About 20 months ago, what seems like a geologic epoch at least, Bryon arrived home with an announcement. I don’t recall the precise manner in which he revealed his news, but it was something about as casual as, “I’ve been asked to write a book.” With that, in the space between the nonchalance of a sentence, a grand daddy of a dream was born.
I don’t know what you know about writing books, maybe more than the nothing I knew before the man with whom I dwell began writing his? Now I know: writing a book is the hardest of work.
It is a smith-ing of words into phrases and sentences and, eventually, hopefully, if the atmospheric pressure is right and you’ve got karma in the bank, chapters. It is the constant pressure, perhaps duress, of production that lasts from the feathery light of pre-dawn to the black shadows and stars of one, two, and three in the morning. It is a labor of love carried by the soul during even brief respites from writing because, well, the dream of a book with a glossy cover on the shelf of some tiny bookstore on Main Street doesn’t go away when you shut your eyes. It is a job that rasps away at the rest of life and gobbles it up like a hungry Muppet until there is nothing left but bad posture in a computer chair, stale breadcrumbs on a desktop, and a ghost of a human staring at blue computer glow.
But then! But then! Salvation. Almost.
There was a February day when Bryon walked out of his office and said it was done, all done. That he had clicked the “send” button and mailed a manuscript to his publisher by way of cyberemailheaven. We jumped and danced, but for just one moment because he was so tired. Then we did what I think you’re supposed to do after you write a book, we hopped in the car and went to Death Valley National Park.
In case you’re still wondering, planning, scheming your own authorial adventure, you should know that when you’re done writing a book, you’re
done still writing a book. There is The Process. Editing, editing, editing until a mishmash of broken sentences comes whizzing out your arse. In The Process there is more stuff, but I can’t tell you much about it because Bryon did it all in the witching hours of night while I snored away in another room.
Sweep forward the annals of time to last weekend, when Bryon launched his book into the midair of reality via a party at a tiny bookstore on Main Street. The day was lovely, fitting of the finishing of this grand daddy dream. People drank tea and asked for special messages to be written in their books. A young man worked the strings of a viola into some bluegrass tunes. A child danced, a baby grinned with apple-shaped cheeks, friends hugged. A man named Bryon smiled the widest of smiles.
I tell you: watching someone write a book makes me love the books on my shelves even more, knowing now the toils their authors endured.
I tell you one more thing: to see a dream be born, to seed-let itself into the heart of a human being, to growgrowgrowprovideterrortoyourlovedoneandgrow, and to be realized, completely realized by someone you love, I know nothing better in the world.