Creating a single moment on the page begins with a thousand moments in the writer’s head. Hell, more than a thousand. Find an infinitesimal number. Double it. Now you’re close. Or not.

That’s because writing (even in its moments of greatest fluidity and ease) is never a thing as simple as sitting down, turning it and burning it. Every word is the product of thoughts that take their own sweet time to reach critical mass and produce a single viable idea. Every moment of ahahhh is birthed by a million minutes of preparation and woolgathering and torment and confusion; the finding and fitting of the puzzle-piece that may (or may not) actually find its way into the work one day.

Somebody once wrote, of a movie about a writer, how the hell do you film somebody sitting around thinking? And true dat. There is a lot of sitting and staring that happens with writing; a lot of wakey-wakey nights and the unpredictable, bleary-eyed surprises that come at the cusp of sleep (you should hear some of the mumbled notes recorded from the midnight cave of pillows—pretty damned funny, if I do say so)…the thoughts that find their way into your wooden, sleep-addled head with the first drops of water in the shower…the sunrise moments that flash you in the car or on a walk far from home.

I often think how hilarious it must look, this seeking of the moment among moments…somebody sitting in a chair staring stupidly out a window or lying on the couch, supine and stupid from an afternoon nap… a person on a stroll through the inner cosmos, selecting a star—sometimes unbelievably small and unimpressive—from the firmament.

I have no idea what’s coming in the moments of imaging that I will be coming next—the opening of the senses one by one, isolating them, quantifying them, stalking them to see where they take me. Fair warning: I’ll be going to that strange and twisted place again, a place with its own million moments, a place where I will be oddly content.

In the meantime, you’ll be able to recognize me…. I’ll be the one strolling along a mental Champs Elysees with a nine-mile look in her eyes. The happy resident of the city of simultaneous attachment and disengagement… a woman delighted to be totally present in a world that nobody but herself can see.

Any wonder why writers are a little bent? Or why we’re so happy to be?

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