This passage comes from Margaret Atwood’s novel, Alias Grace (pg. 298). I read it a couple years ago. It’s the story of a woman from the nineteenth century who’s been convicted for her involvement in the murder of her employer and his mistress. While this passage isn’t exactly reflective of the novel, I wrote it in my journal back then and think it fits with my postings to encourage us writers.
It is morning, and time to get up; and today I must go on with the story. Or the story must go on with me, carrying me inside it, along the track I must travel, straight to the end, weeping like a train and deaf and single-eyed and locked tight shut; although I hurl myself against the walls of it and scream and cry and beg to God himself let me out.
When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it to yourself or to someone else.