Shaun Levin

A New Book, Perhaps

In Writing on September 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

To begin a writing project is to say “yes” to the unknown. To begin a book is to embark on a journey with no end in sight but with the faith that there will be one. The journey of a book is by its nature a journey with an end. Let’s begin again. A book project is a journey with an end. Maybe that’s where we have to put our trust, in the fact that there will be an end, that we’ll start this book and if we keep going there’ll be an end, and after that there’ll be another book. But we want to be consumed, like in any relationship, we want this to be the most important thing, the one that matters the most.

To begin a book is to choose this book. Of all the other possible books to write, I choose you. Why this book? The promise, the breadth, the ratio of known to enigmatic, the range, the fun we could have, the allure of a writable book. Yes, I could write you and it could be fun. You will being mystery and comfort to my life. I choose you.

A book is a mystery and a promise. A farewell to something. An exorcism.

We take on a book because there is something nagging at us and we’re not sure why, or we want to tell a story and there’s an answer to something we sense we will find there. There’s something there to discover. Also: It’s a test (not the precise word, but close enough) to see if it’s possible to hold this story in the form of a book. And the journey will be the journey to finding the right form. We like the challenge, or the idea of a challenge, the possibility that it will improve the quality of our lives, whether through the joy of doing it, the possible rewards – financial, emotional, romantic – or, again, the exorcism, the opening of the way to other books. Those motives and others are there. Maybe it’ll take the writing of the book to discover what it was that compelled us to write it.

  1. Love this. Especially the idea of choosing the book we write, like choosing a companion. Although I have to say, the book I am writing now sort of chose me. Or the protagonist chose me. He just turned up on the doorstep of my mind, looked at me, and I knew I had to tell his story. This was some years ago – luckily he is a very patient guy.

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