The Loneliness of the Long-Format Author, part 4

For me, writing long-format works (novels, in my case) is like chasing a picture that continually goes in and out of focus in your mind.

There are moments of enormous clarity, little miracles, in which the characters and ideas that are burbling around in your head suddenly and unexpectedly come into sharp focus.  You know exactly where your work is going — what must happen, what each character must say in a situation that must be created to compel your work forward.  Ha.  Unfortunately, these miraculous moments of clarity can evaporate just as easily as they appeared.  And they do.  And because these times of clear vision are likely to happen any old time — just as you are falling asleep, or during a long walk, or any old time whatsoever — it is shocking, maddening, confounding how quickly and totally they vanish, very much like dreams that you remember in exquisite detail, even going over the eventsImage in your mind upon awakening, only to find that you have no recollection just a short time later.

Sometimes the clarity has vanished even by the time you get yourself in front of the computer keyboard.  No matter how quickly you manage to drop everything, clear some space in your life, plop down in front of that screen, it can still happen that there you are, confronting that keyboard, rarin’ to go, only to find yourself…blank.

It’s gone.  Utterly gone.  There you are on the beach, after the wave has crashed, trying to make out any remnants of the words you wrote in the sand.

I wonder — is it like this in all creative endeavors?  Composing music?  Creating a sculpture?  I think it must be.   

 

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