Time for something new / by Sandra Sabatini

It's January again, quiet and very cold in this new year, 2018. I am up to my nose in a turtleneck and down to my toes in shearling boots at my desk looking at my screen. The octopus manuscript I've been working on, lo these many years, is finally being wrestled into some kind of shape. With the help of a mentor, I finally have some hope that I can bring the work to completion. I don't know about publication, yet, but I would like not to give up. I would like to finish. 

I have been re-reading Marilynne Robinson and Annie Dillard. Robinson on fiction as an "excercise in the capacity for imaginative love" and Dillard: "Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients" and "Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?" How to probe that mystery and how to make a story matter?   Keeping in mind always how goofy life is, how tragedy turns on a dime (or a slippery banana peel). There is just so much to notice, it's hard to find the plot!