Elsewhere in the world brilliant friends of mine are on the brink of delivering small humans. This week, yesterday, I was borne of a book whose labour has only taken three and half years. I feel overwhelmed, elated, terrified and not sure what to do with it. I just keep staring at it. For several hours last night it went like this:
(Dazed wandering about the house, book invariably clutched to chest or held at a length with look of clinical curiosity.)
“It’s a book. I wrote a book.”
“I, me, I wrote a book.”
“I wrote this.”
“It’s a book, an ACTUAL book.”
“Oh my god I wrote a book.”
(Ongoing disbelief and dumb wonderment etc. etc.)
I actually got my first look at it last week when a lone advanced copy was sent to the NPG. I was heading in there to have an overdue celebratory drink with the book’s editor and project manager but news of The Actual Physical Book heightened the occasion somewhat. So much so I actually wasted an entire 10 minutes that morning wondering what to wear to meet it.
If only I in was in jest.
|The view from the NPG's Portrait Restaurant|
I managed just a cursory flick through before moving on to giddy cocktails at the gallery’s rooftop restaurant (a fitting view for such a significant Life Moment, no?) but yesterday I got my own advanced copy. Two in fact. Delivered to work.
I’ve been imagining this moment for so long, trying to envision the years and months and hours and all those thousands of words metamorphosing into 240 pages of text and image and now it’s here. And it still doesn’t feel real. Tangible, yes. Real, no.
I feel dazed and dazzled, intimidated and exhilarated. All this from a fundamentally inanimate object, I know.
So now, until the book comes out in October, I’m left with the pretty extraordinary job of processing the enormity of this accomplishment, this physical manifestation of so much love and labour and care, the enormity of this professional and personal experience, and that huge, HUGE question, what next?