I am taking a (short) break from OCTOBER ANIMALS, but then it is back to work. It feels like I have taken a lifetime to work on a book so short. I even had a (for myself) pretty detailed outline to work from. But the narrative started mutating right out of the gate and anytime I tried to force the outline it simply wasn’t working. The narrative wanted something else, and I have stopped fighting. Instead, I am giving the narrative what it wants and letting it go.
“If you love something, let it go” says the old adage. Except, i don’t expect this thing I love to “come back” and be mine “forever” or what have you. I intend to let it go, piece by piece, word by word. Every sentence, this story grows nearer to completion, and further away from me. As it should be. Someday, soon, I will let OCTOBER ANIMALS go and it will be yours, not mine.
And then, over time, my perception of the book will become foggy, as it has with works I’ve previously written. Narratives are like memories, in that way. An experience so utterly involving that shatters apart with passing time, to become hardly more than idle thoughts, half-remembered details.
Memory is palimpsest.
So are books.
I write a story to be half-remembered by myself and you read said story and you bring your own life and experiences and this perception of yours is grafted onto to certain words and passages, and so the story conjures thoughts and feelings and narratives within the reader, all of which is beyond my control. And that, is a kind of magic. I may put down the words, but it is the reader who gives life to the story. In their own way, every book is a spell.
And now, I must return to OCTOBER ANIMALS. I have spells to cast and creatures to conjure.
Thanks for reading.
One thought on “Memory Is Palimpsest”
I had to look up the definition of palimpsest:-), but you are right. Palimpsest applies to both memory and writing.
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