Friday, 25 July 2008


So it's the summer, and I'm writing, and I'm going to try and turn this blog back into a journal of the writing process, mainly for my own benefit but also because it's difficult and interesting to be public about how writing happens.

So far writing this journal article has been horrible, slow and painful. But today I was suddenly possessed and wrote over 2000 words in a non-stop three-hour blast (I didn't even pause to knit a few rows while rereading/getting distracted, which I usually do while writing, ever since I gave up both smoking and Minesweeper), and it's basically done. When I say 'basically done' I mean I have to write the introduction and the final paragraph, the bits that actually say what the paper is meant to say, look up a bunch of references (Henderson and Bartsch on Lucan, check the OLD and the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae for cursus), put in the references, do a final cut-and-polish and get it into house style. But, you know. Done!

Things that may have contributed to this:

Putting on my 'Vergil' perfume before starting to write
Nice weather for writing (not too hot!)
... or, just possibly, turning my internet off and not going online before or during writing. (Didn't I learn that lesson last year?)

Speaking of Vergil, I occasionally fantasize about writing a novel about the tangled erotic-political-literary relationships between Octavian-Augustus, Marc Antony, Vergil and Ovid, but then I realize that I can't write a historical novel because I could never do all that research to make a coherent and accurate world for the characters to inhabit. But this morning, I realized that the reason I can't do that is not just because I'm too lazy, but because I fundamentally don't believe in creating a coherent and accurate historical world. I mean, I don't think of Vergil like a character in Rome, going about being all three-dimensional and authentic in an accurately-reconstructed setting. So now I've started to fantasize about writing an experimental novel about the tangled erotic-political-literary relationships between Augustus, Antony, Vergil and Ovid.

Narrated by Dante.

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