Saturday, February 7, 2009

Me Too

I am just beginning John Fowles "The Magus". Fowles is on the "must read" list in my writing notebook. No idea where I got the idea that he is a "must read" but wherever it was, all I can do now is throw out a "thank you" into the ether.

His foreword to the May 1985 Bantam Doubleday Dell paperback, on the very first page echoes something I have felt for a long time:

"A more objective side of me did not then believe I should ever become a publishable writer; a subjective one could not abandon the myth it was trying, clumsily and laboriously, to bring into the world; and my strongest memory is of constantly having to abandon drafts because of an inability to describe what I wanted. Both technique and that bizarre face of the imagination that seems to be more like a failure to remember the already existent than what it really is -- a failure to evoke the non-existent -- kept me miserably aground."

I am still not sure if "the already existent" does not really exist. Often, in that dreamlike state, just before actually being "awake" in the morning, words stream through my mind like water. When I wake up, the memory of the words is there, but not the substance. Is there, in my mind, a place where the words flow unaided? Is this the place I "go" when I sit down and write two thousand words so effortlessly it feels like floating? Am I transcribing, or creating? Is this the "muse"? If it is, why can't I access it at will?

John Fowles started The Magus in the 1950s. It was published in 1965.

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