The Sweetest Words A Writer Can Write

"The End."

Yes. A bit more than five years after signing the contract for this book, and five years (more or less) after finally starting it (the beer book came out the same week we negotiated a contract for the meat book) and minus the two years during which I did what felt like nothing because of an arm injury ----

I'm finished.

Well, okay, more or less. Here's an insider tip: Manuscripts are NEVER "finished" until about four hours before they go to the printer. Seriously. You'd be amazed at what happens during those last few hours.

Plus, nothing's finished until the editor says so, and I just sent it to her. (As in: about ten minutes ago.)

But you get the drift: About a year from now, the manuscript I just sent will appear in public as a book. 

Am I happy? I dunno. I'm too exhausted to know if I'm happy. This has been a serious slog. And if I EVER decide to write another book this complicated, you have my permission to lock me up. Permanently.

But perhaps my life will return to normal: Lots of blog rants. More time with my family and friends. More time to cook, read, walk, hang out, etc. Plus, hey! Tomorrow I'm leaving for Florida and my first real vacation since 2008. (Am I excited about doing NOTHING but drifting in a pool for the next four days? Yes. Yes. Yes.)

But lest anyone misunderstand: I wouldn't trade the privilege and pleasure of what I do for anything. Not ANYTHING. And it is a privilege to spend my time sitting in a room thinking, reading, and writing. I never forget that. I never take it for granted.

Lou Gehrig had it all wrong: I am the luckiest person in the world.