A Piece of Ice On A Hot Stove

We’re bang in the wet-leaf days of fall. And it’s foggy in Maine, the cloying matter of some sheepish brain swabbed around us.

Plus it’s the season of power outage. Lost power last night. A couple maniacal Twitters of lights off, lights on, lights off, lights on, and then…. pop, darkness.

Wrong night for it. I was desperate to write. Got the itching like a man on the buzzy tree. The novel’s been pouring out of me like cement and hardening one page at a time. It really feels like Invasion of the Body Snatcher, I’m eating, breathing, thinking, sleeping the story, my whole body downloading, almost ignorant of anything else. It’s a bit exhausting, especially since I have a life to lead, too, but I wouldn’t miss this, I wouldn’t want to turn away — it’s a hell of a ride.

So the electricity goes off. And my iBook’s battery’s an old ass that’s been around the grindstone too many times. Translation: it ain’t got the juice.

So the story has to stay in my head like a pent-up teen. There’s lamplight and candlelight, and the house has that Dickensian feel to it, washed in strong shadows and brushed with bright spots. And I’m plotting and writing in my head, laying it out there, creating dialogue, surging ahead to see if what I’ve got so far will work, all the connections will spark, sort of thing. You can’t do that on the computer (not yet, anyway), bounce ahead to see where the story’s going because all you’ll get is a blank sheet. But not in the head, there’s no narrative linearity there, it’s all back and forth, a crisscross of past, present, future, a time machine of soft nervous tissue. It’s like I’m making a psychic copy of the story, a negative that I can later print when it comes time to write it again when the electricity comes back on.

It’s good to have a black out as a writer. Makes you see more clearly.

“Writing is something I know little about; less at some times than at others. I think, though, that so far as it is poetry it is a matter of correspondences: one glimpses them, pieces of an order, or thinks one does, and tries to convey the sense of what one has seen to those to whom it may matter, including, if possible, one’s self.” WS Merwin

“Though even the word Marsala will smack of preciosity

Soon in the pussy-foot West.” DH Lawrence, “Medlars and Sorb-apples”


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