please excuse the interruption in regular programming here at the chair, i’m barreling toward the latest installment in the Deadline Plan, this one poured in concrete, i’m told. i rounded the bend on the penultimate deadline last sunday, and awaited the first batch of edits, which landed tuesday midday. now awaiting batches two, three, and possibly four. all destined to drop––impeccably and with my whole heart attached––on the editor’s desk by end of business on monday.
if you ever wondered how a book becomes a book, here’s how in one word: persistency.
never looking up from the page. forgetting to eat lunch. thinking of verbs in your sleep. surrendering nearly every last domestic chore to the very kind fellow who stalks these same halls, the one who is making sure i sleep, eat, and drink gallons of water.
i think it will all be worth it. i’m pretty sure there will come a day when i look back on this chapter and––just like labor pains––forget how much it hurt, how much my head pounded, and my heart right along.
as i look at my bookshelves these days, i see not just pages and pages of paper and ink but the accumulated anguish of hundreds of authors over hundreds of years. books do not write themselves. books demand total attention. and day after day of it. for as long as it takes.
and what’s it all for? for the scant hope of communion, for the slim chance that one someone somewhere will be reading along and suddenly hearing a loud pop, down in their heart, or up in their brain. because some faraway someone has just put to words some ineffable thing that they’ve never named. though they’ve long sensed it.
there is much typing still to be done here. and after that, the copy-editing brigade comes over the hills. and then proofing each page, making sure no squiggles or bloops slide into a sentence. making sure each their is a their and not there. same with the its‘s.
once this latest round of incessant typing slows to a ceasefire, i’ll be back to breathing again. it’ll come in waves from then on. this here is the final hard push. just like the time my miracle baby was about to arrive, and the monitor beside me dropped to a gulch. and my doctor looked me in the eyes, and said, “barb, you’re getting this baby out in one push.”
and i did.
and i’ll do it again with this book.
in the meantime, here’s a little amuse bouche for your troubles.
One of the best things a man can bring into the world with him is a natural humility of spirit. About the next best thing he can bring, and they usually go together, is an appreciative spirit — a loving and susceptible heart.John Burroughs, naturalist, conservationist, wonder seer
and why not another?
If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.Simone Weil, French philosopher, mystic, political activist
what pithy bits of wisdom or heart stirred you this week?
oh, lordy, even amid my mad typing, i just came across this! and of course had to leave it here at the table. it’s from robert bly, and it’s titled “Wanting Sumptuous Heavens”
No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
and i sigh, and return to my typing…..
Good luck! Can’t wait to see the finished product.
You know what I’m going to say…
YOU GOT THIS!!
Keep breathing, Sweetie. ❤️
xoxoxoxox !!!!! three of my favorite words in the world. now, if only a hot bath was in my near future…..xoxo
I am so proud of you, Barbara. I can’t wait for the finished product to add to my bookcase. Love you dearly.
oh, dear gracious, you are so so sweet! you make the blood, sweat, and tears all worth it! xoxoxoxoxox happy april fool’s day!
Just think of how the world desperately needs this book, your words…
oh, gracious, don’t know about that. but if it holds even one epiphany for one someone, that’s prayer answered. xoxo
Your writing resonates with me always. I’ve been thinking of connection and oneness and this quote from Thomas Merton stirred my heart this week after visiting our Grace in Colorado for spring break: “Grace is not a strange, magic substance which is subtly filtered into our souls to act as a kind of spiritual penicillin. Grace is unity, oneness within ourselves, oneness with God.”
beautiful! i love that you have a Grace. and i love that you got to see her this week. how heavenly wonderful. you are glorious parents. xoxoxox