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.