In my wildest imaginings, I never thought I'd be doing revisions at the eleventh hour, but something strange - or not so strange - has happened. I refuse to let any part of the book not live up to its potential. It feels like I've been climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and I've been struggling upward for months, maybe (or in this case, two years) and I'm really near the top. Just too tired, too worn away, as though time has eroded me back to almost nothing, Do I stop? Do I despair? Do I say, 'Good enough, and sit down as if It is finished?
NO. I'd rather die than give up. I need the ultimate goal. I need the finish line. I need to capture the rainbow. Or whatever is fucking* up there on the top. So I've been working on it, non-stop, late into the night. Deadline looming. I can't even sleep properly. I wake up thinking about it early in the morning, eyes full of sand. (*Oops. I swore. This is a very sweary book, written by (among others) Brits and Aussies and people from New Jersey where the word 'fuck' is considered the equivalent of a comma. You need to be prepared.)
I think I finally understand what it takes to write long pieces of fiction.
It's terrifying in a way, to have poured so much of myself into this project. It's almost ready to meet the eyes of strangers. This morning Jill Tracy tweeted, and Meredith Yayanos retweeted, this quote by writer Charlie Kaufman:
"Do not simplify. Do not worry about failure. Failure is a badge of honor. It means you risked failure."
It came at the right moment, like a little omen telling me it was okay to do this, this very difficult thing. I think the book is solid and gorgeous and atypical. I hope. I believe. All the people who wrote parts of the book carried me when I needed them to. All the people who put money into this project helped push it forward. I don't intend to let them down now.
I risk failure, but I also risk success.