New York has been lovely of late. I've been doing a lot of nothing since we got back from Greece, taking my time before delving back into the novel for a few weeks (months? days? overnights?) of work to make it ready for publication. And, after that, of course, comes the waiting for it to appear on shelves. (Or, in remaindered boxes at the back of the store, which I have considered.)
I am both excited and anxious about re-entering it. Can I access that emotional place, that language, the energy that made the book what it is? This is the difference between inspiration and work, I keep thinking. Writing is so mysterious that I think we are often fearful that the magic won't take. It takes so much out of you, that it becomes to sacred. Of course, the big secret is that there is no magic, and nothing is sacred. And yet...
This business of art-making still eludes me. I realize more and more as I get older, that I am purely an instinctual writer. (Are there other kinds? Puzzle-y kinds? Character-y kinds?) I don't start with plots, or characters, or even "ideas." What always emerges first, are voices, and even more enigmatic forces, which I can only describe as "The Feelies." It's kind of like this: Say you are on a front porch somewhere, and miles away, the wind starts blowing, but you can feel it, even though it's not on you. You just know it. You just have to trust yourself more than you trust anything else. The wind will eventually reach you. Or something like that.
I can't put a finger on that distant knowledge-thing that creativity feels like. And, I guess the most ridiculous part is that I feel simultaneously compelled to understand it, (and to write about it in unclear metaphors about wind and porches) and also so completely indifferent to it.
Jean Gray, where are you to explain all this?