Friday, August 21, 2009

You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense

Today I felt so alone. Perhaps I just ran out of gas. So I sat and reread some Charles Bukowski’s poems from his collection called You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense.

something so sad
has hold of us
the breath leaves
and we can’t even

Then I read an entry in my friend Katie’s blog. Nearing the end—of my novel, that is! This is a novel, her first, that she started 10 years ago when she was 15. Only five years later did she revive it and now, after five more years, she’s coming to the finishing line. I want to know how she would feel this time when she pens the words “THE END”. The very first time, at 15, when she finished writing her first novel she felt like this: “It was late at night--a school night, mind you--the house was still, and I sat at my desk, tears falling in silent joy.” Reading that, I went back to the moment when I completed my first novel. It was 2 AM. Couldn’t sleep after that. An unbelievable feeling buoyed me. Peaceful, joyous, and empty. Like the emptiness I felt today. Then years later when I completed my next novel, it was in the afternoon. I reread the ending, and let out a phhhhhhhhh . . . What a marathon it had been! Like a burden just lifted off my back. There was no joy, just a workmanlike job.

Maybe the first time of everything is the best moment of all. Maybe we should ask John Grisham or Stephen King what it’s like to finish each of their novels. Was there any exhilaration any more?


  1. Oh man. That photo gave me a really bad flashback! Ha ha... actually, I'll be working on mine tomorrow.

  2. Aren't we blessed with a word processor today? Way back when that was what you saw when you just finished your first draft: a pile of paper sheets typed or handwritten!

  3. From now on when I go to literary festivals I'll ask that question of all the novelists I meet.

    I did once read an interesting thing from a novelist whose name I forget: he said his first novel was play but his second felt like work, the third was a bit of a mixture but from his fourth onwards that sense of play hasn't left him.

  4. Can we say the same thing about falling in love? I don't know. And I don't want to.

  5. The motivation for writing and completing a book changes with each one you write, consequently what constitutes a sense of reward is going to change too :)

    Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment on my blog by the way :)