As the retreat in rural Tennessee continued, I wrote a number of poems, but nagging at me was getting started on the next novel. I went back through my writing sketch book, where I draft poems, write fictional prompts, and gather ideas, and I typed in about 8 possibilities, prompts that had a nice ring to them or an intriguing character or situation.
And then on the third morning of the retreat, I get up early, having finally adjusted to the time zone change, and I plunged in on one. For the last five days, I have written on this piece first thing. I don't know what else to call it. It isn't a short story. I know that it's way more than that. But is it a novel? Will the characters speak to me for the next year? Will I find a theme that is substantial enough to build a whole novel around?
I miss the certainty of the last novel adventures, knowing that I was on the right track from the beginning. And yet, this is just another kind of adventure, and I'm willing to take the ride.