I make small changes in my novel; I spare my protagonist some suffering and I give her a new friend, a small-time Chinese-American grifter. I spend the rest of the week with the two of them, traveling by steamship from Seattle in 1925. I think about my life some more. I read everything I can find: Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds, which sparkles as always, and Rupert Everett's 1994 novel of high life, which doesn't. I limit my TV watching to an hour before bed. I think about why I married my ex-husband and why I chose my current spouse, my girlfriend. I think about how terrifying writing this novel is. I think about my close friends. I think about what I have confessed to the closest of the close, and what I have not. I think about the death of my dearest old friend, my surrogate father, and I cry for two hours, sitting on the tidy little deck in the bright sunshine, crying as if he has just passed. I think about marriage and monogamy and relationships in general, and I conclude that Chris Rock is the modern Voltaire.

I do very little, really. I think. I eat, very, very informally, and am glad no one is watching. I sleep with my arms wrapped around my pillow. I wander, for hours, through what Gerard Manley Hopkins called the inscape, the landscape of my interior.

Alone, a little lonely, preoccupied and badly dressed, I get to go out, to go in, and even to go under, just enough, before I get to go home.

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