The final entry:
September 19th, 2016
I really have been here before. In my last diary entry I explored the reluctance most writers have to finish the text and say goodbye. And yet… And yet. As I make my final tiny changes – a job that cannot take longer than another two weeks – I find myself straying down a familiar path. The novel that occupied my last twelve months is done (barring minor changes) and I am as ready as I shall ever be to say goodbye – or au revoir: before the book is published I shall see it again for yet another set of ‘minor changes’. But by then I shall have moved on. The text I shall revisit will be an old text, the novel I thought I’d finished, the one I wrote ‘some time ago’.
For I shall be working on another book. That is my ‘familiar path’. In the last year I have, as a writer, thought of little other than the book I have been writing. But now as I make final adjustments, and as I edit rather than create, my thoughts drift way from the work in hand towards what may become the next book I shall write. At this late stage in the old novel, when I am working almost mechanically, I am at the same time exploring fresh fields: what shall I write next?
I think I know the answer. For all these months I have had few fresh ideas; I have been too preoccupied with Mother Naked. But now – and this is the familiar path – I am differently preoccupied, with a new story, a quite different story, a story I am eager to begin. That familiar reluctance to finish with the old and say goodbye has been replaced with an impatience to move on. We writers are unfaithful lovers. While we are with you, dearly beloved text, we believe ourselves fully committed but, as unfaithful lovers always will, we tire of you and look elsewhere. I have lived with you, dear Mother Naked, I have given you all I had – but I have caught a new scent now. A fresh young muse is whispering in my ear.
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