I slept at 7A.M. today, just as people all across the city were putting on their shoes and leaving for work, starting their day in the cold morning breeze.
The story begins at 2A.M., as I sat on the sofa, thinking to myself that I should go to sleep. But wait! I haven’t written a word of fiction all day long. With the deadline for the Manchester Fiction Writing Contest coming up, I’d best at least get some words down for my idea, right?
So I opened up the document, intending to just fill in 2 or 3 sentences before calling it a night, and retreating to bed after a few chapters from Wolves of the Calla.
(I know it sounds like I’m taking an awfully long time to read the book, but it’s over 800 pages long! Most people don’t even read that much in a year. My journey through Mid-World and End-World seems to be happening in real time – I’m taking months to read the story, just as the characters in the story are taking months to reach their eventual destination)
And I wrote.
And I wrote some more.
At 3.30A.M. I thought that I should sleep, but here’s the thing you should understand about inspiration: it comes and goes like the wind. You either catch it when it’s here, or you miss it completely, and you’ll have to wait to catch the next one – if and when it arrives.
(in that sense, I guess it’s also accurate to describe inspiration as a public bus; but where’s the poetry in that?)
So I continued to write, riding on the winds (or the public bus) of inspiration, committing to screen letter after letter, word after word, paragraph after paragraph, stopping only to counter-check my facts online. Every sentence bleeding with faith, hope, intelligence, ingenuity, disappointment, despair, and loss. After a certain point, I wasn’t telling the story anymore – it was telling itself, and I was only its humble scribe, describing the truth of the events with the full strength of my vocabulary.
And then finally, at 5.30A.M., the wind dropped, and the bus driver kicked me off at the last stop with 1,300 words in my file. Happy. I crawled into bed with my head still buzzing from the high of inspiration.
I laid like that in bed until the sun brightened up the sky. Some time after that, sleep mercifully came.
“Someone’s here for you.”
My phone started ringing. Ann Na’s calling. It’s 10.30A.M. already? Groan. I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and went out to face the day, 3 hours behind the rest of the world.