516 words today. Even though writing onscreen now feels entirely natural, one thing I don’t like about word processing is that the printed page too closely resembles a finished book . With the right font, your writing can look beautiful (and ready), even if it isn’t. That’s why the best way to edit is to convert the whole thing into a really ugly font first, so you can focus on the words, not how it looks on the page. My love affair with notebooks has waned over the years, from scouring shops in the early days to find one the perfect size and heft, to a unilateral move to Moleskins, and now to just the occasional purchase when I’m in the mood. I prefer spiral-bound, so I can tear pages out if I need to, and ruled pages, although I don’t mind unruled for note-taking.
Yesterday, I read the little e-Book on The Making of The Art of Fielding, by Harbach’s friend Keith Gessen. He reads an early draft of the novel and then years later, the galley, and has this to say “It was as if time itself had written the book, had worn the grooves of plot and character into it, had allowed its small angles and subtle insights to emerge eventually into the light”, and then “Time had written the book, but Chad had had to become its conduit. How had he done this? I don’t know. I’d seen him: I’d sat in the next room or at the next table, I’d been there the whole time, and I still don’t know.”
I love that he’s not able to explain that process, and I doubt Harbach could either. It’s time, it’s hard work, it’s persistence. But ultimately, it’s ineffable.
Today is my last post for awhile – I’ll be travelling for the next three weeks and don’t expect to have either the time or the technology to blog. That doesn’t give me permission to stop my project – doing one thing each day to help me achieve my goal of writing a great novel – but it does permit me to stop talking about it for a bit. Hope to see you back here at the water-cooler late June. In the meantime, happy writing!