Karin wrote this to me just now. I'd sent her a short story for her appraisal before I sent it off somewhere. The story came to me overnight, between about 4am and 7am. In half sleep. At 8:15 I got up and wrote 62 words (I just counted them) on a piece of paper, then showered, dressed, took the dog out for the papers, did my chores, had breakfast and read the sports pages in the Guardian. Then I checked e-mail, Facebook and Twitter and finally got on and wrote it out. In one go, in one hour. Fully-formed. And yes it needs a haircut, phrases need re-arranging and it needs a damned good proof-read, most of which Karin has supplied. If you must know, we're currently musing on an important dangling modifier, whatever one of those is. But it really is what it is. And in truth I have no idea what it is. It might be good, it might be utter garbage, but that isn't actually what I'm interested in right now.
The same thing happened with the letters in Farewell Trip. They just came suddenly, often after weeks of waiting, fully-formed into my mind overnight and then there they were. The muse had spoken. I kept waiting for Karin, beta-readers, proper editors, to pull them to pieces, but amazingly they all exist pretty much as they were written. One insightful reviewer dared called them prolix, which I think was his nice way of saying rambling, but even that itself seemed purposeful at the time.
But then they were musings on stuff I know, like an uncomfortable spring clean of one's own closet, and my writing is by nature rambling so I was hardly on foreign soil. This story is about a Mexican boxer in America in the '60s who did something terrible. In his own voice. It came to me so real I could see and hear each blow. Where on earth did that come from? Really. Psychosis? Channelling? Synergy? Blessing or Curse?