restricted access Writing the Novel
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57 Writing the Novel On the day the story comes to me, the chapters hang like cured hams from twine. Easy, I think. All I have to do is push aside the dark to cut them, stuff them into my burlap bag. That’s how this winter will go by, I think, all day sitting at my desk in jeans and old socks, pushing the salty flesh through the little language peephole so the story comes out like the alphabet lined up in rows. And then at dusk to drink a glass of cabernet, talk to my husband, careful not to say anything about the story. Because I know nothing I can tell him about the story, for instance, I cannot tell him how this afternoon it came for me like a living thing, rude, not well spoken, but shambly, its bones clattering like the oak as it stepped from its dark hole in our yard, and I felt earth bucking, saw the willow tossing her hair like a woman on her hands and knees, trying to get away. What I know connected to what I don’t know, all of it climbing through my window, crouching in the corner of my office, its snouty breath, the rattle in its throat, its black lips and yellow fangs. The alphabet fell away like a foolish dream. Quick and rampant, the story leapt onto my desk where it can grow. ...


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