“I attempt a ‘body conditioning’ class. . . . The next day, my legs are made of sheet metal, and I cannot bend my knees.  I resolve not to exercise so vigorously again and move like a robot to my writing shed at the end of the garden.  I don’t stop to glance at the crocuses this time.  This book has to be written.

“Despair, as ever, at how novels must be produced.  We see them in our minds, these metaphysical beauties, complete in the mist—but we are forced to take them apart, plot them out, word by word, minute by minute, every moment reminding us of our limitations.

“In the evening, off to a friend’s book launch.  She makes a wonderful speech . . . . All the time, I feel like I’ve left something on the stove or a bath running—then I remember, of course, that I still haven’t finished my own book.”

Jessie Burton, “My Week,” in Saturday’s WSJ.


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