I’ve been working on a new novel for a while now. I just broke 40,000 words on its first draft. It is messy, really honestly basically unbearably messy.
The problem, one of the problems, has to do with the proliferation of possible novels in my head—how I am never content for a novel to be one thing, but I always want it to be all things. (Another term for this is “commitment issues.”) I want any novel I am working on to be the book from Borges that contains all books—the book with an infinite number of pages that could replace the library of Babel (in which all books, all language, become by necessity meaningless). But in that meaninglessness (which is the necessary result of such an infinite proliferation) arises the possibility of something else, a devastating beauty. I don’t think it would be possible to look at the book of Babel directly, it would be like looking at an elder god, anyone who did would go mad or blind. Borges notes, in parenthesis, that such a book logically could not contain a middle page.