I just pressed “Save” and declared it done.
It seems like a lightening bolt should fork across the sky. Or the aurora borealis should glow tonight especially for me. But nothing like that happened. If I’d ever pictured this moment, I might have thought it would call for Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” or champagne. But instead I’m just quietly pleased. And tomorrow I’ll get up and go to work.
Perhaps a more accurate statement is that the book may not be done, but I’m done with it. I have written it to the best of my ability, and now I need to be done with this project begun in 1997. Wow. Until I did the math I didn’t realize that this memoir (working title: Colette’s Legacy) has been part of my life for 16 years. First it was notes about a memory I couldn’t shake, next a sketchy first draft I set aside for years, and since 2009 (drafts 2, 3 and 4), I’ve made a lot of room for it in my life. I’ve worked on it nearly every weekend and on many of my days off. I’ve taken classes, worked with writing coaches, and shared it with my ever-so-patient and supportive writing group.
I’m proud of myself for finishing it, but I’m also relieved. In the coming weeks, it may feel odd not to have it occupying my thoughts and my time. But right now, I feel so much lighter.
After this last revision, the book is definitely better. But is it good enough? I don’t know. I can’t tell anymore. Some days, I don’t even like it. Other days, I think, hmmm. This is pretty good—better than I remembered. I do know that it’s as good as I can make it. Colette’s Legacy is a workplace coming-of-age story set in 1979. My memoir recalls a time when combining a relationship with a career wasn’t a given, and it honors the way Baby Boom women changed the world of work and family. What I don’t know is if anyone (besides 20 or so friends and family members) will be interested in reading it.
But whether or not to pursue publication is a decision for another day.
Today, my book is done and I’m really happy about that.