For the novel not yet written

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

This morning I rolled out of bed, grabbed a pen and blank paper, lit the fire, poured a coffee, and wrote a novel.

Okay, I didn’t actually write the novel. I plotted it. The characters and the story have been shadowboxing in my mind for several days, and today I sketched it all out, from the opening scene to the close. I suspect most novels aren’t written like that, but what would I know? I’ve never written one before. I’m a little scared my brain will be tricked into thinking I’ve written it now. That happened to me once.

But then this post from Ellen Blum Barish at Thread showed up on my screen. I’m always alert to omens, and I’m taking Ellen’s post as one. On this day when the sun is dancing through my dirty windows promising spring after a long, cold winter, on this day when I have set my intention, not just to write, but to write this novel, Ellen shared “music for the essays not yet written” in the form of this song:

Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

I break tradition, sometimes my tries are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes
But I can’t live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten


My novel is not yet written, but today is where it begins.

7 Responses to “For the novel not yet written”

    • commatologist commatologist

      Or it could just be the beginning of washing windows! 🙂

      Reply
  1. Ramona Scott

    Love this – metaphorically, not just literally. I have wanted to write a book about life but never even got to the stage of sketching it out let alone pen to paper. But I like the words of the poem challenging me to open up the dirty window and let the sun illuminate that which is still unexpressed, still undone from within my self. Thanks for this inspiration Leslie.

    Reply
    • commatologist commatologist

      I hope one day you’ll put pen to paper, Ramona. Keep me posted!

      Reply
  2. carin

    “Feel the rain on your skin
    No one else can feel it for you”

    Oh this is happy news. I will think of you from time to time, plotting and chewing the ends of pencils, or washing windows… and all of ‘that’ (whatever that may be) being let out, bit by bit by bit…

    Also, this may be helpful, from Somerset Maughm… who says “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.”

    Tally ho!
    xo

    Reply

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