Tuesday, September 18, 2007

All in the Timing

I owe a big thanks to my friend Jessica for mailing me a copy of Mark Childress's essay, Fear of Finishing, at exactly the right time (it appears in new book, Writers Workshop in a Book). I'd been feeling a little stuck, trying to write the final scenes to my new novel. I finished the third draft of the novel today, which feels awfully good (rewarded with a cold beer at lunch and one to come for dessert). These scenes had needed to be written for quite a while now, and there's still more work to do. But today, I felt like I'd finished the real writing of it. (We'll see what I think after I hear back from a few of my trusted readers).

Childress's essay was exactly what I needed, at exactly the right time. Nice when it works out that way.

Here's a little of what he had to say:
"I finished a book! Time to celebrate! So why don't I feel like celebrating? Why do I feel like my whole family has just died?

Because, in fact, they have. The whole crowd of imaginary people with whom I have spent the last four years--well, they are all dead. All killed off by me, by those two little words: The End. I will rewrite--oh boy, will I--but I will never again have the experience of living inside that particular world for four years."

I had that today, as I walked the dog along the Muddy River, once it was all done. I knew I'd put off writing those final scenes for so long, even as I was rewriting the whole rest of the book, because it would mark a break with these characters who have been so important to me. Now I've done it.

Here's a toast to them.

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