I was brushing my hair this morning, bent over a little, came up, and had twisted my back. Or is it my shoulder? I’m not exactly sure how that happened, the logic in there, the physical motions of what occurred. Either way, the pain is distracting me from writing at the moment. I’m also thinking about this writing-for-hire project I have—the contracts left at home; I forgot to sign them again—and what I should do to move forward on that, the deadline approaching next month. And when I read the news I tend to start crying. I just kept it in, as I am sitting out here in public. Also, a big project is due at work today—it’s sitting on my desk, awaiting me. And did I mention my back/shoulder? The two liquid Advils are not helping. Every day, at any moment, there is always some sort of distraction. I won’t let this ruin my drive. The difference is that I still feel it inside, impossible to ignore, the great desire to write this book, and a backache, a cry, a deadline or three, I don’t think that will keep me from it. Not permanently.

Yesterday, when it was time to walk to work, I had to shut down my computer and stop writing, but my mind was still cascading with possible sentences. The walk to work from here is at most 15 minutes, 10 minutes if I’m late for a meeting and practically run. As soon as I started the walk I found the line that would come next, the line that would start the next chapter. But my notebook was buried in my backpack and I couldn’t find it while walking. Worse, I may have lost my pen. So I just started repeating the line in my head. Again, again, at every crack in the sidewalk, at every crosswalk, at every turn. I would not let myself forget it. I would not lose the line.

I kept at it the whole way there. On the elevator, finally out of the cold, I dug out a pen from the very bottom of my bag and wrote the line down. It’s a good thing, too, because as soon as work started I forgot all about it and it wasn’t until this morning that I recalled the feverish repetition of something on yesterday’s walk, wondering what it had been.

I’ll do that every morning if I have to, line by line by line. It could take decades to write a book that way, but I don’t want to time myself. I don’t want to set rules. I always time myself and set rules. I just want to write it—however long it takes, however it comes out, for no market whatsoever, simply and only for myself. I’m painting a picture that no one may ever see, but I couldn’t live with myself if I never painted it. For the first time ever, I don’t mind that, the lack of expectations. It makes me want to write it all the more.

This year, and into 2008, I will have six books published. You won’t know what they are, because I won’t tell you, and my name’s not on any of them, and to be honest at the moment I couldn’t care less. It’s this one, the one no one knows about, that’s got my heart beating. Even though my back and shoulder burns, and I need stronger painkillers, my heart is beating somewhere under that.

Don’t stop now.

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