2 min read

Friday Open Thread (with Beginnings)

Close-up on an embroidery hoop, featuring long-stemmed leaves embroidered in dark green thread with yellow highlights to it.

Dear Friends,

I woke absurdly early this morning and started writing a novel.

There is a file name now with the novel's title in it; there are 238 words in the document. There is (with sincere apologies to my agent) a prologue, and the beginning of a first chapter.

All of this may change by tomorrow, but for now, it's something – a weird beginning, and a small proof that it is not impossible. A candle lit. If I can light it every day for the next 200 or so I might have a book.

It's astonishing what a body can do between the hours of 5AM and 7AM, when one does not feel perceived. It's astonishing what a body can do once its waters run clear of other voices and anxieties and recriminations and demands and guilts and six other projects, on its first real break from Everything Else in several years.

To be clear, 238 words are astonishing me right now.

I am very sleepy after a long beautiful day in which I hugged my sister and my nephew for the first time in months and months, and I would love to know: what things have you begun recently, of any size or shape? For my part, aside from novel, I've taken up embroidery; Shing Yin Khor's beautiful A Mending game was conceived around it, and I decided I wanted to practice before diving in. So I ordered a pretty kit from Cozy Blue – and immediately upon receipt found myself too terrified of messing it up to even thread the needle.

A dear friend wisely observed that "you cannot get a practice piece because you are too coy about the main piece, and then get coy about the practice piece" – to which I replied, more or less, oh yeah just watch me. But it gave me the push I needed to move past fear and do the thing, to allow myself to mess it up, to figure things out as I go along, and indeed I messed up the very first stitch – but then realized I could undo it, and had learned something, and went on. And now I itch to work on it, to complete it, to try new stitches, and this is the energy I want to carry forward into novel-writing.

So: what have you begun?

Close up on an embroidery hoop printed with a whimsical pattern of green leaves and blue vines, decorated here and there with dark blue dots and orange-red seven-pointed stars. Some of the leaves -- about a third -- have been embroidered with dark green thread.

Wishing you a restful and easing weekend,