thereby, that I felt if I crapped out this time I would have to
hang myself. I didn't know what Resistance was then. No one
had schooled me in the concept. I felt it though, big-time. I
experienced it as a compulsion to self-destruct. I could not
finish what I started. The closer I got, the more different
ways I'd find to screw it up. I worked for twenty-six months
straight, taking only two out for a stint of migrant labor in
Washington State, and finally one day I got to the last page
and typed out:
I never did find a buyer for the book. Or the next one,
either. It was ten years before I got the first check for some-
thing I had written and ten more before a novel, The Legend
of Bagger Vance, was actually published. But that moment
when I first hit the keys to spell out THE END was epochal.
I remember rolling the last page out and adding it to the
stack that was the finished manuscript. Nobody knew I was
done. Nobody cared. But I knew. I felt like a dragon I'd been
fighting all my life had just dropped dead at my feet and
gasped out its last sulfuric breath.
Rest in peace, motherfucker.
Next morning I went over to Paul's for coffee and told him
I had finished. "Good for you," he said without looking up.
"Start the next one today."
112 THE WAR OF ART