“she saw her pale reflection in the window”

— “Read my book,” the novelist said. “Are there breasts in it?” asked Brad. “Oh just grow up,” the man sneered. He didn’t notice Brad’s left hand reaching under the workbench for the .357 Magnum he kept taped there for just this eventuality. “I’m a serious novelist,” the man said quietly, “and I’ve won many awards.” But those awards weren’t going to save his skin from some serious perforation now. No, sir. BLAM BLAM BLAM.

-Garrison Keillor

I ran into this great article by Garrison Keillor the other day.  I hope you just click on the link and read it, because it is is short and clever and funny.  But in case you don’t, it is about writing and reading and people who get MFAs to write things about pale reflections in drifted snow (have you read things like that?  I sure have).  I found it very encouraging, as I have written nothing about snow with pale reflections in it.

After a few weeks that left me feeling totally braindead every time I looked at a notebook, I have found myself returning to writing.  It feels like returning home from a trip to a house that is somewhat out of order.  It feels homey and messy.  There are so many things to get in order.  Notebooks of poems here, jots and observations scattered all over the place, that project that is kind of started in three notebooks and fully begun nowhere, that novel that keeps bugging me, the short story I thought was no good, but is actually rather nice…I’m a mess of notebooks and projects.

I can’t imagine it any other way, really.  I considered stopping work on my novel while I worked on some other things that might have more publishing potential.  But try as I might, I just can’t get Joseph and his world out of my head.  So I’m stuck with it and a homey messy writing time, much of which I doubt will ever be profitable.

On the other hand, I ran into a man on the street that used to come into the coffee shop.  I hadn’t seen him for a very long time.

“Are you still working on your novel?” he said.

And I said yes.  And it sounded nice.


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