Friday, December 9, 2011

How it Happens...

I reach page 50 today on the new novel. I feel more and more certain of the way these stories will piece themselves together, the way they are inherently intertwined and, perhaps most importantly, that they already exist. Rilke wrote in his Letters to a Young Poet that "the future enters into us, in order to transform itself, long before it happens." In some ways I think he encapsulates the seed truth of my novel, and in another sense, I think that he speaks precisely of the process of writing it, how it is coming to be.

It is admittedly a bit esoteric, this little quote, and yet its essence, depending on the light in which I view it, seems utterly lucid. Violet's future entered into her in September of 1952, the day she received the telegram from the U.S. Army declaring her husband Missing In Action, in order to transform itself, long before it became her reality. Her future included those of her sons and of Jesse, her granddaughter, and within it was contained the whole of their combined and individual stories.

These stories enter me daily, it seems, almost as if while I sleep, dreamlessly, to be transformed and then manifest on the page as, upon waking, I write them seems to occur by some magic of transcription, rather than by any ingenuity on my part. My job, it appears to me, is just to be open, receptive to the channel that runs through me, not only because I have 'agreed' to tell these stories but because in many ways, they are my own.

Who knew I would write novels, intimidated as I have always been by a work of such magnitude? And yet here is another story, another pattern of inextricably linked stories, as it were, that I have agreed to tell and which, because of my willingness, yields itself to me, to my telling of it. It is a relationship of mutual trust, and I grow to know and love these characters. I wake eager to meet them again in that linguistic space we inhabit together. It is a gift. It is a surprise, even to me. Especially to me.

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