Upsetting the Order of Things

I think it was Henry Miller who advised not to work like a draught horse but to work with pleasure when it comes to writing. It’s a difficult place to find when you’re writing. And it’s useless trying to conform to it or else think too much about it. But I tend to go to the writing with something like the rub of love that by the end of the session becomes the bare nerve of doubt and a neurotic fear of the revision process. In fact, to mitigate this fear, I tend to revise as I write. Not for my new novel, though, I’m practicing fast & furious, resisting the need to tweak a sentence, a word. I can take care of that later. Or at least I hope I can. But then I have a dream with me in it, and I’m sitting in a classroom and Ralph Fiennes is playing an older me, and the older me, who is Ralph, looks at me and says, in that very Fiennes voice: “You think you can’t actually do something, when you always find out you can.”

Still, as I’m writing this new novel, I’m trying to hold this in every atom and cell: “Magic is the total appreciation of chance.” Chogyam Trungpa.

It’s working because I’m a writer who gets words down when I allow things to happen. And in order to do this, I dip into Meister Eckhart: “We are made perfect by what happens to us rather than by what we do.”

Not that I feel perfect after a bout of writing. I feel more relieved and determined to go on, like Coleridge who slogged down a Devon hillside and rushed into a garden to tell his mate Wordsworth that imagination is “essentially vital.”

I write in a state of confusion and panic but with this current that definitely knows more than I do, so I go with it, because my mind is working, I’m working without distractions, and the words are simply a matter of transfer.

“The state of things consists of islands sown in the archipelagoes on the noisy, poorly-understood disorder of the sea.” French philosopher and author Michel Serres.

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