The beginning, middle, end or whatever…
If she had imagined in her mind's eye how grotesque she looked hanging dead from the ceiling, she may have backed out of the idea of killing herself like that. But, obviously the pain or whatever it was must have been so overbearing in that moment to faze every other thought or vision out into some deeper recess of her brain. I wasn't feeling sad enough or even perplexed by her action. I was experiencing a sense of deja vu, as if I'd seen it coming. A strange kind of calmness had enveloped me, about which I'd have argued with her for hours if she had made a prophecy about it as my reaction to her death.
I’d written the above passage after reading how Ian McEwan starts to write something new:
Sometimes I experimentally write out a first paragraph – or middle paragraph, even – of a novel which I feel no obligation to write. Those kind of dabblings I always set down in a green, ring-bound A4 notebook. It’s full of paragraphs from novels I will never complete, or hardly start. But sooner or later, one of those paragraphs will snag my attention, and I’ll come back to it asking: why does that interest me so much, why does that seem to offer a peculiar kind of mental freedom? And so I might find myself adding a page or two. It was with a complete free hand, for example, that I once wrote what turned out to be the opening of Atonement – with no clear sense that I was committed to anything at all, I was just playing with narrative positions, with tone of voice, with a certain descriptive moment. Or I might decide that what I’ve written belongs to the middle of a novel, and then I’ll spend some idle time tracing out a beginning. Then abandoning it. It’s a way of tricking myself into writing novels.
Here is the full interview.
I’d this image of a female hanging dead from the ceiling in mind for a few days when I was thinking of writing something new. Without really having a clue how to convey it or even the story behind it. The first line came in two-three days. And, it took a few more days (with my legendary typing speed and lethargy) to add words to make into a paragraph.