The Best Paragraph I Ever Wrote

Posted on November 10, 2012
Updated October 1, 2019

I’m failing Nanowrimo – a month where aspiring writers attempt to complete a 50,000 word novel. I started because I thought it sounded like a good way to get started on the stories I want to tell. I’m failing because banging words out isn’t how I write.

The best paragraph I ever wrote was written over the course of twenty minutes or so. It was about ten years ago, and probably the last time I was ever stoned. I was in the zone, sitting in front of an old electric typewriter, on an simple chair at a scrappy table in a sparse room, overlooking a quite street, overhung with luscious trees.

That is how I write and how I like to write. It’s a beautiful process. Admittedly I haven’t lost myself to it since that magical paragraph ten years ago, not because I no longer get stoned, but simply because I haven’t sat down to write.

Not only is writing in slow motion an awesome experience, it’s also how I read. I used to be a little jealous of other people’s reading speeds, like there was something wrong with me. Now that I think about it, I know why. I savour writing, just like I also eat slowly to savour food.

It’s probably why I used to read things I liked again and again rather than risk polluting my mind with careless and meaningless words. If you want a good example, try Tolkien’s Silmarillion, my all time slow reading favourite. You can’t read it fast if you try. I believe I can feel the love the author poured into the process of writing.

I’m thinking about where to take my stories, and whether I should publish them incrementally for fun (and would anyone care). The problem is the story isn’t coming to me in order. Should I start writing what I know and fill in the gaps as I go?

By the way, my best paragraph ever? Gone. It was typed directly onto paper and as much as I wish I still had my first chapter of Digging Woman, it’s gone, like so much from my life. Most of the time, that’s the way I like it.