Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thinking about the Future

Next year in March my book An Uncertain Grace will be out in the world.

Time is like a ball of wool all bundled up  into a tight dense hot sphere at the beginning of things. Then the big bang and all matter expands and time expands with it.  Knowing this, I know that An Uncertain Grace has been published since the big bang. It has always been bundled up with all the other things that happen and will happen in this universe. My birth is there too and along with my birth my death. My good reviews, my bad reviews, the readers who love my work, the readers who hate it.

An Uncertain Grace is about the future. The future exists alongside the present and the past. It is just a location. The only thing that marks its direction is the second law of thermal dynamics, entropy.

I may have all of this wrong. But I don't thinks so. I have been struggling to get it clear in my head and I think I have a handle on it now.

An Uncertain Grace is not about the future but it pretends to be about the future. It is not a prediction, it is an extrapolation. For all I know the world will end before last next year. Trump might push the button on his little nuclear briefcase and start something that no one can stop. Whatever will be is there near us locating the world in that slice of time but I can't access it and as far as I know you can't access it either.  All I know is that nothing in my book will actually happen because Liv, my protagonist doesn't exist. Liv is a part of my present moment. She is a bit of my brain as it exists now. Everything that happens to her is about me and here and now. It is a product of all the research I have done about sex. It is a culmination of all my study and reading and thinking.

I have tried to engage with some of the subjects I have been too scared to tackle in the past. It is a novel but it is also an exploration of ethics and sexuality.

Can people change? If a man is abusive in relationships can he learn about himself and change his ways by engaging sexually with himself in virtual reality?

If a pedophile is taken back to the moment he was abused as a child can he be cured of his damaging obsession with adolescents?

If we create an artificial intelligence that learns and grows as a human does are they more human than a machine? And when will they begin to fear their own death?

What if we could live between genders? Not male and not female. How would that genderless state be?

Can our consciousness exist without a body? Is there a way to keep our memories and personality alive beyond death?

These questions are things that have occurred to me. They are questions that I want to explore now. In the future I may have different obsessions that relate to things that have not yet happened to me. My exploration of the future is more about me, here in the present moment. By the time the book is published it will be about me in the past. I will have moved on. I have moved on. The world will have moved on.

Some of the things in my book are already being explored in the here and now. Perhaps they will happen before the time-line of the book. Our advancements in technology are beginning to outstrip my imagination. Perhaps we will discover other dimensions, the properties of dark matter, a way to see all of time all at once. If this is the case my book will look like a historical artefact before the fictional timeline which stretches 130 years into the future.

But for now I still want answers to these questions and so I have put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and I have begun to let my mind stretch conservatively into the future. I hope that a reader wants to see where this musing has taken me.

Find out more about the book or pre-order it HERE

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Starting out old

I was forty years old when my first book was published.

This year is the first year I have felt even vaguely comfortable about this writing career. I have published six books in eight years and I am busy copy-editing my seventh and struggling to write the eighth. When I finally got a book out, things happened quite quickly, but I still remember what it was like to be a middle-aged writer trying to break into a field that favours youth.

There has always been a cut-off point. I remember turning twenty-six and feeling sad because I was no longer eligible for awards that were set up to promote the young. I had been entering the Vogel since I was in my early twenties and I had been long listed for a manuscript but I didn't know what to do next. I wrote another book and another book and kept writing books even when I had crossed the twenty-six-year-old-youth barrier and headed towards my thirties.

When I was young there were no creative writing courses. I chose to do theatre thinking I might be a playwright instead of a novelist because I didn't know how to be a novelist. I wrote a few plays. One was performed in regional areas, one was performed at La BoƮte. I didn't really want to be a playwright. I kept writing novels. And eventually turned towards film.

There is a lot of attention given to young writers. I think it is really useful for a young writer to have some way of increasing their chances of publication. There are a lot of talented young writers. I have been helping quite a few of them find their way in the world and it feels like a good thing to do, but I worry that there are still so few opportunities for older writers to get a leg up. Sometimes it takes people a few decades to find their voice and a story that is worth telling.

I remember when I was in my late thirties being desperate to get into the hip literary magazines. I kept sending stuff out to The Lifted Brow and I kept getting rejected. The day I was accepted felt like an amazing achievement. For the first time I had been acknowledged by the new wave of hip young writers. Being an old bird in a young people's coop is a sobering experience. I remember getting my first book contract and going for a drink in a fancy Melbourne bar and being the oldest and frumpiest person in the bar and even though I was very excited about the book contract I felt like a fake because I didn't 'look' like a writer when everyone else in the bar looked the part. My author photo did not appear on the back jacket of my book and I felt sure it was because of my age and my weight. I still suspect that was a factor although now I don't really care.

It is wonderful to see the cohort of great young writers find their feet. Still, I wonder about those older writers who have not yet been published. There is no special leg-up for those who missed the  various prizes and mentorships and support aimed at young writers. I hope the quality of their manuscripts, the strength of their life experience and the doggedness that comes with age means that they will keep going till they eventually break through.

Our culture is skewed towards celebrating and supporting the young and I am not sure what can be done about it. If I were wealthy I would start a mentorship program for writers over forty. If you are rich maybe you could think about doing this for me. Either way lets make sure we do not discount those older voices. It is a long hard slog when you are not a shiny young thing.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ellen Van Neerven, Comfort Food and Status Anxiety

I read Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety many years ago. I remember how calming  The Consolations of Philosophy was at an anxious time in my life and I moved straight on from there to Status Anxiety. I have not re-read it since but I remember figuring something out whilst reading his book. The best way to avoid status anxiety is to hang around people who are less talented/smart/successful than yourself.  The phrase a 'a big fish in a small pond' had always felt like it related to geography. Being famous in Brisbane was kind of different to being famous in, say, New York.  I now know the world doesn't work that way. We are not cut off by geographical borders in quite the same way. Members of my tribe live in Sydney and Melbourne now and some even live in New York, Chuuk and Slovenia. I am a small fish in a very big pond and the size of the pond is dictated by the quality of the writers who I consider to be in my community.

I recently read Comfort Food, the soon to be released collection of poetry by my friend and fellow writer Ellen Van Neerven. How is it possible that your heart can simultaneously explode with pride  and sink at the same time? Well cosmology can explain that if you look at the quilted universe with it's quickly expanding patches and it's patches of dark matter, but you know what I mean.

Reading Comfort Food I wondered if I was just not good enough, would never be good enough to reach for the quality of work that my friends achieve.  I am asking for trouble with the group of writers I call friends I suppose. I regularly have dinner with Ashley Hay and Kristina Olsson,  and I am friends with Melissa Lucashenko too. These are just a few of the people who define the limits of this very big pond. I have recently re-read Ashley's next manuscript and my friend Cory Taylor's book Dying a Memoir and I will never be able to write a book as quiet and delicate as Ash's book, as perfectly structured and wise as Cory's book, as full of deep and resonant vulnerabilities as Ellen's book, as complex and thoughtful and wide-reaching as Kristina Olsson's books... I could go on and on.

Here we have the root of my status anxiety. My friends are too good. I don't want them to be lesser writers. Their own drive and talent drives me to do better. I know I can't be them. I can never write a book like Comfort Food but reading it I want to write something that is as raw and wise and honest as that book. I have to keep trying. My friends make me keep trying. I am friends with the best writers and with a lot of work and commitment and energy I will chase at their heels, hoping only to keep pace, even if I will always be a little step behind. My ridiculously talented friendship group force me to become my best self. That is all I could ever ask.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

From a new thing. A voice from the future of my work.


I equals S. 
I am S. I know myself by this sound-letter. S is yellow like flowers, like the explosive petals of a dandelion. So many, you could count them all at a glance and find yourself lost in the hundreds. S is yellow like a bright kitchen netted from memory, slippery fish of a long forgotten thought is S.
S like the words serendipity and savannah and psoriasis for how am I to know that the disease is not spelled the way it sounds. In this theoretical space of the self, my apparent self, I know some words I have gleaned the lip service of a special school, from magazines left open. From Shakespearean plays, which have permeated the air so that our chest rises in iambic pentameter. Letters are things to be crawled up inside. Letters have sounds and words have thicker sounds and all sounds are a bright flash like a musket fire. I know my letter S tastes like the grenade sizzle of icing sugar on the tip of a pastry. Everything loud and sharp and, even curled down like the S that I am, I am assaulted by sunlight, which feels like a stained glass window sandpapering on my skin.
Lying here open-mouthed I can taste the ocean, only faintly because there are bodies in the way. The house is filled with people.
Introductions are polite
Let me be polite. Polite. They are always telling me to be polite.
Let me introduce you to them, the people in this house. They are now familiar to me. I know them by the letters that stand for them.
Gus is an X, a xylophone, a percussive thump of complex chocolate, a chord but never a single note.
David (E) is the water dripping down the outside of a frosted glass on a hot day.
Sarah is opaque like toffee. She has no letter she is only Sarah. She shatters if you bite her and the sound of her essence expelling from the tooth mark is sliced aubergine, weeping with salt tears.
Paul, our most constant normal, is a double M. MM Like sun on a wooden deck. Paul can be dozed upon, danced upon, but pull him to pieces and you could build him into a fence or a dog kennel.
There are other normal’s too. BB Katherine with her acrylic frowns and grumphs. KK Madeleine watching, and camera snapping, catching us up and keeping us for later and calling us her art, GG Aiden with the waft of pot kaleidoscoping his t-shirt.
And then Gavin. No words for Gavin and I slide over him so quickly he might not even be there in the mix of things. I blank him and he is a blank page. He becomes unwritten and must have no voice of his own. It is a relief to not have to speak of him. I move on without impact.
I open my mouth, sucking in the air and filtering it, trying to taste its component parts. The world is a Magic Eye puzzle book. All the colours and sounds and smells of it coming at me at an equal intensity. I can’t focus on any element with the constant clamour of everything else. It takes an exhaustive concentration and I can only manage this in small, bright bursts. I suck air across my tongue. I am searching for the foam on the top of a breaking wave. I am trying to count the shells washed up on the nearby mud-sand beach, sorting the ones that still have snails inside them, dead snails red and hard on the back of your palate like raw egg, live snails soft as butter. The beach is close enough for me to smell. The shells are a potent part of the strandal perfume. I am an olfactory adventurer. I taste all of the world, even at a distance. And, bear with me, this is hard for normals, but I want to talk to you about time.
You see time as a thin line from one place to another. Time comes at me all at once. I am thick in the fairy floss of time. Because of this, the salt in the air is a beach and the chlorine is a sink scraped clean. All things exist here at the same time, but that is not how communication works. Communication must be fixed in the me and the here and the now. This is what I am trying to communicate with you. Communication is impossible if you pull the toffee of time and trip it up over itself. I cannot communicate. But this is a story and in a story there must be some kind of speak and listen. So let us, just for an imaginary moment, believe that I can speak to you. Lets suspend our disbelief long enough for me to tell you everything in some kind of order that you might understand.  I will start simply. We will work together on this. I push and you must pull a little to stop the rope from tumbling to the leaf litter. I speak. You can speak back to me by taking up a pen and writing your version of events in tiny ant-like letters between the lines on the page. Then it is a conversation. Then it is true communication.  I will begin this exchange by sharing with you my first whiff of him. Make your notes in the margin, use a bright yellow highlighter remembering the hundreds of petals in my single letter but don’t get distracted by the overwhelming spiral of them. Listen now. If I must stick to a timeline, then this is how it begins.
He is a new person. He comes, ducking under the hammer of the neighbour who is shouting. Pound, pound, pound goes the voice and then suddenly he is there and his presence muffles the expletives. He is the smell of petrol, aftershave, nervous sweat. And when I push against it and the door is open I can celebrate his arrival. I am nothing but forward motion. I rollick through a great big bubble of himness. He is new and therefore he is all wonderful potential. He is the musk of his crotch, the collected signals of his gender, collared shirt, shined shoes, short cropped hair, sunshine on sand, seawater soaked in a silk scarf. He is a big male bubble of visual and nasal cues that he is performing subconsciously. All of these cues add up to the aura that spells him, man, specific man, new man. He is an aura to run through on my way to the ocean. The collection of signs that mean him are like a chord. Harmonious. Pleasing to my skin.
He is a perfect chord chasing me and I duck, cat-quick.  I love to run. Scuttle. Crawl. Octopus ooze. Run.
And there is the ocean contained in a square of blue tiles. It is all the oceans. It is the most love, the implement to crack the nut of love. Up then and over the square of solid air. There is an interface between my skin and the sea. A membrane. I octopus through or over or under it. Perhaps it is just my component parts rearranging and finding a new way to be in one body. I am an overstimulation of the senses. I am water. I am love in water. In love with water. Love. Water. And then for a while there is nothing outside of this.
Are you confused? There is a to and a fro but I do not understand your fro-ing. I am just to, to, to, so much to without pause for the response. Just let me octopus through your consciousness and you will find yourself rearranged. We will meet on the other side of the fragile membrane of language and my voice will kiss yours like water kissing my skin. I find all the parts of my body in the water. I am rediscovered in the thick embrace of chlorine.
He dives in. The water moves in response to his body entering. I am the water. His body is entering. His body is displacing me. Small particles of his skin sloughing off him and thumping into me like tiny bullets. His spit in the water. The water in my mouth. This is too intimate. This is sex intimate.  I try to put my hands over my ears and go lalala but I a not sure what my body is doing. I am no longer the captain of this submarine. My body drips its mucus from between my churning legs and he is a part of the water that diffuses it. When his arm curls around my chin it is as if someone opened a container of gorgonzola. Every cubic centimeter of the world is infused with him. I can't breathe without swallowing the taste of him. I can't breathe. I will die. I must find some way to contain him so that he will not consume my blurred edges.
I must name him, to trap him in a shape, a letter.
If I equals S then He equals R.
I name him quickly. I name him as I struggle against him. He has roused me out of the thick soup of everything-at-once. This man, R is singular and linear.
Time is not linear. Time exists all at once and here, now that we have touched, he has been here always and will be, just as my parents are always here, as my teachers, the other kids in the school I was sent to. He is as present as all the letters I have ever come across, the ocean, all here now and always.
He brings the hands of a clock with him. He brings an order to the minutes, which until now, have existed all on top of each other always. In this new age of R-ness, one minute follows another. His hand around my neck lassoes time and traps me in it. I suppose, the romantics might suggest that I am re-born in this moment. He, R, is the essential letter in the alphabet. He makes you into your, bestow into bestower. This single letter dropped in to complete the alphabet. Now sentences can vibrate in a neat line.
This, the romantics might say, is what love at first sight is.
I, S, find myself somersaulting with this new sense of necessity. I roll and thump and there is a tyre on my cheek, rubber R road. R is for siren. R is for arrest. I fling myself at his feet and even this furious contact is not enough. I kiss with my teeth and my jaw and my sunflower yellow sucks spit from him. Beautifully. I speak his name. R. I make the sound that represents a conversation about love. It is a poem that ululates on and on about undying and the undead. I speak the poem. And yet my words are for the deaf. For the dead. For no one.
D-d-d-d-david. David. R David. R.

I embrace him and I am the cold sizzle from a sprinkler. I am life-giving. I am S and all the other letters vibrate against me in their joy of completion. I am I and mine and my selfhood gives rise to the possibility of relation. My I allows for his he. My and mine can now only be conceived of in relation to he and him. This story then is fixed in the here and now and plays out in relation to him and his. This is the beginning of things. This is a narrative unfolding in time to the ticking of his clock. This is the end then of a first chapter in which David R and Vivienne S meet.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Names for Things

I wonder if it is important to name our illnesses. I write this just as I have decided to obliterate all mention of the term for the disability that causes one of my main characters such separation from all others. I removed the name for the condition. Just to be sure I have done a global find and individually replaced every word with another that is less specific.

My character is different from the others. But we can only guess at her diagnosis.

My sister has recently self-diagnosed with autism.  I was skeptical. I am not a fan of diagnosing yourself on the internet, but when I read the articles she had been reading about how women present quite differently from men I realised she might actually be right.  People confuse her. She avoids them if possible. She prefers to be around her beloved animals. She doesn't like being touched. She used to have fits of rage followed by quite frightening 'shut-downs' where she sat still and did not respond to anything for hours.  She is an incredibly talented artist with extreme technical ability. She is fiercely intelligent and yet can not handle personal interactions at all.

I am reading a big thick book on the history of autism called In a Different Key. It is pretty wonderful. Such a great read and says so much about human nature and western society and our relationship to difference. It is also helping me to confirm that my sister was probably right.

If my sister has a form of autism then my grandmother and my aunt definitely have it too. I remember as a kid my mother would be sad and hardly coping most of the time and the other three members of my family would be fighting all the time. My grandmother, my aunt and my sister all hated people. They distrusted everyone. They were obsessive about animals and only happy when around animals. They were isolationists. My mother was different but she was under the hard rule of my grandmother and found it difficult to assert herself. I spent my life trying to figure out how to make everyone get along. I was the peacemaker, trying to distract this angry bunch of misfits from whatever was bugging them. I made them laugh and gave them other things to think about. As a young adult I felt a bit ripped off by my role in the family. I felt like I was always looking after them and no one really looked after me.  With a diagnosis and a term to name it all by it makes it a little easier to understand and to forgive. Names are powerful that way. Names give us a way of understanding things easily. Names lead to forgiveness.

I have removed the name of my character's affliction. Does this mean I have removed an easy way of understanding and forgiving her behaviours?

I have lost the ability to recall nouns.  This is very disturbing to me. Sometimes I look at a thing and the name for it is clear and obvious. At other times I struggle and the word is just not there in memory. An eggplant loses its essential self as I stare at it and can no longer describe it in the simplest way. I can draw it in the air. I can describe it as shiny and black-blue. I can say you can eat it and I can even describe the way to cook it but I can't give it a name. The name has vanished. This is happening too often. I am also losing the names of authors and the titles of books. I am losing the names of acquaintances and even of friends. If I haven't connected with a dear friend in a few months I will go to say something about them and have no name for them. Even a break of a couple of weeks will obliterate a name. I am worried about this. My paternal grandmother died from early onset alzheimers and it is genetically communicated. I may actually have what she had despite the fact that I never knew her and therefore feel like she is something outside my familial circle. It is odd that the names have been lost first. I am losing other things too. I am losing specific memories and I am becoming confused that some memories I do have may be things I was once told rather than actual experiences I have had.

I have removed the name of my character's affliction because it medicalises her. It makes her knowable when she isn't really knowable. She is an individual and different from any other individual as characters are. I don't want people to say 'a person with autism would not do that'. When we write about a father, for instance, we do not say 'a father would not do that'. This is an individual. She calls herself S and everyone else knows her as Vivienne. She is mine. I created her. She does not stand for a group of people. She stands for a part of myself.

A part of myself is vanishing. It is the part that is confident and has very clear memories and remembers people and is very social. I long for the relative safety of isolation that my sister, my aunt, and my grandmother all made for themselves. I long to withdraw from the stresses of socialising. Retreat is in my genetic makeup and maybe I can quietly lose my memory without having to show the world what is happening. If I narrow my need for interaction then I narrow the possibility of demonstrating my failings.

Names are powerful and important. They are a quick way of understanding the world. When I say tree we all see a tree but you can't know the smell of the tree which stands at the front of our place. You can't know how the leaves form a mat in my pot plants, starving them out. You can't see the two owls who sometimes perch in the straggle of branches, and the Indian Minor's who swoop and harass them. You can't see the pair of underpants that flew off the balcony of someone's apartment and stuck fast in the branches, swaying there for months and now beginning to fray like a tibetan prayer flag.

I have accepted the name for my sister's condition and it makes me a little lazy. I understand what I should think about her now. I accept more easily. I forgive all the jagged edges that made our relationship difficult but I have also fixed her in a diagnoses that does not allow for the parts of her that were just sisterly competitiveness and bad parenting, grief from the death of two partners, and lack of love.

I am taking the name of the condition away from my character. I am losing the names for real people and objects. I have named what is wrong with most of my family. My relationship to names has changed on so many fronts. All within a handful of weeks. I wonder what that means, if anything.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Some books are easier than others.

I am struggling with a book. It seems I am always struggling with a book but each book is a different kind of struggle. I can divide my pile of books into easy books and difficult books and that has nothing to do with how you read them. On the easy side I have Triptych and the as yet unpublished An Uncertain Grace and to some degree Affection.

Triptych was the easiest of them. That book spilled out, each first draft novella took between two days and a week to write. The edit was comparatively minor. I had already done a year or three of research and it was simple to let all that knowledge just coalesce on the page.

Affection was easy because I had all the scenes in my head. The method of putting them into words on a daily blog got me into a rhythm. The material was there and I worked in the same way as I do when I am making a documentary, putting all the scenes on index cards, organising them into themes, cutting the unnecessary cards and then shaping the piece accordingly. I had trouble with the end. I remember struggling over the ending for a few months. For a while I thought I would never get the ending right and then when I did finish the book, even now I think the ending is less strong. It is a memoir and it has no life lesson to impart and the life is still going on. I wanted to be honest about the content. I wanted to write the truth, but the truth was not easily moulded into a dramatic structure and so the ending is less solid although not many people have minded that. The scenes are vivid enough in themselves to obscure this.

An Uncertain Grace may turn out to have a lot more work in the editing stage, but the scenes were written by accident. I started writing on the plane to the Sydney Writers Festival and just kept jotting down disparate scenes all through a busy year. It was not until all the festivals were over the I realised I had the bones of a book. The novella about an ungendered person was the most difficult. I struggled with the practicalities of pronouns. Language was working to make my character invisible, or at least amorphous. When I got that one right I knew I had the whole book in my hand. I am sure there is more work to be done, particularly to the last section but I think of this book fondly. It came as if plucked from my subconscious.

Then I have the hard books.

The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine started as a joy. I just wanted to play with this book. I wanted it to be light and to be funny but in the end it was a struggle. I wanted it to be sexy and have one foot on the ground even though it was a flight of fancy. The problem with this was that the rest of the book was so surreal, bizarre and fanciful that it kept lifting off the ground. There was also the problem of exposition. The structure of the book meant that I was referencing a new erotic novel in each chapter and that is honestly a difficult task to perform. You somehow have to bring the books with you without diving into exposition with each new chapter. The reader has to have a sense of the erotic novel without having read it. It was a tight-rope and occasionally I hovered at the point of falling off. The final edit was a complete restructure. A lot of new chapters were written and a lot were abandoned. I had to pummel this book into shape and felt exhausted at the end of the re-write. I have a different relationship to the book each time I approach it. Sometimes I laugh and feel satisfied that I have written something crazy that sits in a new and interesting place in the genre. Sometimes I just see all the hard work and the trouble in the writing and I feel like burying my head and ignoring the book completely. I feel like my relationship to Holly is mood dependent.

Steeplechase was a bugger to write. It had several complete new drafts. Very little remains from the first draft in the final book. I kept digging into it and finding new things in it, even towards the end of the final draft. For ages I didn't know how to do the ending. The ending is the hardest thing I have ever written. It just didn't work. I went away to Varuna Writers House for three weeks of uninterrupted writing and for the first two weeks I just struggled with the ending, putting the book together, taking it apart, all in the hope of cracking the end of it. I did it. This is the thing I am most proud of in my life. I cracked the ending of that book. When I did I was filled with a wave of joy and calm. I felt so light I might have ascended into space. That was the hardest book to write because it was about sisters and I really wanted to be honest about the complications of a sisterly relationship. My relationship with my sister is the most problematic one I have and that was what I was mining. I finished it. I did it. I didn't quite say everything I wanted to say about sisters but I got the ending right and that makes me proud even today.

This book. Here now. This book that I am writing might kill me. At the moment the book is called The Story of I but it has had many titles in many drafts. It started as a novella in 2007. I worked on it for a year in 2012 and didn't get it right. Now I am back at it and my changes aren't working. I don't feel like I am in control of my world. I don't have a way into these characters. I approach the page with dread. This is the hardest book I have ever written. This feels harder than Steeplechase. It keeps shutting me out. Whenever I have to go to the writing place I worry that I am going to end up feeling so useless that I will dream of falling off bridges, day-dreams. If only this bus could crash now I would never have to go back to that book. This book brings me closer to myself and therefore closer to my death.

No one is forcing me to go back to that book.  I could walk away and no one would be the wiser. I could start an easier book.  But that wouldn't help me to grow as a writer.

I read My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout yesterday. It is a good book. Solid. True. It has all the elements that I want in this book but that I haven't managed to reach yet. This is why I have to keep working. If I manage to get this book right I will be a better writer. I will know how to find truth even in the oddest places. We don't write to 'be a writer' we write to become a better writer. If I want to be a writer I can just keep writing more easy books because I already know how to do them. I need to grow as a writer. I want to write something real and true. I want to believe that the hard books make us better. I want to believe that setting a higher bar is a good and fine thing.

This bar is so high.

I will go back to the desk today and try to make yet another run at it. I will fall and run again and fall again. I hope one day soon I will manage the leap I need to get this book done before I die from it.