I couldn't understand why I am so tired. Jet-lag? No, should be over that. The horrid cold I picked up in New York? Ditto. So what, why, where does the tiredness stem from? Oh yes, the writing.
Deadlines work. But finishing brings loss -- loss of routine, the loss of that creative bubble where loneliness vanishes so all consumed are you by the company of fictional friends --and enemies, where the world you have created has become more real than reality.
When you hit the send key and the work wings off through the ether, there is a sense of loss so profound, I have complete sympathy with Virginia Wolf and her choice of the river. I have to be vigilant; tell myself to drive slowly, stop at red lights, avoid the rip, avoid quarrelling, avoid despair.
I am recovering from writing the bulk of a book in ten weeks. I'm recovering from finishing the last pages on the morning of the day I set off on a 27 hour journey, via Seoul, to the United States (not including a very long journey from JFK airport including a shuttle bus stopping at six destinations befoe mine to the hotel in Manhattan, only to find the place I booked on the Internet had a shared bathroom on a different floor down a steep, and badly lit, and cold staircase) I had to find another hotel so it was 7 hours after landing before I lay down and couldn't sleep.
Then came the thrill of meeting readers and the team at the publishers and seeing the books in shops. Then the joy of New York, of San Diego, of Redondo Beach, of Pasadena. Then San Francisco, and MELTDOWN.
Knowing I must wait out the despair, I tell myself to find joy in the achievement--you finished, on time, you delivered a book you thought impossible to complete. You tell yourself that despair will pass. Doesn't work.
But this time the consolation of strangers who encourage and praise and engage with me about previous novels that I dimly remember is wonderful and makes me want to continue. And I have the joy of holding the new work in my hands.
I was kidding myself when I though the let-down, the stepping off of the cloud that sustained me through the story would not happen. It did. It has. It has happened in San Francisco and has been made more bearable by the city, the diners, the life of the streets and the wonderful apartment I've been lent by generous strangers.
Three days sleeping eating walking.
Now the sun is shining.
Now an idea for a new book is emerging.
Now it is time to begin again.
Aa' the best.