Today I got the right sized paperclips. I got a box of big metal ones, all shiny and new, and lined up like French beans. Weirdly thrilling, these little implements for writing. Real things are much more satisfying than say, a new computer to wrestle with. I had been struggling with dinky plastic coated ones, having to shove two at a time onto sections.
I am just getting some traction on novel after staring at it in a stupor for a few hours. Remembered what friend Amy Jenkins said about fiction, that her novel would SNARL at her after she'd been away. That's certainly true. Remembered what my father used to say, "The writing life is like a bowl of honey, you just have to lick it from a thorn."
I try also to remember what Graham Green said about his own work, that the next scene, or the direction of the plot, or what a character would do was always formulating in his mind while away from his desk, always, even if he wasn't actually thinking about it. Hard to tell if this is going on.
I remember these things because I'm at crucial juncture, 63K words in, where a bit of sag has developed. I'm like Wile E. Coyote trying to bridge a canyon with a plot that stretches some 83,000 words. One way or another, it must be surprising, or touching, or informative enough, or tense, or funny, or some combination of all, or the reader will fall yowling to the canyon floor, or worse, just put the book aside with the others they never finished.
"Only Connect." In art, in life, it is such a simple concept. Yet devastatingly difficult on the page. One gets over complicated, wanting to say it cleverly. Yes, that can suffice, but surprisingly, it is sometimes the simplest small sentence, at the right swerve in the paragraph, that connects and completes it. If it's true, life floods in, miraculously.
The paperclips sit on my desk, beckoning, and eventually they'll go on clumps and stacks of paper. Little things that are so pleasing. The plastic box is clear, and makes a satisfying click when closing. It's almost as good as the day I got a pack of ten gel markers in a kaleidoscope of colors, for editing.