Stretched out on a sofa in that time between full dark and weak light, snuggled in with Lou, a 50-pound velvet-soft chocolate Lab, I watch the rain through the 24-foot window wall as it falls in sheets onto the concrete patio and forest beyond. I lay there pondering how to tell the stories I want to tell. Is it one story? Is it a thousand?
The late James Michener, author of more than 40 novels, seemed to be challenged by the question of where to begin his historical fiction tales. Many of his stories seem to begin at the cellular level, way before dialogue, way before people, with creation of the land itself. For me, it always took a certain state of mind to tackle a Michener creation, often more than 1,000 pages long.
A kind voice whispered in my ear this morning while I listened to the rain. “Don’t fret about this, my dear. You aren’t writing the Great American Novel. You are simply trying to process your life as you are living it.”
Yes, that’s it. Exactly. When the writer is ready, the muse appears.