Some Notes on the Experiment

View from the study window 1) I didn't write a novel.

2) I did, however, write 50,000 words. (Which means I'm a winner, according to these folks).

3) Those 50,000 words could, in theory, turn into something I might someday call "A Novel." I might even call it "My Novel" but I'm conscious of the fact that I don't really want to be That Girl who has A Novel which becomes so precious that she can't even think about it, let alone speak about it, because that annoys me.

4) The novel-that-could-be is not really about anything, at least not in the way that, say, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is about the murder of Roger Ackroyd or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is about a boy wizard battling the forces of evil. There's no big exciting build up, no crime, no twist at the end. There are, however, some llamas, an old house, a physicist (no, I don't know anything about physics either, but I like a challenge, and when I was 17 I passed the AP Calculus exam and then promptly forgot everything I'd ever learned about math or science, so that totally qualifies me), a swimming pool, twins, some stuff about P.G. Wodehouse, and a lot of notes-to-self in the text: say something clever here or SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING potatoes soaking.

In a funny way I think it would be quite interesting to read a text like that - with all the bits missing, the clever lines yet to be written, the soaking potatoes still without a context. But also, for the author, it would be a bit like putting your veins on the outside of your skin, or something. Everybody would see that when you write a sentence it rarely comes out all in one go; usually it's sort of word by word. Sometimes whole sections of thought don't occur until after they should have occurred.

My theory is that writing is like - well, like nothing else. It's like going backwards in time, sometimes. I've never successfully written anything chronologically, not even a blog post or an email. It makes me think of something Valentine Coverly says towards the end of Arcadia: "It won't work backwards." Because with writing it will (and as I was writing this, I put a note to myself, in parenthesis, in bold, in all caps, to CHECK THIS, meaning to check the quote from Arcadia, and I did check it, before I posted this, and I had gotten it right). Sort of.

5) Anyway maybe I will start a Tumblr and post bits of the novel-that-could-be, as they are, with the notes still there, the thoughts incomplete. In a way it would fit the text itself quite well, as the novel-that-could-be is sort of about, if it's about anything, forming stories out of an incomplete set of facts. Or at least, drawing connections between things without a complete set of facts.

6) Or then again maybe I won't. We shall see.

7) But anyhow I enjoyed the experience, if you really want to know. Probably I enjoyed it too much, sometimes. The second week was the most effortless and happy. I could get four or five thousand words down in a single sitting. I was giddy. Actually I was high. But I also knew that the high wouldn't last. and I worried about what it would feel like after. I thought: will there be a writing hangover?

8 ) Well, yes. There was. In a way.

9) Other things: I listened to the same playlist. Over and over again. Sometimes the same song over and over again, obsessively, and so the Man can be very thankful for the invention of headphones. I ate a lot of Heinz baked beans. I looked out the study window and watched the leaves disappear one weekend: one moment they were still there, or some of them, clinging to the cherry trees, and the next a gust of wind had brought them all down.