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Graham Greene & Me


So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.

—Graham Greene


For the past few months, I have not been sitting down at my desk consistently enough to make as much progress as I desire on my novel, but I am getting somewhere. And it feels like a muse is with me because I so often awake with an idea, dialogue snippet, or compelling detail front and center in my mind; as Graham Greene describes, a surprising amount of work gets done while one sleeps (or showers, rides on subways, wanders streets, lunches with friends). When this is happening, I know I am all-in with a project. At my age, I make sure to capture right away the inspirations that come when I am not seated and intentionally working. If not recorded immediately, they are immediately gone. Still, sitting down more, and for longer, is an essential goal.

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