I feel very proud of myself.
I know, I know. I shouldn't indulge in hubris right now. This is like a jockey feeling inordinately proud that he and his horse made it out of the gate. True, if the horse never made it out before... But still. The real work, the real achievement, is still all the way around the track. I've done nothing until the book is published, I know that. And that is still far, far away into the future.
A first book is a learning curve, I've heard (read). It's true -- I never learned so much as I did with this one, and I'm sure I'm still in diapers when it comes to being An Author. Here's the thing, though: I'm ENJOYING this, like I haven't enjoyed something in... well, a very long time. I can feel myself growing, my skill expanding. "The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none," Thomas Carlyle said, and I believe I've passed that first of hurdles: I now know, a bit at least, what faults I have as a writer.
I tell too much. I'm too wordy, my prose too... prosey. I require an infinite number of drafts and read-throughs to cut through the superficial and make it down to where things synthesize, where they become the bare, most poignant bones of what they are, where they lose the trappings of artifice, of social acceptance.
And in that, too, I have found the quest I must fulfill as a writer. That is the kind of writer I want to be: the writer that tells of complex feelings and complex interactions and boils them down to the hardened salts that constitute their true essence.
Yes, much to do, much to learn. And now I know where the finish line is at, at least.