Cresting the Mountain
I don't know about you, but when something amazing happens in my life, I tend to separate myself from the experience and regard it from afar, as through a telescope. I peer at the event from various angles and stare at it like a curiosity in a novelty shop, not like something wonderful that I am supposed to enjoy.
I feel no emotion; in fact, I feel a bit numb. In the past I was more childlike in my delight about happy events, but maybe I am becoming more cynical. Maybe, deep down, I am preparing for the possibility that the event isn't real or that it might be taken away the moment I allow myself to feel joy. Sad, I know, but that's where I'm at.
For that reason, I guess, I didn't sit down to share my tremendous news of this week with you until today, four days afterwards. I needed these days to pinch myself enough to make sure it's real and to settle into the fact that it is...well, a fact. Because it is!
I FINISHED WRITING THE BOOK!!
The last two weeks were not the hardest ones of the whole process. That honor goes to the week in which I had to research and write the chapter about Tolkien's service in World War I. I knew it would be that way ahead of time, and I was spot on. These last two weeks, though, were the most exhausting. I was already late with the manuscript, and I felt a powerful need to finish it. There were just so many tiny potholes yet to fill in the story, as well as an afterword to write, a looooong bibliography to prepare, and a thorough proofreading and formatting to complete. By the time I couldn't think of anything else to do with it, I was almost too scared to actually send it. What if it's not as ready as I think it is? What if they don't like it? Or what if they like it, but it's not what they are looking for? What if...?
But then I stopped for a second and stepped back. I examined the shimmering curiosity in front of me--that singular moment where I attached the finished manuscript to my email and clicked "SEND". For a little while I just stare at it as if I'm in a trance, and then I wake up and mentally smack myself upside the head, because I'm really being ridiculous. What does it matter right now if all my worst fears are realized eventually? In this moment, now, I have earned the right--nay, the obligation!--to joyously shout with giddy abandon, "I DID IT!!" Whoo-hoo!!!
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Author of Before Austen Comes Aesop: The Children's Great Books and How to Experience Them and Maria von Trapp and Her Musical Family