He got up and sat on the edge of the bedstead with his back to the window. “It’s better not to sleep at all,” he decided. There was a cold damp draught from the window, however; without getting up he drew the blanket over him and wrapped himself in it. He was not thinking of anything and did not want to think. But one image rose after another, incoherent scraps of thought without beginning or end passed through his mind. He sank into drowsiness. Perhaps the cold, or the dampness, or the dark, or the wind that howled under the window and tossed the trees roused a sort of persistent craving for the fantastic. He kept dwelling on images of flowers, he fancied a charming flower garden, a bright, warm, almost hot day, a holiday—Trinity day. A fine, sumptuous country cottage in the English taste overgrown with fragrant flowers, with flower beds going round the house; the porch, wreathed in climbers, was surrounded with beds of roses. A light, cool staircase, carpeted with rich rugs, was decorated with rare plants in china pots. He noticed particularly in the windows nosegays of tender, white, heavily fragrant narcissus bending over their bright, green, thick long stalks. He was reluctant to move away from them, but he went up the stairs and came into a large, high drawing-room and again everywhere—at the windows, the doors on to the balcony, and on the balcony itself—were flowers. The floors were strewn with freshly-cut fragrant hay, the windows were open, a fresh, cool, light air came into the room. The birds were chirruping under the window, and in the middle of the room, on a table covered with a white satin shroud, stood a coffin. The coffin was covered with white silk and edged with a thick white frill; wreaths of flowers surrounded it on all sides. Among the flowers lay a girl in a white muslin dress, with her arms crossed and pressed on her bosom, as though carved out of marble. But her loose fair hair was wet; there was a wreath of roses on her head. The stern and already rigid profile of her face looked as though chiselled of marble too, and the smile on her pale lips was full of an immense unchildish misery and sorrowful appeal. Svidrigaïlov knew that girl; there was no holy image, no burning candle beside the coffin; no sound of prayers: the girl had drowned herself. She was only fourteen, but her heart was broken. And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair, unheeded and brutally disregarded, on a dark night in the cold and wet while the wind howled

The Blog

  • How to Build a Plan for your Writing Life image of tag icon

    If you’re new to Bookfox, this post is a good place to start. It talks about the big picture decisions every writer needs to make, rather than the tactical decisions I talk about in most other posts. Basically, you need a giant, overarching plan for your writing life. When you start a business, you need […]

    January 31, 2021

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  • 100 Bucket List Ideas for Writers image of tag icon

    Look, this is basically a list of 100 Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Die. How many have you already done? Some of them are pretty ambitious — reading 100 books in a single year is difficult, no doubt. While others like “write fan fiction” or “go to a reading” have a much lower […]

    November 16, 2020

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  • Authors, Score Your Year With 12 Questions image of tag icon

    As the year draws to a close, it’s time for writers to do some self-examination. You probably already have a sense whether this was a banner year for you or a real stinker, but you need to think about WHY. What made this a horrible year for writing or your most successful year ever? And […]

    December 12, 2018

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  • Write Like a Billionaire image of tag icon

    If you were a billionaire, would you still be writing? If you answered yes, then clearly writing is your calling. But what would you do differently as a billionaire writer? Related posts: How To Create Successful Writing Goals A Manifesto for Slow Writing

    August 14, 2018

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  • How to Be a Happy Writer image of tag icon

    It’s true that people write the advice they need to hear, and I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been the perfect model for a happy writer. I had some bad years. Mrs. Bookfox definitely saw the worst of it. Part of it was chemical issues, but also I had such extravagant fantasies about […]

    July 18, 2018

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  • The Power of Quitting: Why Every Writer Should Learn to Quit image of tag icon

    When I was 31 years old, I’d been laboring over a novel for 5 years. It was a quagmire. I was hopelessly stuck in a plot that wouldn’t move, in characters that couldn’t elicit sympathy, and with ambitions that were far beyond my skill as a writer. When I’d started the novel, I had a […]

    July 10, 2018

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  • Does Humility Help or Hurt Writers? image of tag icon

    I became a writer mainly because of pride. Growing up, I always had an excess of confidence. Maybe it was being a big fish in the small pond of the desert town of Hesperia, California, but I was supremely confident that I could do anything. So when figuring out what to do in life, I […]

    July 2, 2018

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  • A Manifesto for Slow Writing image of tag icon

    What is “Slow Writing”? You’ve probably heard the phrase tossed around for other topics: Slow Food Slow Cinema Slow Fashion Slow Travel It’s a movement based on Carl Honore’s 2004 book, In Praise of Slowness, which is about the detrimental effects of building an entire culture around the benefits of speed. Related posts: How To Create Successful […]

    May 29, 2018

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  • How To Create Successful Writing Goals image of tag icon

    Welcome to the New Year! Have you made your writing goals yet? Writing goals are one of those things most writers either shy away from or slouch into. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s look at 3 typical writing goals, and I’ll show you why they’re bad goals and how you can improve […]

    January 5, 2017

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