Veronique Darwin

Stop and Start Again

In Dreams, Inspiration on February 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I have two categories of things in my life: those that I am able to stop and start again, and those that I am not.

I am able to stop and start again when I go for a run. I forgive myself for this. I am not that big a runner. Once my sister and I ran a marathon. I stopped and started again. It took us a full five hours, which I think is harder than running a fast marathon. I usually start running again when I get new running shoes. I usually start and stop running again on Mondays.


I am not able to stop and start again when I am feeling upset. I don’t forgive myself for this. I am moved by my emotions. I don’t know how to make them start or stop, but they’re on or off and they stay that way. I am always starting to work on this, until my emotions make me stop.

I used to be able to start and stop dreams. I could tell monsters to stop chasing me; I would tell them I knew how to wake up. I think I still can start dreams – I am writing a book, and all that takes is dreaming.

I am unable to start and stop speaking. I’m always saying something I shouldn’t have started to say. I’m always interrupting. I talk during movies and I talk to pets and myself. But when I stop speaking I find it really hard to start again. The more I practice my French, the more I fall out with my native tongue, unfamiliar with the polite way to start a rude sentence, with how it is you’re supposed to say something simple to a stranger. I speak like a child: unaware I can control my own voice.

I am able to start and stop writing. Other people write things the night before, and I edit one book for years. Editing is relishing in the starting and the stopping. It’s an obsession, useful but too much. I made a childhood career of starting and stopping first pages of what I imagined to be stories. They were always just first pages, nuggets of character introductions to what ended up being really just the same character. I remember thinking I was bad at plot, only good at starting and then stopping stories before they became anything like real life.

  1. It’s so hard to stop and start when you are writing – I think. When reading my first book I can tell where I shelved it and where I plowed through … the plowing was, for me at least, always the better writing.

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