The elephant in the room.

"How's writing going?" asked many of the people I stayed with during my trip.

I shifted uncomfortably in my British or French seat, depending. Because it's not. Writing is not going anywhere fast on this here computer. Oh sure, the blog is going fine... but the novel that I had been furiously working on for last summer's Iowa workshop class has been stalled. Indefinitely.

I've said before that exercise and writing seem unable to co-exist in my life. That feels to be still true, though for 2011, I have chosen to make health and exercise the priority. So that explains part of the lack of novel writing.

Bless you, William Trevor.
But another (not insignificant) part is that I feel paralyzed to work on The Leaving. I had extremely different sets of feedback from my Iowa class last summer and my 92-Y class this fall and it's left me, well, stuck in the middle. Unable to cut anything. Unable to add anything. Unable to see the right path.

As they are wont to do, though, my friends abroad coached me gently back into being in the mood to write. Maddy, especially, had some very insightful things to say about why I might be letting my perfectionist tendencies get in the way. And Angelique's compliments about my blog and how it makes her laugh made me blush in the backseat of a car ride around Paris.

I think I feel ready to open the door a tiny crack again.

So last night when we were commuting home in the train, Chris listened to a podcast and I daydreamed about Margaret (the main character of the book). Last night though I was a bit late in getting dinner ready for our dinner party, I found myself thinking about her too while stirring the curry. And during my run this morning, she was in the front of my brain.

And so in-between the running and the ballet and the swimming and the working and the traveling and the celebrating that is going to happen this month, I'm hopeful that a little bit of writing can go down too. I'm keeping the pressure low and the enthusiasm high. We'll see how it goes.

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