Thursday, August 2, 2018

me 'n Ernie

It has been fifty six days since I typed the last word of my latest novel and closed the file. 

The novel is called "Marlene the Divine." 
The last word is "balderdash." 

The dictionary defines balderdash as "a nonsensical jumble of words," and as I stare at that pile of papers on my desk I get the sinking feeling that it might have been a little too appropriate a conclusion. Have I written the worst possible book? Is this a monstrous waste of paper? Have I violated the sanctity of some happy little north-Canadian tree for something people are just going to hate or, worse, ignore?



Ernest Hemingway is often quoted as saying that "the first draft of anything is shit."

We writers repeat this little nugget as a way of reassuring ourselves that we're not as incompetent as our pages initially tend to indicate. "Writing is rewriting," we say over and overanother nugget the experience of my last few books has always taught me to be true. 

And thank God for thatfor the fact that writers, unlike neurosurgeons, don't have to get it right the first time. Because if there were mortal consequences for initial suckiness, I'd be dealing with a lot of extra guilt right now. 

None of this makes it any easier to flip over that first page and confirm that I'm just another mortal like Hemingway, grinding it out a draft at a time. 

It has to be done, though.

Totally gonna flip that page now.

Or tomorrow.

Next Monday, at the latest.

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