It’s pushing midnight on the first night I have deserted everyone and everything in order to try to get a hold on this novel–reorganize it and form it and cut away anything non-essential.

It ain’t working.

Maybe it’s the traffic droning by in an unrelenting stream on the interstate. It makes me think of the Doppler Effect, and the bending of light into curved space, and the origin of the universe. I have been listening to Hawking in the car during drive time where I do not need to concentrate on directions (might account for how I got lost for two hours). I thought he might infuse my subconscious, stir up the connections, and assist me in some brilliant yet indefinable way.

Instead, I listen to the whine of automobiles, wheels on a wet road, the frequency of the pitch starting low, going high, then dropping low again, like the red-shifting of the color spectrum of stars as they endlessly move away from our eyes peering through telescopes. Nothing is static, Hawking insists, although this is a fundamental controversy in physics and astronomy, not even those fixed stars that seem constant, unchanging, certain enough to navigate by. Since the Big Bang, that finite point at which everything began, all that exists has done nothing but infinitely grow and spread.

I followed my book outline with tenacity until the very end, when the point of the book lit up like a neutron star. Now that the central premise of the book is finalized, where should the journey start? Where should this novel begin?

This is my essential question. It could be a travel flashback–Dinesen, Schubert, Botticelli, Sappho. Or one of Helena’s personal background segments–the naked closet, the guitar player, the sculptor. Or a dramatic mental ward scene–Paul and the cutting bit, or the Japanese bondage, or her time in solitary.

Nothing is clear. I just need to think. If only traffic would die down…

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