met S for coffee last night. we sat in the roseville starbucks for an hour and a half talking about writing. S goes to snob school in st paul, and is spending tens of thousands of dollars just to learn how to write a book. meanwhile i slave away at this laptop, listening to sad song after sad song, pounding out the words until my emotions are so drained i might break...

anyway, i helped S map out the remainder of her thesis - a novel that she has to have finished by september. she explained the story to me, where she'd like to go, what she doesn't have figured out yet. i asked a lot of questions, offered plenty of suggestions to get her to the end. it was interesting to see the look on her face once she had the story figured out, once it all just clicked.

it's very formulaic, writing, whether you want it to be or not. the more you write, the more you understand your formula. the more you understand the significance of the circle. the more you realize that small things, like a 1904 world fair postcard, can become a major plot of the story. i can't really even begin to tell you how to get there. just that when you work at something enough, when it becomes this much a part of you, it's instinct.