I’m not arguing with any of these. But here’s another that came out of conversations with my favorite group of novelists: Writing a novel is like herding boneless cats.
We knew writing novels was going to be difficult. No one ever said differently. The cliche teaches us that nothing is tougher than getting housecats to go in one direction. But what if the cats don’t operate the way we thought they did? Every novelist has hit that stage (often at 4 a.m.) when we doubt not only our novels’ value, structure, characters, point of view, everything… but we also start to ask ourselves if we even remember how sentences work.
I often think of Lorrie Moore’s protagonist in “How to Become a Writer“, who is so overwhelmed when asked at a cocktail party what she writes that she claims “syllables, because they are the atoms of poetry, the cells of the mind, the breath of the soul.” It’s easy to get lost in the cave, the darkness, the fog, and among the flopsy cats.
So, among many things, this blog aims to be a place for writers and readers to get perspective (and probably a few of them), and a place for me and my dearest fellow writers to sort out our ideas about the disorienting process of writing and the whatever else gets tangled in the mix.