As I put the finishing touches on my manuscript, a project I’ve worked on for seven years, I find myself experiencing an absurd amount of mixed-up feelings. To have something exist only between my own mind and the computer screen for so long, and then release it out into the world to whatever end, is a much more complex situation than I ever anticipated. I’ve worked so hard the past years and especially months, that I figured I would be ready to let the damn go by now.
The thing is, this whole endeavor was my father’s idea. I was barely thinking of myself as a wannabe writer when my father first got sick, and though I’d half-heartedly declared myself an English major by the time he died, I didn’t have any real plans or experience in this field.
When Dad was dying and I’d taken a leave of absence from my studies at the University of Puget Sound, I worried that I wouldn’t manage to graduate on time. Dad asked me if I could maybe write an essay or article for the University’s newspaper, that I might get credit for and boost my credits. I shook my head and thought he was being silly—naïve—and said that I didn’t think that was an option. He passed away a few months later, and I didn’t write a thing for months.
Back at school that spring, fresh and raw from the loss, one of my favorite professors asked me if I’d be interested in pursuing an independent study. I asked around a figured out that if I spent one semester writing a book, and a second semester editing it (under the guidance of two separate faculty supervisors), I could use those credits to graduate on time. I left Wyatt Hall that afternoon, walking under the mammoth Chihuly glass installation above the double doors, and silently said “Thanks, Dad. Good thinkin.’” And off I went to write a book, something I knew absolutely nothing about.
Eight years later, less than a dozen of those original pages have survived my edits, but the core of the project is the same. Along the way I earned a Master’s degree, became a full-time writer and copyeditor, and grew up a hell of a lot. This was Dad’s story, and my story, and I’m pretty sure I’ve told it in a way he would be proud of.
Yes, I’m eager to pass it off and take a rest, but I also feel like I’m saying goodbye to this entity I created—this whole other world. I can’t say what’s going to happen with it next, but I do know one thing: I’m kinda ready to pick something new and do the whole thing all over again.