You Don’t Have A Book IN You–Because that is not where books live

It is a truism that every person has a book inside of them. However, this isn’t exactly accurate.
No book is inside the constructed self that anyone calls “me.” That self itself isn’t as “real” as a swing set on a playground, but I’ll leave the details of that to Buddhism and other spiritual paths.
Any book–written, partially written, or just aspirational–exists in an intermediate zone that consists of you, your imagination, literary lineage, and the world of other people. It doesn’t reside in the conscious mind, or we could grab it like a dental appointment card. It isn’t unconscious either, or it would stay that way. Rather, it is located in what Freudians used to call the pre-conscious–the realm where things emerge: dreams, daydreams, visions, and of course stories.
That book you want to write is made of only one substance: words. Words and sentences from whatever language you are writing in. Language is a book’s mother, grandmother, foster mother, step-mother, godmother, sister, and all of its second cousins once removed.
The book belongs to language as much as to you.
To write it, you must navigate between the lived and the observed, between what you think is the self and everything else. Books called “How To Write A Novel” are full of handy tips but they don’t always admit that a book is not inside the writer as if it were an internal organ. You don’t control it. You don’t even possess it. You might invoke it, incubate it, conjure it, or fashion it. Indeed, you should.
But you can’t pull it out like a radish from the earth or a bean from a toddler’s nose.

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