You feel so close it’s almost like you can’t breathe. So wrapped up in the thing that is this thing you’ve made, you’ve perished internally over, you’ve formed with your own hands and led to float high enough to watch it slip away. You scour the pages of your manuscript for a spark, some piece of the pie you might take with you to the work den. Alas, nothing is sane. The novel is, quite literally, everywhere: all over the place. You’ve come to realize its growth as the monstrous embodiment of a thing you fear more because you don’t know it than because it’s so intimidating—though it is: intimidating. You begin reading through pages and pages of a past more lucid self to begin to understand that it’s not only got a mind of its own, that it’s actually sharing its textual space’s mind with your own dear subconscious: That you’ve been working on the damn thing for the last six-seven years, and that it’s so deeply engrained in you, parts of it—the realest most salient parts—that you can no more begin wondering what plotline to charter or character to flesh than you can begin to wonder how to begin with where you began. To understand that this is all so convoluted it’s to a point where you really should just drop it. But you can’t drop it. You live in its pages, so much now that it’s almost more like you’re living through it than vice versa. You simply cannot simply just drop it. You couldn’t if you tried. Everything you write becomes a part of the novel, one way or another. Everything you think, a possible germ for the settings or stories or people you’ve come to know better than yourself. It is the worst kind of cage: the cage which you’ve unknowingly made to keep yourself locked in; it is the worst kind of hole: the hole you’ve dug that is itself your own grave: a blank headstone. You begin to wonder, maybe this is all something else. Maybe I wasn’t meant to go along this path. Maybe none of this is worth any of my time. But what else can you do? You are tied to it now, in some Kekuléan knot you couldn’t possibly untether yourself from. You are bound in a tacit contract that is your head’s skull’s brain’s mind’s own inability to simply let this shit go. So here we are: where were we again?