I wish I had been born a novelist
and had the literary stamina
of the long distance runner,
to be able to run for miles in the desert
in my bare feet like those champions out of Ethiopia,
and I could get up every morning before going to work
before eating breakfast, before going to the bathroom,
to work for two hours, or even just one,
maybe write two pages a day.
I could finish in six months if I wanted,
some three hundred odd pages,
good, steady, forward movement, picking up each day
where I left off the day before no matter what my mood,
no matter whether I felt like writing or not.
The inexorable forward progress
would be motivating to myself and friends alike,
like a rigorous exercise regime
or diet with visible results
after months of grim, monk-like determination.
And I would write an award-winning book
that would be published to popular and critical acclaim,
a book that people would read and buy.
My book would be on Oprah,
or at least among Heather’s Picks, and I could walk into Chapters
where my thick, hardcover book would be proudly displayed
in a prominent place.
My book would be discussed in book clubs,
its themes and characters and plot
dissected in serious, even reverent tones,
as the layers of meaning were slowly stripped away
like an onion, bringing tears to everyone’s eyes.
My book would be positively reviewed
in The Globe and Mail and win major awards
like the Scotiabank Giller or the Man Booker.
My book would stay in hardcover for months
but would eventually be released
in trade paperback. And just when
sales were softening
the big news would be
the movie rights had been sold to a quality studio
for a ridiculous sum, and the kind of director
who knows how to adapt highbrow literature –
resurrecting Anthony Minghella – had signed on,
and to top it all off I’d autograph copies for my mother.