This is where I come from. Outside the world shifts from an explosion of colour to nothing, a landscape void of anything but blue, grey, white and a kind of half-dead brown. The lake slowly slips into hiding, its riotous self tucked under a blanket of ice. You don’t hear it moving, not like the small lakes. Those smaller lakes groan and snap and sound like they’ll crack right in two and draw anyone on their edge: small dogs, rabbits, me, gazing north into the big black maw. But that doesn’t happen. Well, not like that. It happens for snowmobilers, of course. The ones who plummet through a skin not thick enough to hold them. That happens. Once, maybe twice, a year.
* * *
I am not just a pedlar of words. Occasionally, when not gripped by the terrible anxiety of what-it-is-to-write-fiction, I do catch myself, um, writing fiction.
This task is probably the hardest thing I do. And being that it is the hardest thing that I do, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. Thinking about it, of course, is easier than actually doing it. Doing it means not thinking. Doing it means letting go and letting the thing happen. I’ll stop now.
For awhile I tried writing for an hour every day before launching myself into the hustle, hustle, hustle that is freelance writing in the early days of a doing this full time. After awhile I got too busy and stressed to continue. I’ve now decided to try Fridays. One whole day dedicated to working on this wee bit of a novel that I fancy myself writing.
I know!, I thought. Fiction Fridays. After all, who can resist such pleasing alliteration. And, of course, part of this project is to share my progress with you, gentle reader.
This is the sixth novel that I’ve tried to write. It has come out in bits and pieces (such as the excerpt above), often illogically connected, that are nevertheless driving towards a final form.
A few weeks ago I came across what felt like an ending and now I am typing all of these handwritten chunks into the computer to sort through them, attach them in places, and, mainly, figure out a little bit more what it’s about.
As Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, “Very few writers really know what they’re doing until they’ve done it.” The point is to keep doing it. And that’s what I’m going to do – with you along for the ride.