I’ve been trying to think of a clever, helpful writerly post that will get us all thinking and writing, but truth be told I’ve been writing, traveling, and swimming so much lately that clever, writerly posts are the furthest from my mind. I find the more I write the less I can or want to talk about writing. The process is elusive and enigmatic to begin with, and in many ways irrelevant since every single writer has her way of working. And things like craft—well, when writing I don’t think about that. Words come out, spill on to paper or computer. Maybe they make sense and maybe they don’t (an editor may tell me, and if not, I’m sure a reviewer will).
I met with my editor recently at a conference. She kept asking about my novel-in-progress. She’s read an early draft and “likes” it (whatever that means—come on, come on, just put the money on the table, that’s the only way we really know if they like it.) She asked what was going to happen, what changes had I already made, and the hardest of all, how do I write? I think I bs’d my way through it okay while maintaining the balance of professionalism and humility. Don’t get me wrong this editor is extraordinarily brilliant and very, very classy, so the fact that she even took time away from all of her famous authors to meet with me is amazing in itself.
But please, do I have to talk?
Perhaps it’s the upcoming residency and all the talking that I know will be done—good talk, useful talk, brilliant talk, clever, witty, helpful and inspiring talk (at least from my colleagues and students)—that makes me want to write as much as I can beforehand, and in silence.
Believe me, I am truly looking forward to talking with those of you who will be at the Hamline residency next week. I just need to get this next draft done and OUT by then. Silence and isolation can be a thing of beauty, but then so can conversation.