GIVEN THE NEWS that Lucy Ives has a novel forthcoming in 2017, and given that her work tends to be aware of its own processes, and even aware of its own awareness of its own processes, one wonders whether The Hermit somehow reflects on the composition of the novel that Ives was (I suppose) writing at about the same time that she was writing The Hermit.
Truth to tell, this is not even my idea. It occurs in section 9 of The Hermit: "Rebecca says, "This is a poem about trying to write a novel.'"
Rebecca is on to something, I think. The Hermit has quite a few reflections own novels and novel-writing, e.g., "Thus the novel could be the elaboration of nearly real situations as an aid, a kind of paradoxical recovery from the actual," and "When I was 13 I swore to myself that I would become a novelist."
Is that first one true, do you think? While it's a bit reductive to think of novel-writing as a large-scale game of fort-da, but I would say it does account for a lot of novels, including some great ones, such as Herzog or nearly every Roth novel.
Not that The Hermit is that much like Woolf's A Writer's Diary. It's quite a bit more mercurial, more glancing, more what-just-happened than that. But I do plan to read it again after I read the novel.