And then I find the first copy hiding somewhere.
This most recently happened with Alice Flaherty’s The Midnight Disease, a book I’ve mentioned before—it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read on writing.
And so, yesterday I was happy to find the older copy, the long-lost friend, and I leafed through it, looking at Flaherty’s words and my various marginal notations, and I came across a puzzling one:
from it—a dandelion seed, maybe, or a bacteria. It took me a while, but then I realized, no—it’s the sun! For
next to it I wrote: “Sunshine!”
Here’s the passage I was commenting on:
I strain my nerves for the faintest sense of the feeling I should write, the feeling that my feet are starting to lift off the ground. Although I sit down to write every day at five in the morning, on the days when my muse has left me, I can no longer pretend to sit down because I am in control of the situation. I am not writing but doing penance for all the days when the muse spoke and I failed to listen (87).
I do like this passage. I’m not a muse-man, but sometimes writing does indeed feel like penance. I love this book.