Readers’ responses to the 4th of my National Post Afterword pieces, The Novelist Wakes, has moved me to say something about its genesis. As I said in my last post, I struggled with these pieces. Toughest was coming up with a 4th. I had 3; I didn’t seem to want to write more. I’d been writing pieces and discarding them for days, and finally had to run some errands, and was standing in line to get my driver’s license renewed when an idea came to me. It was vague, as with the recollection of a dream, but insistent. I left the queue to get a piece of paper off the counter and started to write, each line shaping itself around the one before. I had finished by the time I sat down for my driver’s license pic, 10 minutes perhaps. I edited very little.
Inspiration happens many different ways, but this has recurred: work, toss, work, toss, and then the piece arrives, fully formed but without any superficial resemblance to its former drafts. Mysteries of the brain.