It all started with the notes. Everything starts with notes. In the early days he was swept up so briskly by the preliminary ideas that it was almost like possession, as if he suddenly belonged to someone or something else. He was no longer an autonomous creature but forever subservient to the novel, that nefarious plaything between his ears. But even then it took him three months to fill an entire notebook with his first sketches of The Nerve of Time, the characters and their illustrations, the storylines, outlines of intersection, flow charts of time travel and its implications upon the narrative. He wrote as he’d never written before, in a frenzy of words and different inks, a pain in his hand and wrist that, when he wasn’t writing, he was rubbing.
And now at the very end he writes through the pain, he sweats and grinds his teeth, he mumbles in tongues, and the pain rushes from his hand to his head in a zip line of white fire but he keeps writing, his little room stacked with notebooks, all used, the order of them long lost, with new words flooding new blank lined pages by the hundreds. Now he fills at least one of those notebooks each day, his handwriting coarse and illegible, his face a mask of terror.