“I believe it would be a bad day for a writer if he could say, ‘I know exactly what I’m doing,’ and I am wary of making statements about my work. If I have any abiding allegiance in my writing it is to the power of the imagination.” Graham Swift
I’m in Swift’s margin (I’m the squiggle with grand ideas) about not knowing exactly what I’m doing when it comes to writing. I know well-enough the craft of stringing a sentence along, but when I write, so much of the story is trickling from the imagination. It’s as if I’m holding my literary tongue out and my imagination is squeezing the taste of the narrative on it for me to savor the story. I never work with a full-fledged idea of what the story is. I have a vague, tenebrous idea. I know most of the characters, setting, plot twists, themes, shape and structure, but I’m still half-blind. The only time my entire sight returns is when it’s finished. But even then, I’m not happy putting a stamp of complete understanding to it.
There’s this book,The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge, that I want to read. Basically the book, through neuroscience, is proving what sages and men of wisdom have known for centuries: that the brain can be re-wired, that it’s not a piece of hardware but an ever up-dating Web of juicy potential. The book argues that the best thing for the brain is a steady supply of new challenges that demand complete focus. The worst thing for the brain is doing the same stuff all the time.
I’ve also must get to get my hands on Chabon’s Maps and Legends.
Plus Viktor Pelevin’s The Sacred Book of Werewolves. There’s just something about a 2,000-year-old werefox who is able to transform into a beautiful nymphet that I can’t resist.
Why is my cri de coeur always “So many books to read!”
I need an android. Not to polish my Jag or make illicit engagements with high-class hookers or purchase my Bond Street shirts. I need one to carry my books and nudge me into action. And he could also, of course, come to work for me.