Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The gift was ours to borrow

I know. I haven't been blogging. Either as often as I ideally would, or even as often as I have in the past. And this time, I'm not going to apologize. I'll just explain.

In my usual form, with a number of digressions and parentheticals.

There are any number of small explanations, but the big one is this: for the first time in far too long, I am making a comfortable amount of progress on a book. A new book, not a revision. A book of fiction, not a research project. And I'm not really going to say what it's about, because I've gotten very superstitious about talking about my works in progress. I'll give you the working title - Stronger Than Death - but that's about all I feel comfortable sharing.

Or can share, really. I have no idea how long it is right now, because I'm not letting myself think about the writing even long enough to type the words from the notebook into the computer. (My friends who watched me turn into a babbling madwoman, who wouldn't go anywhere without her notebook as I was finishing the Draft Zero of The Novel Formerly Known as Linger have some idea of what this is going to turn into, and I'm sure they are glad that multiple states now separate us.) I'm refining and discovering as I go, which means the revision on this book is going to be fairly mind-boggling in scope.

I kind of don't care, because having something to revise will mean I finished something. And more, because writing feels normal again. Not easy, or like I am communing with the Muse or channeling the collective unconscious or whatever other blather people go on about in relation to the creative process. But right. The thing I am supposed to be doing.

Except, here's the thing. My biggest fear about my writing is that it's a limited time offer. Not that I'll run out of ideas, but that I'll run out of ways to express them. That my talent will plateau, or grow stale. That my words will be ordinary, my story commonplace.

So I am reluctant right now to sit at the desk and write anything other than Stronger Than Death. Being able to write this story, as messy and disorganized and flawed as this draft is, is a gift, one I don't want to be ungrateful for. One I really don't want to have to give back.


  1. Well, I have absolute belief that your talent is this deep and unshakeable thing that will never plateau or get rusty or run out or grow mundane because it's moving far too swiftly and brightly for anything like that.

    And, of course, I'm also excited that you're working on a new book. I hope I get to read it soon. :-)

  2. Thank you, so much.

    I hope you get to read it soon, too. I think I may be about halfway through this very bad draft, and I'm hoping to use my January off from teaching to get the rest of the way through. Maybe even to start the revision...