“What have I done? Why did I do this?”
Those two thoughts were all I could think as tears fell down my face after I took off my glasses and covered my cheeks with my hands this morning. I had just finished the first read through of my editor’s suggestions to my manuscript. The manuscript is of a memoir I’ve written about my childhood which, God willing, will be released next fall.
It wasn’t that there was anything wrong. In fact, there was something awfully right going on. About 1,000 words away from the finish line I read a line that rattled me — and I realized I’d done my job. It isn’t a perfect job, but it is a wholehearted one.
You can see at the top of the page of the scribbled outline in this photo the word interstitials. Spaces in between. Throughout the manuscript I’ve included some entries that stand apart from the narrative. We (I and the mighty team that kept me going on this work) started calling them interstitials, as they serve as either bridges from one passage to the next, or as indicators of breaks in thought that could only be shared on the page as bottled lightning bolts or hammered railroad spikes.
And now, another interstitial. The space between the finishing and the letting go.
I’ve never been one to return to my work. I make a thing and then let y’all have it while I move on to the next part of the story I need to tell. There is nothing different happening here, except that the editing process of a book takes much longer than any part of the process of any record I’ve ever heard of and requires more returning. Records are not books and songs are not chapters and sentences are not verses or choruses. Yes, the two art forms share some qualities but I’ll not discuss those today within this allotted hour. What I want to say is that returning, for me, is another revelation. Returning, for me, produces yet another space, where I must hover over something I’ve already done but see it in a new way. There was the completion, then the waiting, then returning to do the “do you like it?”-ing, then more waiting, now the returning for the “do I still like it? Is this any good at all?”-ing, and there will be even more returning, even more waiting. More interstitials. There will be more rattling like there was this morning. But with every phase, I grow somehow. I learn. I appreciate. I am so thankful for the way I’ve gotten to live — and for being allowed to gather such amazing stories in the spaces between every line.
Happy Monday, Y’all.