{gratitude: 11.11}

Today I feel like I ought to correct the perception I created yesterday when I tweeted that I had deleted a whole chapter of my novel and flung myself into the sun…

That was just, um, a Wednesday…? That sort of dramatic action happens around here a LOT. Victor LaValle was the artist-in-residence at Mills College during my MFA, and he was a big proponent of “let it all burn, the genius is within you.” I thought that was the veriest nonsense at the time and I LOATHED the idea; years later, it’s just reality. (Yes, you win again, Victor.)

Deleting is harder, though, when you have a novel of some seventy thousand words… Foolishly, I created a “holding file” for things I had to cut, and tried to find places to reintroduce them… and I realized I was constructing an entire chapter off-kilter, just to make space for what wasn’t necessary anymore.

That is a really annoying discovery.

Just use the delete, kids, and be grateful for the privilege. No, really.


Delete is a nothing word –
Describing things best lost.
Details are only litter
When deducting from its cost.
Devising plans to salvage text
Defeats its central plan:
Decode first what makes sense to leave
Then debut your garbage can.