Three chapters into the new novel, and it finally feels like it’s coming back to me. The flow. The focus. The feeling of the right word at the right time. (“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug” –Mark Twain).
When I was writing A Handful of Dust, I got to the point where I was in that space all the time. I would do things like forget to eat and sneak away from parties to go back to my typewriter. Granted, it took me eight years to get to that point. Eight years of living with that story in my head and gut. While I was in Dublin, I finally figured out how the story could be told. I came back to Michigan as quickly as possible, found a free place to live, stocked up on coffee, pasta, and red wine, and wrote.
I stuck an index card on the wall above my typewriter that said, “Writer’s write; everyone else makes excuses.” Another wall was covered with hundreds of small scraps of paper with the details of the book scrawled on them. I had my journals, a few stacks of books, and a small radio tuned to the public radio station — I organized notes during classical music and wrote during jazz.
This time around I have a studio/cabin full of books and CD’s, a good supply of Rainier beer, a talkative cat, and the mountains. All of them help.
Tomorrow morning, we start chapter four. Wish me luck.