Six years later, I have 88,000 words about an elderly truck driver, a frightened voice on the radio, and a very loud god. It’s the nineteenth draft of this story, and it still has problems, but it’s as good as I know how to make it right now. I’m ready for C’s advice before I start the twentieth draft. She’s my ideal reader, the reason I write stories. I must remember this whenever I start worrying about things like symbolism, style, and relevance. Keep it simple. Return to the image of sitting around a fire thousands of years ago: we make up stories to entertain the people we care about. That’s all.

Along the way, I began to think of this book as a monster. A bizarre, embarrassing, and occasionally fascinating creature showed up in my life, and like it or not, it must be dealt with, or else it will leave me exhausted and haunted. As long as I pay some attention to it each day, it is happy. Sometimes it even performs neat little tricks. But if I ignore it for a day, it begins to get sullen. Let three or four days go by, and it turns downright mean when I try to approach, snapping at my hands. Weeks will pass before I can summon the nerve to go near it again.

After years spent fooling around with countless rituals and productivity routines, I learned the hard way that it’s all a mirage. The time of day does not matter. The perfect notebook will not solve my problems. Everydayness is the most important thing for me. If I’m lucky, this might mean a few hours of steady work in the afternoon. But it’s often just twenty minutes of scrolling through the document at midnight, rearranging commas and pruning a sentence, just to keep the monster tame. Even a quick pat on the head will do.

Legowelt – A Monster So Beautiful!

Loch Ness | Pacific Micro International Software, 2013 | Bandcamp