No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can't put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.
And suddenly, in the place of the woman-shape made of shadow, there was something else. Something huge, something ugly. Linay flung up both hands. The thing screamed like a hawk and opened to wings: one white as a death cap, one clotted in shadow. The wings came together and the whole pond shuddered. Something hit Kate's ear and shoulder and smashed to the deck by her feet. It was a swallow, dead. She could hear them falling all over the pond.
Kate faced the crowd. They were just eyes and teeth to her, just spit and voices. It was a moment, even, before they became people: a man with one blind eye, another whose neck was thick with lumps and weeping wounds of scrofula. The poorest of the market. At Kate's feet, Drina. Her scarf and shirt were torn open.
She was dry. She was lying on something soft. She was wrapped in quilts. There was a star of light drifting above her, and a smell like a herb garden. Taggle was a long warmth stretched out at one side, his chin in her hand, his tail curled over her neck. She thought they might be in heaven. Taggle farted. Plain Kate coughed and sneezed. And then she really was awake.