Today I am sunshot and sandsweep, elemental, alchemical. I woke up to myself before the alarm could even ring; I cooked my coffee, took my medicine, sat down at the keyboard, responded to an e-mail, responded to another e-mail, and then wrote and wrote. My goal, every day, is six hundred words. Anthony Trollope's motto was "Nulla dies sine lineâ": no day without a line. "I have been constant," he writes at the end of his autobiography, "and constancy in labour will conquer all difficulties." Six hundred. That's all I need, but I need it five days a week.

"Let me tell you a story," I say. "Now let me tell you another story." Because suddenly, yesterday, I realized that that supplication is part of what I do, as well. We don't tell each other enough stories. We forget to think about why we should. So, let me. Let me tell these stories. It's a request, a demand, a plea, an invitation. It's a come-on to myself, at least until those other readers arrive--the ones I'm hoping will get pulled in, seduced, won over by this work.

Today's total: 1092, and a starting place for tomorrow.

Today, also: the day I discovered everything else that's happening at Cambridge: the Geoffrey Hartman symposium I'm attending on Friday (whose registration deadline was today); the seminar series in which I will speak (which starts tomorrow); the lectures and talks I want to attend; the evensongs and organ recitals I can make it to at King's. In the space of an hour, I'd booked myself all up with afternoon excitements. Mornings are mine, indoors. Afternoons are for learning and meeting. Evenings are for eating. Nights are for resting. It's not so complicated.