I have been noticing that the novels I most enjoy these days move very briskly. I used to love exactly the opposite kind of thing: Proust, Dostoevsky. Maybe this is because I cannot believe how stuck I can get. I am moving like molasses; I have spent the last week on the same paragraphs, the same sentences, the same page. For the sake of variety, I go backwards and add details into past scenes. I think I am avoiding moving forward and I believe readers can feel that kind of delay when it happens in the prose. But I do not know how to get myself out of this trough. I check my email. I pace around. The orange cat is on my writing table playing with the lamp chain. She is far more interesting than Mary Shelley. I can hear some of you telling me to take a break, but I have tried that and if I get too far away from my desk I get anxious. I am in the middle of something and need to get out of it. When you are by yourself all day, alone with your own brain and pool of moods, you get to be something of an expert — on yourself, that is. And I think I am afraid to move into Mary’s future. It all goes downhill now. Two years from now, Shelley will die. And these next two years are filled with misunderstandings, estrangement, and affairs.