Posted by: Patrice Fitzgerald | April 6, 2009

The writing jones

T.C. Boyle said this about writing:  

First you have nothing, and then, astonishingly, after ripping out your brain and your heart and betraying your friends and ex-lovers and dreaming like a zombie over the page till you can’t see or hear or smell or taste, you have something. Something new. Something of value. Something to hold up and admire. And then? Well, you’ve got a jones, haven’t you? And you start all over again, with nothing.

I’ve got the jones.  I’m writing again, and making progress on my book.  As of this morning, it is up to just under 27,000 words. I’m not sure how long it will be in the end — perhaps somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 words, which would be short for a novel, but is probably fine for the kind of comic memoir cum mock self-help book that I am putting together.

I’ve written three novels and partials of other books, a number of short stories, many articles and personal essays, and a screenplay and a half.  Those, while having their own challenges, were easier than this.  

It’s not that the writing doesn’t flow easily; it does.  But I find that I can only do so much before I have to stop and replenish. This writing, about my own life and my recent experiences, involves a vulnerability, an exposure, that writing fiction does not. Certainly some of it is funny, but a lot of it is really rather tender, and while I want very much to share my story, it requires that old writing cliche — opening a vein onto the page.

Thanks to those of my blog readers who have been reading the chapters posted here!  If you haven’t found them, click on the buttons you see at the bottom of the sunset picture at the top of this page.  

I appreciate all the encouragement from those of you who have taken the time to tell me you’re enjoying them!

And if you want to read the entire, fantastic essay about the writing life of T.C. Boyle (not a relation as far as I know, but my mother was a Boyle, so… maybe!) I promise that it is worth your time.

Meanwhile, I am trying to encourage my jones.  


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