Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Book Is Done

The book is done.

The book is done. As conceived, you've written what you wanted. No more fiddling.

The book is done. God knows, you thought this time would never come, it's a good feeling.

The book is done. You remember that you've said the same thing four times previously, that you've felt the same way with this one, felt the same confidence that you have a new creation.

The book is done. Of the pleasures of taking up one's pen, much has been written, but what about that other moment that you've just reached: the act of completion?

The book is done. You try to recall the original conception, but it's lost to you by this point. The muse wills what she wants, it was she that mandated the direction.

The book is done. Be it resolved, you'll ignore your inner editor, ignore those other gatekeepers, those interlopers on the journey to publication.

The book is done. For this moment at least, forget imposter syndrome and all those other inhibitions.

The book is done. Any typos and implausible scenarios are beside the point. Let's call them intentional misdirections, music to your fiction.

The book is done. Enough already, 45 poems and folktales should be enough, resist the temptation.

The book is done. You're the son of an editor, so you're always wary when someone presents what they believe is the finished article. "I'm done, here it is", they might say proudly and expectantly, and for good reason.

The book is done. You smile sympathetically but immediately start to consider how to break it to them that, yes, there has been an act of creation, but that creation is not completion.

The book is done. You're a hard editor of others, occasionally savage in your cuts and suggestions.

The book is done. You have a soft spot for yourself, you never have the same severity with your material. Oh no, could you lose this heaven? Is this sensitivity a delusion?

The book is done. As a writer too, you recognize that the moment when you think "I'm done" is not an end, but really just a beginning. Still, for now, you celebrate that feeling.

The book is done. This fixation on the book, the physical object even though there's electronic editions and, these days, more listening than reading.

The book is done. You're beyond the draft, you've printed it out with your concept cover, apt to be discarded. No more deletions.

The book is done. You've been consumed by it. Now you can get back to reading.

The book is done. Now you can catch up on the world. Time to put out some feelers.

The book is done. Steel yourself for the shadow of the naysayers. Also the inevitable mystery: will there be any readers?

The book is done. Hold on to the feeling even as you realize the moment is fleeting.

The book is done. Recognize that it is only an opening act, proofs loom, the fact checker and copy writer will undoubtedly be taking you to task.

The book is done. If you're lucky, you'll soon move beyond words and be discussing types and faces, artwork, and the book's mask.

The book is done. You're soul satisfied, more than a little exultant, that you cannot deny.

The book is done. Truth be told, you hadn't been planning this one. A detour from your arch concepts, funny how it crept up on you, the realization, on the sly.

The book is done. Writing starts with solitude, detachment perhaps, and a splinter of ice.

The book is done. Now you can repair those relationships neglected for the book, and try to make nice.

The book is done. You can't help yourself: you've started thinking about the next one.

The book is done. That's ridiculous. Focus on your wife, daughter and son.

The book is done. As in your hypertext dreams, you built out your world, threw in some Easter eggs, a few traps, and many erasures; and now you're spent.

The book is done. You turn the page over, close the notebook, and put down the pen.

The book is done. You name it final-final, click the Save button, compose the email, and then hit Send.

The book is done. You've reached the end, a moment of clarity, a brief pause for reflection.

The book is done. The moment passes. Enter the specter of The Editor, now come the complications.

Books, however much their lingering, books also must Come to an End. It is abhorrent to their nature as to the life of man. They must be sharply cut off. Let it be done at once and fixed as by a spell and the power of a Word; the word:


— On Coming to an End by Hilaire Belloc

Feeling Good, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note. Music, as ever, is my comfort suite; it certainly feels good. (spotify version)

Presentation Pete - Leaping Pete


After writing the foregoing, I delayed publication as is my custom, and found myself fiddling further. I must confess that I wrote a few more things for "the book" as if to thicken the stew further. Physician, heal thyself, or rather, Dear Reader, send me an editor, I might warrant an intervention.

Postscript to the Postscript

I fear I am afflicted. I finished another book, this one written with furious intent over the past six weeks, I feel positively Dickensian. For fear of flooding the zone while I shop the previous one, I'll serialize the latter. We'll call it Toli Tuesdays - see if you can discern the theme in the coming weeks and months.

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