Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I think I’m quoting James Goldman: “The easiest thing in the world is to not write.” 

I’ve been not writing.  After all my bold words about the hanging bridge, and, discounting all the notes scribbled on the backs of envelopes, post-its, paper napkins, and other people’s business cards, I have not really written a word in over a month.

For one thing, I’ve been busy with the text of STEAL ME!, which is being metamorphosed into an e-book.  For another, I was in France for ten days, visiting and eating.  For another, I had bronchitis (horrible!) and felt tired and dispirited long after I stopped coughing.  As any writer knows, none of these are valid excuses.  The truth is, I didn’t know where to begin, so I didn’t begin. 

Beginning is crucial.  Although the first paragraph or sentence or even many pages of your work often fall victim to your better judgement,  in  media res really is where you should begin.  Often you – I – don’t know where the middle of the action is until we get there,  cutting away to it, “cutting to the chase,” is usually a good idea.

How full of quotes I am!  It’s an easy way of not writing.  And yet, paradoxically, writing about not writing is some kind of writing, isn’t it? 

Meanwhile, and between me and starting to write, my most beloved latest novel is in the hands of an agent who seemed eager to read it three months ago.   Just four weeks ago she emailed that she’d get to it “asap.”  What did that mean, I wonder?   But why start another book when the last one is metaphorically still unborn?  There are a million answers to that,  I know, and yet -- the muse doesn’t choose to speak. 

And so I write this to you, silent reader.  Yes, there are worse things in the world, far worse things than wanting to write and not really feeling like it, chasing ideas down dead-end alleyways, thinking of mundane things that have to be done right away, bills to pay, people to see, meals to cook or eat or order, sleep.  But falling silent doesn’t feel so wonderful, either.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll be energized, with a great idea that demands to be put on paper.  Maybe tomorrow the agent will call, or…something.  Maybe I’ll wake up panting to go ahead, with my foot on the hanging bridge.  And maybe I’ll think up some unimportant first pages that I can write and write and then mercilessly cut through to the promising, exciting, mysterious heart of media res. 

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