Friday, April 22, 2005


Yesterday while my students did a writing exercise (walk through a world already disappearing), I added to a long list of questions about the novel. Questions of why characters do what they do, when they know certain things, how they know them, questions I imagined someone reading the book might have. All this on a purple legal pad.

I'm supposed to know the answers to these questions, but I'm just as puzzled as anyone else.

Two times en route, flying to Vancouver and driving to Ohio, I really missed my characters. I thought what on earth are they doing? What am I making them do?

How different from poetry, which feels so deliberate, so much about schools and theory and thought and planning. This is just sliding, an avalanche. It got started and even I couldn't stop it.

I see her, my main character, descending, and I can't stop her. I can just watch her go.