driving through the early morning

graffiti inside a brick-lined tunnel -- we can just see the mouth of the tunnel ahead

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
E.L. Doctorow

Sometimes the writing is hard, like pulling teeth — no, like dragging something out, forcing myself down a road I’m not at all sure I’m meant to be walking on. Is it like that? Wait, is this supposed to be what happens next? How can I know until I write it and find out?

(There’s only to write what’s illuminated just ahead of me, and see what comes alight after that.)

I’ve never been this far into a story before. At this point, there’s nothing clear about it. The characters are just now taking shape, telling me about themselves, showing me what they will and won’t do, introducing me to the differences between their story and my own.

That last is a delight. This weekend, at Writing the Flood, I started to write one of my own memories but then, because I wanted to use the time for work with these characters, I decided to make my story the story of the eldest daughter in the book — about her getting a letter saying that she was financially cut off after she tells her stepfather that she doesn’t want to have sex with him anymore. But the story didn’t fit her, it wasn’t right — it felt good to be aware of that, to be aware that she was not me. A different sort of clarity than I’d expected to find at the end of that 20 minute write, but important.

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This was the prompt: After a few moments of centering, find yourself at a time before this time, and see or imagine yourself or someone else opening a letter. Who is receiving the letter? Do we know who the letter is from? What is the energy, the response, of the person reading the letter? Give yourself 15 minutes for this one, follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go –

Thank you for the messages you send, those you receive and share, those you receive and welcome into yourself. Thank you thank you for your words.

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