Thursday, August 09, 2007
Sometimes you eat the bear; sometimes the bear eats you. Sometimes the story in your head spins straight out onto the page with rapt unhurried ease; more often, it stalls, refuses to wear the shape you planned for it, insists on a different direction, a new angle of attack. The story I first thought would be called ‘Oz‘ but now will probably be called ‘A Brief Guide to Other Histories’ has been like that. At first I thought I could get away with telling it in the second person singular, in the breathless rush of the present tense. I got all the way to the end of a first draft, but it wasn’t the story I wanted. So I started over, first person narration this time, telling the tale about someone’s encounter with his doppleganger at one remove. It’s work, but it’s also pleasure, too, when, as Angela Carter put it, ‘sign and sense fuse.’ But even after that happens, more work is needed . . .