Friday, November 26


That afternoon, perhaps because of the shock, words began to uncurl from the nib of my fountain pen. (What a splendid term: fountain pen, the source from which prose flows, except in a dry season). I enjoyed the soft wet scratching sound of fresh letters as they linked up -- no longer in copperplate, but in adult handwriting that was at least clear and evenly suspended above the whiteness below: sentences skeining west to east, a book in flight. I grew to love the silence, even the mini-silences that swelled between one word and the next, and to this day, when words won't come, I listen for them rather than look for them. Sooner or later one that sounds right will whisper itself onto the page.

-- Edmund Morris Washington Post Book World 27 September 1998