It seems like working on a book, excuse me, a novel, at this point in the history of text is a ridiculously anachronistic process. While I’m able to tell a different kind of story than I’ve every tried before, you keep wondering if anyone is actually going to read it, or what it’s all for, in a world where print is dying, and screens are for reading short tiny things of import only in the moment. And even then it’s all turning to twitter for some reason.
So writing something big and narrative has become existential at its very core. I’m crafting sentences, and then going back over them to make them better, stronger, tighter, all in the service of a mystery. Yet I’m still whipping it all up from nothingness, first into a bubbly froth, and then going beyond that to make it something with depth and weight. A real fantasy. A piece of heavy light entertainment.
There’s also a lot of choice involved. There are other, smaller, faster things I could be doing with my time. Things with less risk that pay off bigger. And because I’m in the writing mode I’m constantly coming into ideas that would be good stories to tell right now. Concepts that are just begging to be realized. But I can’t, because that time, the creative time, is already used up. It’s committed, or I am, or I will be.
And now that the first draft is completed, it’s demanding as well. “You’re not going to let me just sit here, are you?” says the book, “not after all that time you’ve already spent.” It’s a god-damn siren song, and the best illusions work by convincing some part of you that they just might be real after all.