After the novel

After a book gets finished, it’s tough to start writing again. Everything is emptied out and there is a time of refueling that needs to take place. Last book was finished in March and is now bouncing back and forth between cover designers and copy editors and about to be in the hands of marketers. I’ve learned from the last time that in order to keep myself from obsessing over each of the beyond-my-control happenings, I might as well right.

For me to to that, for my process, I just have to jump into movements and find the characters of the stories there. That’s what happened with the last novel, so figure it’s best to exercise here, in front of all of you. Hope you enjoy the process.

Yesterday, I had to take a train back from somewhere deep in New Jersey. Zooming though people’s lives on the those tracks – each of the bedroom windows with shades pulled down- I just kept seeing the people. The man out of work pacing in his living room that had become too small for him. The teenagers who ditched school and were taking off each others clothes for the first time – the wonder of that moment. Two construction workers hugging each other. A woman sitting in a chair that she was too big for.

Thousands of trees – we moved through thousands of trees. The homeless people that had walked alongside the train. The people that had laid the track in the first place – I wondered if they were somewhere in the world thinking that at this very moment, the work they had done allowed for transportation.

Thoughts just kept flowing in – overlapping with each other. The people started morphing into one of those timelines they have show you the evolution of humans, except it was going at the speed of the train. Through all of their lived. The round swimming pools in backyards.

Main streets all looked the same, but from the angle of the train window, you could tell that the fronts of buildings were really the best parts. We only care about walking in a door that’s painted right.

School busses were picking up and dropping off. Kids were walking that slow after school going home walk. A few police officers were parked on the side of the road wondering what people inside the office buildings were doing. Huge industrial mega-buildings didn’t feel the need to have windows. Wondered what was really happening inside.

Imagination is turned on usually by what you can’t see. Around me, on the train, most people were looking into cell phones or on lap tops, but I just keep outside the window for that hour and a few minutes to see if I would be able to to feel every minute of each of the lives that we passed through. Even now, sitting here early in Harlem trying to get words in and search through characters, I wonder what they’re all doing. Part of them on me now. That’s what happens.

The search is on for those idiosyncrasies  is on. Must slow it down a bit to be able to capture it all – thought the speed of the train was giving me the scope to choose what worked. It all did. The entire world. Each of these magnificent people is a novel themselves. There are living their lives for it. Some close their books when I turn to them, but others – others are open to letting us all in. They want the exposure. Just enough light though.

The train finally pulled in to Penn Station and there were all the people we had zoomed through. True, not the same people, but after moving through thousands of them, we can see that they are all pretty much the same. They are looking for the same thing. Strange how different they all go about doing it.


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