Thursday, March 5, 2009

An Author's Life: Whoa-Oh-Oh Feelings (VIII)

Let's see, today is...what? Thursday?

On Sunday night I printed out the manuscript for Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar? Jewish Roots of Christian Worship. On Monday morning, I hauled it to the post office. After I announced this blessed event via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, more than one person wrote back, "You must be feeling so relieved."

Relieved? That's not the adverb that springs to mind when I review my postpartum reaction.

On Sunday night, I sorted the research I'd gathered while writing this book. Some stuff got tossed, some got refiled in another active file, and still other stuff got packed into a storage box. I then vacuumed and dusted my office, re-shelved books, rearranged the office supplies closet, and made a label for the storage box before hauling it down to the basement.

After the post office trip on Monday, I came home and stripped the linens off my bed, started a load of laundry, and made a list of all the crap I'd ignored for the past 7-9 months. Did I take a a nap? I don't remember.

I do remember removing hardware from every kitchen cabinet and drawer. While the hardware soaked in a super duper brass cleaner solution, I polished all the cabinets and drawers with a super duper cleaning creme which, as promised, did make everything gleam. I rinsed and shined all the hardware and reinstalled it. I had to take a cold shower to manage the raw pleasure generated by this frenzy. Never did get clean linens onto the bed.

On Tuesday, I redid my Outlook address book and reconfigured passwords for everything in my cyber-life, watched "Brothers & Sisters" online, and two DVDs (so memorable that I can't remember what they were) and read an Alice Hoffman novel -- before deep cleaning the basement/exercise room/bomb shelter and doing more laundry. At 9:30 PM, I went to the supermarket for canned goods and bottled water to restock the bomb shelter section of my stunningly clean basement. Never did get clean linens onto the bed.

I was scheduled to read at the noon Mass on Wednesday, so I had to leave the hermitage. Midway through the homily, I realized my book manuscript was finished and I was exhausted. I started quietly weeping, came home, and crashed out before going back to church for the Lenten Reconciliation service.

Let's see, today is...Thursday? I'm just now getting around to realizing I have feelings about this phase of my life as an author. The word "relieved" still does not spring to mind. Not yet, anyway, but maybe clean linens will make it onto my bed.


  1. What you were experience was reverse NESTING that usually occurs BEFORE giving birth. The other thing may be the sense of numbness that occurs when you begin to actually think about and realize what you've ACCOMPLISHED!

    Sometimes saying congratulations doesn't seem like enough - but I'm going to say it anyway - Mazel Tov!

    And, IMHO, too clean of a house is a disturbing sign...

  2. I was remembering that the last time you finished a book it was warmer out and your activities extended OUTSIDE to gardening too, so I've been thinking this was better timing- and safer. You got tendinitis in your elbows from planting last time!

    Congrats on what is going to be a ground breaking book. And many thanks for the privilege of being a reader :)

  3. Congratulations on finishing your book! It's been 18 months since my last one. I'm due again. My life needs an organizing focus, and nothing does it quite like those deadlines. You're right, it is weird when you get done with one -- like coming up for air after six months underwater, and wondering why things look "different" and why is the yard 3 feet deep in unraked leaves.

    You have a bomb shelter in your basement?!

    Here I sit in Tornado Alley and all we have is one little closet for the two of us to crawl into and hope we can still close the door.

  4. Thanks everyone. I am beyond cranky at this juncture!

    Bill: not really a bomb shelter, just my nostalgic reference to what I remember from the 1950s. BTW, you're smart to wait 18 months! I wrote two back-to-back. I say "never again," but we'll see!

  5. You remind me of Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone...Menorahs on the altar sounds adventurous. Watch out Just Joan!


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