That’s where I’m starting from today. A new chapter, not a from-scratch scratch.

Always a strange place, that new beginning that looks both forward and back at the same time. A lot to live up to—especially when coming off of a chapter as dense and fulfilling as the last one was.

This is a place of no-jeopardy. At least, not yet. The gathering of notes that will give the chapter its direction and tone is a place of Possibility. At the same time, this is a place of Terror. With each step deeper into the book, each chapter takes on a new urgency; each needs to do more, say more, be more. Having a clue isn’t enough, here. The end of the book is there on the horizon…time to steer toward it. No getting around it any more.

What is the chapter about? What does it tell us emotionally? How is each character different at the end than he or she was before it? A new chapter is a fractal of the work as a whole…same requirements, same demands, same intimacies….a reflection of everything that’s come before it, only smaller. If we’ve done the thing right, we begin to see the patterns in it. Even if nobody else is meant to, yet.

One step in. Another. Another. Until it’s everywhere. The chef at work, cooking up something meant to be great, using nothing but what’s on hand. Creativity. From scratch.