So much for lovely writing.


Here are a couple of lines that delight me. "As her feet were the size and shape of the tiny paper boats Mademoiselle Parfait set afloat in my bath, Dust could only walk with the help of two ebony canes. The minutes of my young life were counted by their barbaric drumming on the ceiling overhead."

They come from Rikki Ducornet's entering fire, published by City Lights. The book was waiting on the shelves when we got here. For all I love the writing I'm yet to finish the book. The writing maintains a constant height. I guess I get a bit breathless up there and leave it so as to come down to earth. I'm much more likely to stay the course with a great plot and flat sentences than the other way round.

Yesterday I was full of my ongoing book The Lovely Life of Arnold. Today I look like letting it go. What I've written works very well as two stories. It doesn't have the narrative drive to sustain novel length. I used to love the sound of my own voice more than I do now. Now I like to trim it back whenever I can - to cut to the chase.

Years ago, sitting in this same Pyrenean house, I finished a draft of In Search of the Divine Mother . The writing process of that book was so fierce, the momentum so strong, I couldn't stop. I left that one book and promptly began another. I had no idea what the book would be as I started, and watched a children's adventure story unfold. A few days of writing and I had burned myself out. Last summer I picked up the idea again and wrote a wholly fresh opening in a very clear voice. Reading that again this afternoon, it might be what I work on next. It has a fantastic (in both senses of the word) plot, and it might be a fun challenge to write the book as simply as I know how.

I yearn to write lightly at the moment. Cromozone, my other ongoing novel, contains a tough and dusty world. Why choose to inhabit that world for six more months till someone pays me to do so? Why not write a story full of adventure and wonder and high-level intrigue ... write a book I would be delighted to read were it on the shelf now? Write the book you most want to read ... it's the best advice I'm going to come up with today.

Previous entry