A friend told me the other day that the novel she just finished was not the one she wanted to write. Isn’t that the point? Isn’t that the sound we hear as we tap, or type, or scribble? The sound of our own heartbeat, and maybe we’re panting a little, maybe even sobbing, as the words get away from us yet again, and the story runs away with our soul?
A crappy deal, whichever way you look at it.
Truman Capote likened the finishing of a novel to taking your child into the back yard and shooting it. As a parent, I’m intrigued by the mind that could have created that sentence. Still, I take his point. I was all but undone by the completion of my previous novel, cried for days, became physically ill. Wracked with grief for what I’d created and destroyed. But not with this one. This one felt more like letting go of a red balloon. There was that sense of loss, but also elation. I’d seen its shape from the beginning, knew from the moment I conceived it, that it wasn’t mine to keep. They never are.