Scenes From the Making of a Novel

IMG_9380What does it look like to write a book? It’s a stupid question. I wrote Waiting for the Man over a long period, in many different circumstances. Some drafts were written by hand. Some were done entirely on computer. I do most of my editing by hand as well, so I’d print out the latest version and mark it up and then input the mark-up into my laptop, making further changes along the way, making each version not just new but kind of new-and-a-half. A lot of that work was done at the dining room table.




The new one, which I’m working on now, is being done in my home office. My wife used to “own” the room but she’s a ceramist with a studio a few blocks away and so now the office is mine. I get to put notes and outlines up on my wall and stare out the window (right now I’m staring at a lot of snow) while I think of le mot juste. The home office allows you to shut out the world, even when it presses in, demands attention, as it does on terrible mornings (the murderous attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is everywhere right now), and on lovely days as well, when the sun shines in and tries to blind me into doing something ridiculous, like taking a walk outside.

What does it look like to write a book? I don’t know. But this is what it looks like to write my book. This one. I call it “Jones.”


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