After days of struggling, I wrote almost 5,500 words today, skyrocketing right up to about 70,000 words in One by One. This comes with a great sense of relief and joy, because I was becoming pessimistically convinced that my January novel was going to end on a flat note, bereft of energy or action, abandoned against my will by my enthusiasm and focus. Instead, today, I muscled through the first thousand or so words, and then suddenly the floodgates opened and I wrote and wrote and wrote and now the end is clearly, painfully in sight.
What happened? For one, I persevered. I hung in there, kept adding 2,740 words each day, despite feeling like I was hauling a wagon with only one wheel behind me. But even more importantly, it dawned on me today that I was past the middle. The middle, which might arguably stretch from 30,000 to 60,000 words, was behind me. I was at the end, the home stretch, the build up to the climax and denouement (whatever that is).
This realization that I could start tying things together, could bring things to a close let slip the hounds of inspiration and suddenly I was off. For so long I had been wandering through the desert, creating phantasmagoria to believe in, and then, today, I found myself at the edge of a cliff, and I leaped.
Here’s a quote from the end of Chapter 9. It’s the last thing I wrote tonight, and I like it a lot:
They sat still and watched the world outside the windows. Watched as the breeze gently stirred the tree tops, watched as clouds endlessly changed, slowly spinning themselves into new shapes or into oblivion, becoming wisps or solidifying into erratic masses. Listened to the bird calls, and the occasional swooping form that flew across their line of sight. There was no sound from the city, nothing of the sirens, the cries, the honk of cars and sound of radio, no laughter from the neighbors or sound of feet treading on the ceiling overhead, no banging of doors or acceleration of motors. The great city lay asleep, and they sat there thinking of all the libraries gathering dust, the great stadium, the clothing stores, the shopping centers, the police stations and jails, the churches and pet stores, the factories and warehouses, the empty ships floating in the river and the empty cars lining the streets in their hundreds of thousands. They thought of the food spoiling and the encroachment of insects, the weaving of webs and the growth of weeds, the breaking of pipes and accumulation of dust. Everywhere about them beyond their own apartment the residences and halls and offices of mankind lay silent, still, entombing the thoughts of the couple for only as long as they were there to think them, and after they were gone, they would be nothing at all, devoid of all meaning to the animals and birds that would be the only living things to frequent them at all.