Monday, March 1, 2010
I have spoken, often, of this book that I have carried with me through a decade of rework, reconfiguration, enough half faith not to give up on it entirely, but still. Tears have been shed. Papers tossed across the room. Favorite sections and characters hacked out all to preserve: What?
The mood and the flavors and the dust and the flamenco and the carnations thrown from the rooftops of Seville.
I have spoken of this book, and oh, I have fought with it. You want to know where self-doubt lives, in a writer like me? It lives in the books I don't know how to finish, in the sentences that seem marred, in the static of first-person present, in the over-stress of conjunctions.
A few weeks ago, close to what seemed done to me, a very special reader read the book. She encouraged. She had questions. Ever since—through the throes of snow, client work, and a fever—I've been working to find answers, to move through the text one more time, to move through it newly.
I was struggling with rhythms as I made plot changes. I was mourning yet more favorite passages lost. I was intrigued by the introduction of two new characters—brand new and ultimately welcome. Finally, I thought, I was getting somewhere, and this morning, I rose again at that strange, sacred hour, to read the whole book through.
I think I've gotten somewhere.