Supposedly, when a caterpillar embarks on its metamorphosis to a winged creature, it must first reduce itself to a puddle of goo. If I try to embody this odd experience, it’s somewhat akin to the process of writing a novel.
It’s one thing to write a doctoral dissertation – or my current project, an historical memoir (oy) – which takes four or five years and makes you crazy but you can’t let go. Shorter projects, like writing an essay, may take mere months. It’s a true joy to write a letter. I will write them as long as their are postage stamps. But the process is basically the same: Write until something catches fire, feel warmed by its heat, keep going until it’s almost in ashes but don’t let the spark die out. Stir the spark, breathe on it, see where it takes you.