Friday, May 24, 2013

The work

I'm living this novel. I'm drowning in the novel. I'm so deep that I'm unable to fully engage in life without thinking about what I need to change, how to refine, where to expand. This is surreal and special, a sort of space that comes so fleetingly with short stories that it sometimes feels over as soon as it begins.

I'm beginning to see how a novelist finds a rhythm and how reasonable it is to finish a longer work with the luxury of time. But novelists, I'm all the more in awe of your ability to keep track of so much, to not get sidetracked. This is glorious but tough.

It seems the perfect time to do this, like the cards are falling into place. My husband is in Japan, so far away and I miss him so much but his absence leaves quiet. My classwork is over, grades are in. And though I plan to hang out with friends this weekend, to actually relax, I have lots of alone, quiet time to look forward to. I'm rereading one of my favorite books, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and I'm writing, writing, writing.

I'm 42 pages into the revisions. It's humid in Texas, and I'm taking muggy, slow walks with my dog. I'm returning to the page. I'm not watching TV. I'm not spending too much time surfing the Internet or tinkering with shorter stories. The plan is to channel the focus I had at the Vermont Studio Center; I wish I could return, but it's not realistic for me to keep my job and go to a residency every few months, so I'm taking advantage of the quiet and making my own, at-home residency. At least for a few days.

Since I'm drowning in novel, I won't post much more here today. I will say that I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. My undying gratitude, respect and admiration for those who died in service as well as all those who served and serve. My support and love to those who are hurting in Oklahoma. If you're interested in donating to help those whose lives have been upset, I'm sure there are many places to do so, but here's a link: Red Cross Disaster Relief 


  1. this is wonderful, this special time - it reminds me of a quote i read: "we need large pockets of time, so that really something can happen".

    all the best for your writing. looking forward to hear more, and might now go and look for Shantaram in the bookshelf here - i have it here somewhere, but only read into the first pages, then got sidetracked, and then it felt too huge. (i guess same goes for novel writing sometimes)

  2. So true, Dorothee, and these pockets are so rare! Thank you for stopping by, and yes, do read Shantaram. Chip away at it, but stick with it because it's worth it. I read it every few years.


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