future is right now. (Like the Future Library Project . . . what even is “2114”?) Calculated using the average American male life expectancy, the project is only an 8-year-old child. Now I will stop thinking about time, aging, and large quantities. Present-day: the November 2020 installment of the Decade project is out today, and can be read here.