I took my manuscript to a FedEx Print and Ship to get it bound. It was a little bit of a thing actually, finding a place that I could get to before or after work, carrying around two manuscripts all week. I went to Office Depot on Colfax one night only to find that it was closed and going out of business. I thought: maybe it wasn’t worth the effort, getting these manuscripts bound. I could just give them to the people I was going to give them to unbound and they’ll figure it out. I’ve been reading my own manuscript unbound for years now.
Still, I went to FedEx on the way to work the next morning. I was running late but it wasn’t my fault and I figured I’d just drop the manuscripts off and pick them up after work but the man behind the counter said he could do it right now so I waited. He went to the machines way in the back and I tried not to hover but I watched him: laminate in the front, black plastic in the back, and a black spiral through all 264 pages, 72,527 words.
I don’t know if I can explain how overwhelmed I felt and then how surprised at being overwhelmed–watching that book get bound. I might have cried a little. It’s not like this man binding the pages knew anything about it. When I handed over two stacks of print he didn’t ask me anything and I didn’t tell him. But he also did not doubt me. When I said I needed these manuscripts bound the way he took them and nodded well, of course they do. And even though I paid seven dollars for the service there was something about the way he held them and his urgency that honored the pages. And the next thing you know I’m crying in a FedEx Print and Ship.
I’ve said that I’ve finished this book many times already. Which is to say maybe it’s still not finished now even though I’m saying it is. Even though it’s all bound up. It makes sense that a piece of art–something grounded in reality but also in unreality–would be hard to pin down and explain. I don’t know if it’s finished. I don’t know when it started even: was it when I began writing in January 2018? Or did it start when I stayed with those nuns in upstate New York the summer before. Or did it start years before that when I googled “how to write a book” from the computer in my childhood bedroom? Google had no answers for me then and it still doesn’t now and it’s still a hard pill to swallow in this world where everything is time stamped with graduations and anniversaries and promotions and numbers to explain it all.
All week that week I got my book bound I walked around just a little bit unhinged. The mundane felt unmanageable. How do I explain? There are artists that say that creativity is like god, religion, magic. I won’t disagree but I want to be more specific. How especially in this last year, when I already considered my manuscript “done”, I would some days come away from it stunned, amazed, obliterated. I kept finding connections. I kept having revelations about my characters and sometimes my characters would reveal something about me. I would read and think: I wrote this? When the hell did I write this? How the hell did I get here? Which is probably why google can’t tell you how to write a book because some days I can’t even tell you how I wrote a book. And when I did think about writing a book I never thought that it would bring me to a FedEx Print and Ship in Denver, late for work, car in the metered parking on the curb, waiting for a stranger to put my own manuscript back in my hands, so moved by it all. If I’m lucky, maybe the manuscript is still unfinished, and I will be surprised to find myself again and again in the places where it feels completed.
Congratulations! I hope I get to read it someday. You write so well, you are my favorite writer.
Congratulations 🎊 🥳
Maybe not the end of the book’s journey but a massive milestone 👏👏👏
As just one of your aunts do I get to feel pride? ……….because I feel really proud of you right now.😘😘😘
Thanks Lorraine! ❤