It took putting myself back in the grip of the man whose hands wrapped around my neck.
It took crying. It took being so incredibly uncomfortable.
It took recognizing the energy of the past creeping in and taking hold.
It took facing an unwanted past and unraveling it a few more times.
It took weeding through old journals, clipping bits of dialogue and story themes.
It took having the Thesaurus open on my browser at all times.
It took walking in the labyrinth to ground myself.
It took lying in bed, coughing, with the laptop on my lap, editing the last few pages, rewriting the last chapter.
It took sleeping a lot. Being sick.
It took being afraid and stepping into the fear, despite the fear.
It took being bored.
It took being no longer ok with another day going by holding an unfinished manuscript.
It took ignoring my friends so I could work.
It took being with friends so I could have a break, refresh.
It took setting an auto responder on my email in the last weeks that let messengers know they shouldn’t expect to hear from me until the book is done.
It took letting my hair grow long and waiting to cut it as a treat for the completion.
It took starting on fulfilling and productive bursts of work. Then stopping for weeks or months at a time to work on other projects or travel.
It took being frustrated.
Waking up early.
Writing in the afternoon.
Writing in the in-between of life.
It took submitting chapter after chapter to our writer’s group, even when I didn’t want to, even when I thought the chapters sucked.
It took listening to the writer’s group and being open to what they had to say.
It took following their advice and trusting them.
It took Mary Jo and her cunning perception to know the secrets, the missing piece to the whole experience.
It took the breakup of our writer’s group, the sadness of betrayal.
It took not caring. It took being disappointed and giving up. It took forgiving.
It took an incredible commitment to the process, no matter what uncomfortable emotion came up, no matter the exterior circumstances.
It took a fierce protection of the book and the completion of it, so nothing else would deter it.
It took coming back to the manuscript time and time again, even when the content (in my mind) had gone stale.
It took immense love for the process, the structure of sentences, the desire for the story to be told, just as it wanted to be told.
It took sticky notes, lots of sticky notes, and a huge board to map out the sticky notes story.
It took Serena’s healing acupuncture, delicious Indian cooking, and vegging out on Netflix when the brain and body were full.
It took buying a new ergonomic office chair.
It took physical therapy to keep my body going when it the energy felt stuck and the pain wouldn’t stop.
It took knowing that the book was simply a book, a project in an otherwise full life.
It took being willing to have the book be for me, and only me, as I went through the process to make it for you to read.
It took homemade dinners at Sara and Richard’s where we laughed and laughed, and sometimes caught the Down’s flu.
It took escapes to Galangal for Tom Kha.
It took remembering to get back to the sea with the snorkel and mask to find tropical fish and sea turtles.
It took stopping for months at a time to support my son on his journey
It took moving through depression and anxiety and therapy appointments.
It took studying Ayurveda and getting in tuned to what elements support my dosha.
It took developing a bedtime routine and a morning routine that loved and nourished me, the book’s manual laborer.
It took walks in rain showers with Connor the dog.
It took doing the dishes over and over, vacuuming the floors, folding laundry and cleaning out the junk drawer, all for the clearing to write.
It took stepping into the unknown.
That took years of terror and fear and uncertainty and avoidance and boredom and distraction and fighting and sometimes thinking I would die before it happened.
And sometimes I didn't want to tell you all once again that I still wasn't finished; it took being humiliated over and over again.
And it took revisiting a past, I definitely did NOT want to revisit.
Even now, as I type this, I don't want to think about writing that last chapter. It was horrible uncomfortable and scary and I didn't want to write it.
But I didn't want to go into the New Year, yet another year, without being done...and so I did it!
It took being willing to say, “I’m done.” No more.
I feel like I will live now, like I've saved face with you and with myself.
It’s done, not perfect.
It’s done, not perfect.
And it's done. Fuck, the big push is done.
Now, the manuscript is with my trusted editor, Annie Rose: the baby needs the blood wiped off, the umbilical cord, and swaddling…but I’m done. When Annie Rose returns to me the redlined copy, I will polish one more time, then publish!
That baby has been birthed! And, I'm very proud of the way it turned out, the beauty of the flow, the gem of sentences contained within. I'm so very proud, and I'm only the surrogate.
Elegant Out is no longer mine. It's for you, it's for Corinne, it's for the world, or anyone who wants a piece of it.
For, I have already moved on to next ideas, topics and curiosities. That is what we writer’s love to do. That is what it takes.