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Daily Archives: November 10, 2014

the key for a lock that doesn’t yet exist

by not another Rob?

“Writing the first sentence of a novel, for me, is something like filing, from a blank of metal, the key for a lock that doesn’t yet exist, in a door that doesn’t yet exist, set into a wall … An impossible thing, yet I find it must be done, or at least approximately done, else nothing will follow. The white wall (once of paper, now of pixels) will only open to the right key, or at least something approximating it, as I tend to keep filing, endlessly, through the ensuing composition.”

William Gibson, The First Sentence Is a Handshake (interview in The Atlantic)

And the rest is even better than that. But this quote here was a light bulb for me. In that moment, his words described the act of writing as something very familiar to me, but also something very alien and strange and brilliantly true.