I have a stamped leather notebook with pages of handmade paper and I named it The Book of Good Practice. I numbered all its pages, one to one hundred, at the bottom center. I wasn’t very careful with my script, because I don’t have a steady hand to begin with, and when I think too hard about how I hold my hand, I forget the way numbers and letters are supposed to work. The numbers on the page are a little messy, which is great for me because if I were to leave that notebook perfect I’d have never used it. Nothing worse than a thing too perfect to serve its function.
Each page begins a new story. So far there have been no ends to any of them. Beginning a story is easy, finding a trajectory to a satisfactory end requires a lot more from me. If it were a book of great practice, it would be filled with finished stories. But the computer is for greats. It ends things… or it abandons them while I flounder with all the things I could be doing.
(I stayed up until three last night dying yarn for the first time ever because I couldn’t find the exact yellow I wanted. Insomnia is a curse.)
Greatness is often beyond me. I’m a little afraid of it. I’m unable to wrestle something down in manageable chunks and make it small enough to fit an ending.
And that wears on me. I’m a writer, right? I make stories happen. I find ways to make the big things fun, to share dreams, to touch brains. Sometimes. Most times I’m spinning my wheels, starting a hundred things and praying something will find enough purchase to set me toward and end.
But at least it is good practice.