One week till deadline. I’ve been rewriting a couple scenes, and bits of dialogue, and thinking about the place I go when I hit my stride each morning. Not just the fictional space of the novel but also the self-enchanted ones of each writing session, with their own dream logic specific to day and mood. I’ll read over new material from the day before and see glaring omissions, as though there were things I had been thinking while writing that should have been written down but weren’t, or the opposite – fleeting thoughts that were transcribed but should have been left to fleet.
I say this with only a mild regret. I know in my head it’s all part of the process, that there’s kind of normalization that happens, that each day’s writing is built on the character and story physics of all the previous chapters, yet portals open to parallel dimensions, sometimes lasting only a single sentence or paragraph, and those portals must be sealed. On some mornings I find myself slow in accepting that the portals are even there, for they are also like wounds on the body of the manuscript; if I wait to dress them then I can pretend for a little longer that they don’t exist. I can postpone the healing pain.
But at some point I start. It’s why I’m here, kneeling in the woods. The novel quivers, tenses under my hands, lets out a yelp audible between keystrokes in the warming air. Its heart pounds. My own heart pounds. Our breaths run deep, then settle again. I pace around in a circle, waiting.
And then I watch the animal slowly get back onto its feet, and lift its head, and, with a little shake, run off again into the thick brush.