When I was a child, my father was in the Coast Guard. His career required change of duty stations and gave our family the opportunity to cross the nation a number of times. This was in the late Fifties/early Sixties. Imagine two adults traveling with three children, one a toddler, driving day after day. My father behind the wheel (I rarely saw my mother drive) and my mother in the passenger seat, her dark hair in the style of Lucille Ball, with dark sunglasses on her face. We children were confined to the backseat of a 1957 Ford on the first trip. Later trips, we enjoyed the room of an enormous stationwagon. I learned my mother’s phrase: “Go now, while you have the chance.” Oh, and there was, “Don’t touch that toilet seat!” and “Don’t drink the water here.” And the age-old, “We’ll see,” when we children begged to do something.
As children, our main question was, of course, “Are we there yet?” “There” being a bathroom, a restaurant, to stop for bologna sandwiches, or the motel with a swimming pool. Further into the trip, “there,” meant the final destination, and we asked it even when in the middle of nowhere, because we were tired and cranky and bored and wanted to be free from the confines of the car, the requirements of discipline within and without, the entire struggle and effort of the trip.
I’ve been asking myself “Are we there yet?” for months now with my book. I grow tired of the effort and self-discipline at pressing on.
And no, I’m still not there. But I can see the ending from here. In fact, last week I wrote the main ending. Now I am working on tying up the threads of everyone’s lives. I write happy-ending books, and I want to see everyone have their happy ending. Some people see this as fantasy, a view with which I strongly disagree, however a topic for another post.
Last night when working on a crocheted afghan and connecting new yarn, I realized that finishing a book is much the same as when I finish a crocheted project. I must weave in the loose ends of yarn to tidy up the piece. This work is by nature a bit tedious; it takes time, a good eye, patience and skill, and is the making of the piece. So, too, with writing a book.
My plan is to write ‘the end’ on the manuscript this week. I’m almost there.