We wrote a book.
But is it really, really a book until it is published, printed, bound up with a cover and a spine and some smart author photos and snappy blurbs, and offered up for sale on someone's, anyone's website or on a real, live bookshelf somewhere, anywhere?
That's the problem. It's not yet really a book to me. We need to make it real.
It's.....well, it's just a thing right now.
It's a zillion different documents stored between two or three different computers. It's 73,423 words, big and little. It's 302 printed pages, and a goofy art collage I made to stand in for a real cover.
It's a scrap of torn paper with
the very first ideas and notes we brainstormed during a six-hour road
trip, top-down, headed south on a beautiful spring day.
It's an important thing for certain; it's one of the most fulfilling things I've done so far in my life. Just as other writers call their project "my baby," this thing most definitely feels like a child. I want to protect and nurture it until it is ready to go out into the world. I only want what's best for it. It's a Love Child. It doesn't just feel like something we conceived and birthed and bathed in love. It is.
Writers talk about sweat equity and blood, sweat and tears while putting their words down in hopes of creating a book. There was no sweat here; only love. This project was a work of love from the first inkling of an idea to the final edit. There was no bloodshed nor tears.
There are two of us, my co-author and I, to agree with every concept, every character, every chapter; to agree to a beginning, middle and end. I had expected writing a book could leave one of us with a murder conviction and/or one less friend. For two Type A writers who might have been expected to walk 20 paces in opposite directions and duel over every page, writing the book was a surprising gift. It was a gift of love to each other in the truest sense. An individual dream, shared, respected, handled carefully, and brought to fruition with the help of a best friend -- what could be a greater gift?
Ideas were jotted down as fast as we could play them off each other, more than five years ago now. Writing was done in inspired fits and spurts, wedged between work, unemployment and job searches, sports, children, Midwest to East Coast travels and back, and electronic swapping of notes, ideas and full chapters. For three months' time in 2009 and another three months in 2011, we banged and pinged and zinged along on our keyboards, 600 miles apart and completely connected. So smoothly did we trade back and forth that three years later it is hard to remember who wrote which chapter. We truly became one voice for the project. And it was exhilarating!
From the beginning of 2012 until the end of June 2014 we let it set, gel, percolate and any other word to choose so as not to say: life got in the way and we neglected the work. Neglected may be harsh; we simply chose to let it rest by not choosing to do anything with it. Now, more than five full years since our first discussion and what if?, the project is new and exciting to us again.
The same inspired blended voice was just waiting for us; edits were easy, obvious, made sense and were agreeable. A re-organization of chapters and a new starting point were unanimous. So we're ready to see our gift to each other become a real book. Our baby is a toddler now: standing up, eager to run, ready to see the world. It's time to let go.