When I last left you, I was on the floor with all my Ellen Gilchrist books surrounding me. I put the last one back on the shelf this morning. Well, that’s not exactly true. I kept two by my computer so I could write this post. I kind of knew what I wanted to write. So I started typing. But then I wanted to give you an excerpt so you could hear her voice.

I have a million paragraphs I could use, but I have one in my head that I read over the weekend and I want to find it. I’ve looked all the places I thought it would be. I’ve marked four other passages, but I want to find that one. So I’m pulling all the books off the shelf again. Back in a minute, I hope.

I give up. [there went a fox] But here’s one I also love. It’s the opening paragraph of the last story in the collection Drunk With Love. The story is called “Anna, Part I.”

“It was a cold day in the Carolinas, drizzling rain that seemed to hang in the sky, that barely seemed to fall. The trees were bare, the mountains hazy in the blue distance, the landscape opened up all the way to Virginia. It was a big day for Anna Hand. It was the day she decided to give up being a fool and go back to being a writer. She called her editor.”

What I learned about structure from looking through all these books and others, which is what started all this, is that you can pretty much do anything you want as long as it opens the book to the reader, including titling the last story in a collection “Anna, Part I.” So I’m going to let go of the question of structure for a while and go back to writing.

By the way, don’t you just love her titles?

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