diary / by Edward Mullany


When I was in my twenties, and learning to write fiction, I read more novels than I do now, as I wasn’t reading them for entertainment alone, though they did entertain me, but also to absorb, at some level of consciousness, the techniques the authors employed, and the styles that belonged to them, so that I might, once I closed the novels, and turned to my own work, attempt to reproduce what I’d absorbed, in stories of my own invention, until finally I understood that such a method of composition does not result in art, but rather in an approximation of, or an obtaining toward, art, and that what I in fact needed to do, if I wanted to write something worth reading, was to forget about the authors whose novels I’d read, and even about any stories I might want to tell, and instead think only of what word I wanted to begin with, and what word I ought to use next, and then next, and so on, until a dream I had not dreamt, and that perhaps is not a dream at all, began to reveal itself, sentence by sentence, on the page, which is not to say that all those novels I read were for naught, but rather that their effect on me, or their influence, however strong, isn’t easy to describe.