It's likely that most readers are familiar with that phenomenon of being so into a book that they go through a handful of chapters without any memory of turning a single page. John Gardner went so far as to claim this should be the writer's goal—to create for the reader a "vivid continuous dream." What’s surprising to me is how this can happen during the act of writing, too.

I remember writing the second half of ALL THINGS AWAIT at Burger Rancho in Santa Teresa, where I'd work three to four hours straight, produce quite a few typed pages, and yet have no memory of having touched the laptop keys at all. I suppose I was lost in the act of envisioning the story and in hearing the voice of the narrator who was helping me tell it. This obliviousness was really saying something, too, because Burger Rancho—a charmingly rundown, wall-less café shack on the main dirt road—frequently had a lively crowd, music or a small TV going, and even a semi-tamed raccoon that would shimmy down the palm tree that grew through the roof of the rustic kitchen to grab a snack and set off the slumbering stray dogs that lounged under the tables to escape the heat.

I think this is more-or-less why I often don't consider myself a writer or author per se, and am not likely to do so in the future. The act is really more of a purposeful daydreaming—an imaginative play that just so happens to involve language.

Whether or not there's a correlation between an author's penchant to lose himself in his writing and the likelihood that the reader will do so, as well, I can't say, but there is a pleasing symmetry to the idea that if authors want to create a "vivid continuous dream" for their readers, they must first work to experience that dream themselves.