Finished. Totally finished.
Everything that I have to do with this book before it is a whole real book? Done. I wrote it, I submitted it, I survived the negotiation that is editing, then copy editing… and now it has spent several days on my desk being proof-read by yours truly one last time. I’ll walk to the post office in a few minutes and mail it, and that will be it. The next time I see it, it will be a real finished book. Any typo I didn’t find, any errors at all… once I mail it, that’s it.
In a few days it will have made it’s way to Kansas City, where my editor will look at the things I found, change the master manuscript and then send it to production with her fingers crossed that between the two of us, we’ve made the best possible book. I hope we have.
I love this book. It’s another book of short stories and essays, sort of a sequel to my second book (Yarn Harlot, the secret life of knitter). The pieces in it are longer and more developed than in the other kind of book I write. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of all of my work. All of it, but the other books are like cookies. Fun, good, awesome food, but they don’t make up a well balanced diet by themselves. The books of essays are different. I can take as much time as I want to explain an idea, I don’t have to dwell only in the realm of knitting for every moment, I can go further afield into human interest and experience – and I can allow a story or point to unfurl as quickly or slowly as it wants. It means that over the course of a whole book there will be funny things, happy things, silly things, sad things, thoughtful things….
The books of essays feel more like meals to me, and they are intensely satisfying to write. I feel like I get my way. I feel like they are not just a part of me, like my other books, but really reflective of who I am.
Writing something that you feel really reflects who you are has a downside, of course. .. and those of us who dabble in low self esteem from time to time know what it is. If you hang something out there that is really a part of you, something intimate, then if someone doesn’t like it, that feels like a very intimate hurt. (This is one of the problems with writing a personal blog too, if it’s personal, and there is criticism, then that criticism feels personal, because…. well. Frankly it is. Writing a blog has thickened my skin over the years and made me able to stand apart from criticism (or what passes for it, like “I’m never buying your book again because of how you vote” or “You’re a complete obsessive-compulsive who cares nothing for others”) far better than I would have been able to otherwise. There’s nothing like a drive-by comment about your parenting, politics or choices and how it relates to your worth as a human being to make you realize that you’ve got to pull back a bit if you’re going to retain any sense of true self.)
This is all a long way toward saying that putting this in an envelope and mailing it is the weirdest feeling.
I’m relieved to be done. I’m proud of what I’ve written. I’m scared to death of it being read. I’m horrified and honoured to have been given the chance. I’m worried about everything. I’m delighted it’s happening.
I’m going to the post office. I’m mailing my book. A whole, finished, big book that I wrote. Wow.
(PS. Happy 4th to my American neighbours. Have a fabulous weekend.)