Writing, Rewriting, Writing, Rewriting

I wasn't expecting it to be like this.

It's bedlam at the airport.

It was long ago, but not so far away.

I'm a Territory kid.

I step off the plane at Jackson's Airport and the heat hits me like a furnace blast.

I stepped off the plane at Jackson's Airport and the humidity hit me in the face like a hot wet towel.

This is my sixth attempt at beginning Independence (which may not be called Independence any more, by the way), my "New Guinea" novel. Some writers spend days on a paragraph and don't continue until they've got it exactly right. In this way, their novel falls from their fingers like a heap of perfectly formed leaves.

But when I get stuck, I start all over again. I am a chronic re-writer. And even after I get a whole draft, I will cut and paste and type it out all over again, tinkering as I go, three, five, a dozen, twenty times over, poking and moulding and tweaking, shaping and trimming and layering.

There is a Jorge Luis Borges short story in which an author strives to understand the mind of Cervantes so well that he can rewrite Don Quixote word for word -- yet it is not the same book, though the words are the same. Sometimes (though I ain't no Cervantes, nor Borges either) that's how I feel when I type out the same words for the twelfth or thirteenth time. They are the same words, but the story is not the same, because of the those twelve or thirteen versions that have gone before.

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