My husband hands me a large manila envelope. I look at the return address to see who would send me such a letter. It was my friend Dawn. She has been reading over my book Sunlight, being the first line of defense on the project. At first I feel excitement. I think that I’m ecstatic on finally having the whole book read and suggestions on cleaning it up. Only it feels rather light. Not 140 pages that is for sure. Not even 70 pages if she printed it double-sided. Disappointment gently lays a blanket over me gentle like so as not to bring me back to reality.
I open the envelope and see my manuscript with a note on top. She wants me to rework the entire document based on her suggestions in the first 52 pages. Argh. A brick of despair hits my chest and sticks there causing my shoulders to sulk forward.
I flip through the work she has returned and her pen has bled all over the pages. Changes are needed everywhere. I’m absolutely baffled. I’ve made changes to the first 65 pages 3 times. Each time I had it read over by a different person, a friend acting as editor. The last time was by someone with surmountable experience, the writer in residence at my library. As I went through each editor less and less changes needed to be made. Now it is returned to me with changes needed everywhere again. Defeat.
On top of this I had shown the ending of the book to a writing teacher of a class I’m taking and he says it is incomplete. It is a living memoir so perhaps I haven’t even lived the ending yet. What a daunting feeling to think that this book may not be published for sometime if I still have to live out my ending. I thought what I have gone through so far would part one. Perhaps I would write a sequel later.
I now wonder if this book will be published this summer. I need to work up the courage and energy to clean up the story. It is so hard to relive what has happened in the not-too-distant past by reading the story over and over.
Yet, if I leave it this sense of despair, an aching heaviness on my chest, will tug at me and weigh me down until it is done. I must complete this project. Work on improving the ending and make the changes my friend suggests. I must complete it this summer. One step at a time. One page at a time. It will be complete. I can do this. The brick falls from my chest as a new, stronger power takes hold of me. I shake myself back to reality, to the present moment, and throw the blanket off of me. I can do this. No problem.