Limbers up by typing “Quetzalcoatl” over and over again.
Turns the last page of Bird by Bird, then throws the book against the wall. Mickey, his editor, hands him How Fiction Works and restarts the stopwatch.
Sets type on a letterpress to get a feel for the sculptural qualities of his paragraphs and for strength training.
Wrestles with his muse, a 140-pound bullmastiff named Butkus.
Punches a boxing bag with Emily Dickinson’s face on it.
Pounds a quart of whiskey, finishing it off with a pack of cigarettes.
Slaps a wrist wrest down, goes a few rounds on his lit blog.
Jogs through the Italian market, stopping to drop a pile of rejection letters into a burning trashcan.
Takes notes, dutifully nodding and biting his eraser, while his professor, Joyce Carol Oates, plots out Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog.”
Runs up art museum steps, hurls copyedited manuscript into the air, frame freezes.