my writing notebook: the forgotten waltz

Anne Enright
The Forgotten Waltz
Norton hardback

On chronology:

Still, I can’t be too bothered here, with chronology. The idea that if you tell it, one thing after another, then everything will make sense. (55)

On how to write it so you see it:

Aileen set her hands on Evie’s shoulders, letting the child slip away from under them, and she disappeared among the adults, leaving a disturbance of lifted glasses, as she made her way across the room. (103)

On titles:

The door closed so simply behind us; the shape of our love in the room like some forgotten music, beautiful and gone. (113)

On using what didn’t happen plus naming an emotion:

I ran home to him that day. I ran home to my husband, to his wise brown eyes that were not, in fact, wise, and to his big, warm body that had not kept me from the cold.

On Saturday night I cracked open a bottle of wine and we watched ‘The Wire’ on box set, and after that we drank another bottle, despite which I was numb, in his arms, with the thought of all I had lost: the movement of his hand was just a movement, his tongue was an actual tongue. I had killed it; my best thing. The guilt, when it finally hit, was astonishing. (121)

On details:

… her swing set, [sic] that did not have the grass rubbed away beneath it…. (125)

I don’t know what I expected. …that Sean would switch on a little side lamp instead of flicking the main switch when he enters a room. (202)

On using what didn’t happen plus summary:

And he drove back to the hotel too fast, where I failed to seduce him on my way to the shower and he failed to seduce me on my way out of it. And on it went. (126)

On the power of one word:

Another fabulous silence descended. (159)

6 thoughts on “my writing notebook: the forgotten waltz

  1. I underline and make notes on the last page of my books in pencil. I’m sure I’ve ruined a few with marks, so I have started to jot down passages in a notebook. But old habits die hard.

    Kindle’s feature to underline passages is nice. And I use it often. In fact, I’m reading The Forgotten Waltz on my Kindle. I have lots of notes and I’ve only just begun to read it.


  2. Pingback: the forgotten waltz and voice | catching days

  3. Pingback: the forgotten waltz and voice | catching days

  4. I do sometimes, but if I were to write out every example I loved from ‘The Forgotten Waltz’, I would literally have written out half the book! Seriously, it was a brilliant read, full of great passages like the ones you excerpted here.


  5. Darrelyn, somehow I missed this comment. You know we’ve had this discussion before–writing in books. Mine are all marked up. On occasion, I’ve bought a fresh copy of a marked-up book. Still, I don’t think I’m “ruining” them : ) I started out keeping a notebook, but the volume of my underlinings got away from me. I go back to the notebook from time to time. And yes, I like Kindle’s underline feature, but I am having SUCH A HARD TIME enjoying reading on Kindle or iPad. I want the real book.


  6. Olivia, I agree, with some books, keeping a notebook would feel like recopying half the book. But sometimes I wish I would slow down enough to do that, to copy each amazing word and phrase and paragraph…before I was on to the next book.

    Welcome to Catching Days. I hope you’ll be back.


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