Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twilight in the Zone

You were not here last night
And I could not sleep.
Will you be here tomorrow?

Egyptian poem -- 7th Dynasty

Last night I received the galleys for Past Imperfect and a compliment from my publisher in capital letters about how I did a great job and how much better the book is. That's due to having a great editor who made me see my story from a different perspective and a publisher who asked the right questions. I actually rewrote several scenes, added some layers to the characters and shifted the motivation slightly. I've just begun to go through the galleys, but so far it looks really good. This is the part of the publishing process that always makes me feel like a marathon runner in sight of the finish line.

The feeling that this is real and the book is about to hit the shelves is intoxicating. One friend said he could almost understand, that it must be the way he felt when he finished his Masters of Science thesis. Then, in typical fashion, he said it wasn't really the same. But it is. It is all about accomplishment. He worked hard to write his Masters thesis just as every writer whose words are immortalized in print between covers works hard to write a book or story. Seeing all those hours of frustration and single-minded concentration come together as a homogeneous whole is the same.

For me, the next step is the copy edit, followed by the typeset version and then the book with its cover art, which I still have not seen. What I have seen is the ISBN number. The book is real and it is just the first of its kind. I knew the day would come and now it is here. My book has an ISBN number. That is something only my writer friends can fully appreciate. To the rest of the world it is just red tape. To a writer, it is tangible proof of reality. Win or lose, the book is a reality that has measurable dimensions. It is intoxicating.

Into this rosy afterglow comes another reality: work and reviews, the staples of my daily life. There is also Don who wants my full attention this weekend to help him look at more properties. I feel like whining, "Aren't you done yet?" I want to enjoy my little accomplishment, read my words and make the final changes before I dive back into the latest book to review and finish polishing the review I've been working on for a week. I also want time to polish the next book and write a few stories with looming deadlines. In short, I want to spend my time in the Writing Zone where the world narrows to the arena where I wrestle ideas and words to the page.

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