“Hey, you kids comin’?” Jude called from the hatch. “Get in here!”
“The world is changing,” Jessica said.
“I’ll say it is. Welcome to a Brave New World,” Jude said as the two survivors stepped through the hatch. “Watch your step and mind your head.”
It’s clichéd to write THE END at the end of a book. The pages run out, that’s how you know. And as the paragraph implies, it’s not really the end. Nobody really types THE END anymore when they finish a book.
But I just had to. To see what it feels like.
Because I just did.
Finish a book.
For the first time I can say that I truly-honestly-veritably-finally completed a full-bona fide-genuine-open-the-pages-and-thump-them book.
“So whatever happened to That Other Book!?” I can hear the peanut gallery yap.
To a writer a book is never finished. And That Other Book was never finished to my satisfaction although it even had a final chapter and a tentative THE END scribbled at the bottom. Those who know me well might just remember a certain incident, a clusterfudge the world now calls 9/11, when all my hopes went sailing down Tinker’s Dam — actually went flushing down the potty, to be vulgar for a change.
Subsequently That Other Book was angrily tossed into That Corner Of Lost Dreams.
But this one is real.
This one is ready.
How do I feel?
Apprehensive. (read ‘scared’ with a Ph.D.)
Am I ready for the publishing world? Is my skin thick enough? Will anyone even want to read the adventures of a group of divers finding something mesmerizing at the bottom of the ocean? Will anyone care why that lawyer died so strangely in the middle of nowhere? Will anyone want to know where all the children disappeared to? Will anyone find the dolphin cute? Or relate to the know-it-all, wry heroes? Laugh at my jokes? Will the pages fly by or drag on? Am I ready for the publishing world? Is my skin thick enough?
Wait… that last one is the main reason.
I know enough of the pub-world to know that my work has only now begun. You think that dabbling six years on a novel, wasting at least three good computers, ignoring people/family/friends/girls, not going to parties so I could finish that- chapter- where- Jessica- tries- to- survive- inside- the- shipwreck- as- she- runs- out- of- air… you think that was the hard part?
Writing is easy. Publishing is hard.
As I look back on these six years I can not help but wonder.
I started the book — I see it clearly before me now – September 18, 2001, exactly one week after you-know-what. Along the way it went through at least five – count them, FIVE – drafts.
In that time I moved at least thrice, got my heart broken twice, switched half a dozen jobs, gained/lost/alienated friends, went back to school, learned to say ‘igneous’, learned a new language using only my hands, lost one dog, got a new one, learned new traits, raised my self-confidence, started to learn a new musical instrument, got rid of acne, got a car and a motorcycle, married off my brother and a dozen other friends…
And I wonder (as I go through a montage of emotions).
Could I have used the time I spent writing on better things? Did I miss stuff along the way? Was it a waste of time?
Was it worth it? Will it be worth it?
I am so sick of writing! It’s just too much! It’s probably not even worth it! What a waste of life! I will never go through this again! I’m giving up the written word and go back to music! That’s it! Over! Ende! Finito!
Pant, pant, pant…
My next step is querying the right agents like there is no tomorrow. I will leave no stone unturned, no door unknocked, no agent unharassed. Vanity Publishing is not an option, so don’t even bring it up. I will do it the right way or no way. Publishing or Bust.
For truly as I stoop here over my keyboard with Hayley Westenra singing Wuthering Heights on the speakers, I will vow — with my glass of wine as a witness and my hand on my tuna sandwich — that ‘Sea Angels’ will see the light of day in the shape of at least a paperback.
So be it.
And then I might just go to That Corner Of Lost Dreams and look for a certain manuscript gathering dust.
And probably start anew.