A heavy writing period makes it hard to read modern fictionall you see are people doing the same things you want to do, but far more skillfully. John Fowles was doing it over the weekend; I shudder to think what would happen if I tried to read Proust right now. For now I've staved off the problem by embarking on Don Quijote, which I do not feel competitive with and which makes me giggle. So far I am particularly fond of Cervantes's claim to be translating an ancient Arabic manuscript (strategically embellished with noble drawings of Rocinante) and the way our dear knight talks, which involves replacing his h's with appropriately archaic f's; so he boasts of his noble fechos and fazañas and compliments all the ladies on their great fermosura. This doesn't stop him from correcting a goatherd who keeps mangling the name Sara into sarna (scabies), though our knight must concede that "vive más sarna que Sarra." Good times.