I return (at very long last) to Florence

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I'm not just teaching sixteen memoir makers this semester at Penn. I'm also working with the very talented Alice Ma, whom I selected from a strong field of applicants as the Bassini Writing Apprentice. Alice returns me to my novel-in-progress. We think together about what kind of research must fuel a novel like this one, what questions must be answered, and how truth becomes fiction of an engaging but authentic sort.

There's been one small problem with this arrangement. Too many consecutive twenty-hour work days have left me no time for the novel-in-progress. So there is Alice, pursuing questions. And here has been Beth, suggesting in theory.

I had promised myself and others that I would right that tilted ship this weekend, and today I honored the pledge. I had 30,000 words of the novel, banged out during a few weeks last fall. Today I printed those pages, sat beneath a blanket, and forced myself to sit and read. If there was some horrid stuff, and there was some horrid stuff, there was also a book that makes me happy. Happy to work on. Happy to pursue. Since the best part of the writing life is the writing, in my humble opinion, I better be happy to pursue.

Having spent this day righting the wrongs of my in-progress novel, I will spend tomorrow writing forward. I will be afraid, very afraid. And I will let the fear propel me.


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