I have a week off of work coming up in which I am going to give my finished novel a thorough going over, at least a concentrated block of attention. So I thought I should probably start in on it two weeks ahead so that I can make the most of the time, as such time often proves evanescent.
I have been putting it off as I was forming the idea it would be laborious and embarrassing. It was one of the first things I started writing, back at the very end of 2003. Of course, I have been working on it since, with helpful criticism from helpful friends and encouraging, with insights gleaned from the new way of reading writing gave me, and with dramatically improved punctuation thanks to Lynn Truss. Still, I had the idea it would be like reading some of the books I start and can’t finish because the writing is so tedious.
It is pleasant to find that my work on it was not entirely in vain. In fact, I’m rather pleased with it and for that reason I am looking forward to further work. Now my question is, why can’t I write this well anymore?
* * *
I was working through my thing on Scruton and ran into a long, tedious, dense, boring part and almost died of a great, long yawn. A great part of it is composed of jottings down, many of which occurred in Duluth and all of which were meant to capture something of the moment which seems to have vanished.
* * *
Speaking of Duluth, I asked my boss what she missed about New York and after the pizza places and the Italian restaurants and a few other things were mentioned she mentioned the sea. The sea kind of pulls on you, you know? She said. I think I know, in a vague way, in the way of an inkling, but I would like to know it more: the pull of the sea.
* * *
On the way out of wherever it was we had gone, me, my boss and a colleague who is voting–or has voted by now–for Mr. Naive instead of Lady MacBeth, I went ahead and found myself walking beside an old friend. We proceeded quietly and began a conversation without any greetings. It was a comfortable conversation for she and I have many tastes in common.
I do not know what it is about greetings that has the power to irritate me. They do not irritate me all the time, but perhaps it is the lumbering solemnity of always making obvious recognition of a person, the clumsiness of over-enforced courtesy which is sometimes the only part of some greetings that irritates me. Anyway, we comfortably began with a simple observation about the long corridor in which we found ourselves, having no need of greeting for all that we had only spoken once in the space of a year.
* * *
Those perennial friendships that follow the tides of time and situation without resisting or futile attempted countermeasures are perhaps the most enduring.
* * *
Tacit understanding, is perhaps what pleased me–the agreement of minds as it were telepathically. It is good, one of the great good things of this life. I have another friend, the old girl, with whom I have the sort of intimacy which is expressed not at all tacitly but mostly by wrangling. I enjoy that very much as well, even though sometimes the enjoyment only comes upon reflection afterward, a pleasant surprise.