Sometimes I’ll sit down to write one of these and by the end of it have a new explanation for how I work. But when I revisit the ideas later in the week – often the day after – and try to more consciously apply them, they’ll feel totally wrong. These plausible strategies, once adopted, once tried on for size, worn around the house, thrown twice in the wash, start to sag and fray.
These too are little stories – stories I tell myself (and you) to try to make sense of things. They’re like the stories one tells after a breakup about the causes of the breakup. You’re working with the same set of events, the same experiences, but placing on them different emphasis. Making different constellations out of the same stars.
(Don’t worry – J hasn’t broken up with me yet. I’ve just felt slow and sluggish this week, and am waiting for the gray weather here in Michigan to lift.)
I’m at that stage of writing now, when the themes of the story are really starting to emerge. There are certain stars that grow brighter than others; I can see the spine of the deer, the claw of the crab. It’ll be the reader’s job, in the end, to draw the lines, and I don’t want to be so bold as to think I can control the stars. My task going forward is more uncovering the sky already there. It’s more moving the camera out from the trees, wiping clean the lens. In some cases just waiting. For clouds to pass, for fog to settle.