The novel has waited, these two months past, like a Karroo bride, busying herself in the kitchen with the farm accounts, waiting until her husband returns from the distant dorp over the horizon, his bakkie a speeding speck at the head of a barreling tunnel of dust, so that she can go out into the yard with the facts and the figures all sorted, and smilingly tell him where they are, as a business, and how they are doing.
With one piece of work completed, there is another demanding my attention. It is the way of things. But I am happy to have returned to my writing, if only to exchange a few words before hurrying out again, to do what must be done in the mundane necessary world.
If the first draft of my novel was the discovery and creation of the architecture, the narrative, of perspective and voice, of the slipperiness of truth and the elusive quarkiness of identity, then this revision is about the sentence. Seemingly simple, it is the sentence that breathes life – or spreads the odour of lifeless decay – into the construct. It is the sentence whose syllables and consonants must jostle or flow, whose sound must please and seduce, startle or delight; whose felicity or brutality of image or phrase must strike fire off stone, must – here’s another way of putting it – create the leap from computing to imagination.
This is my sentence.