Friday, September 26, 2014

The Final Lap

Oh, how I wish it was the weekend today. For this .... is where my heart is:

The proof copy of our family-book-project arrived in yesterday's mail. As soon as I make one, final round of checks and give my final nod of approval, it will be out of my hands and off to the presses.

The sad part is, I am only on page 65 (and I have not been reading - I have simply been scanning the pages) and I have found so many little tweaks to be made. A picture and its caption not aligned properly; a drawing completely misconstrued when I made a 'layout change' to an entire page; awkward wording within sentences and paragraphs; and just plain and simple errors. I am finding them everywhere.

I stayed up until the wee hours (9:00 p.m.) last night and made a valiant effort to scan the contents for the obvious. But (as I mentioned before) I failed.

The book is so long and so tedious. I have read, reread, edited, reedited, sent it out for editing and proofing and checking. Right now (to me), this book is about as spellbinding as reading a phone book.

When I went to bed last night, my plan was to give this book one more cursive glance today and send it off to be printed before the weekend begins.

I woke up knowing that now is not the time to rush to the finish line.

I cannot rewrite the book but I can give it one last, long good perusal and send it on its way knowing I have done my best.

I read what has been written and I wonder how much I have misconstrued between hearing what I thought I heard; writing what I interpreted to be correct; and the actual truth.

My 'critics' have not been harsh enough. In one case I believe I was the one to mis-hear a story and I wrote what I thought I understood to be true. Instead of correcting me, one kind edit said they had a different memory. In my haste to assemble the massive amount of stories, I assumed they were talking of two different memories. As I hone in on details, I realize he was saying, "You've got it all wrong! It happened 'this' way..."

This has happened on numerous occasions. In fact, three other instances came immediately to mind as I wrote that sentence.

I cannot help but think, if I know of four or five occasions where I have misrepresented the facts, there are probably (at least) ten times that amount within the pages of our book.

As I called one uncle to do a little fact-checking and confirm how I should word something within his chapter this week, he told me I was worrying too much over the details. I couldn't brush it off though, because what goes down in writing will stay there for as long as the words are on the page. Future 'editions' of the book can be revised but the ones that are printed this first time through will 'go down in history' as fact.


Thus, I simply cannot rush the process now that I am this close. I will allow myself the weekend. That is it. No more.

Sunday night, before I go to sleep I will send off the final, revised file. Monday morning, I will click all the boxes to approve the book to move forward as-it-is.

The family book project will come to an end. September 29, 2014 shall go down as a date to remember. Six years, one month and two days after I got the 'nod' from my uncle to start moving ahead with this project, it will wind down to a close.

I knew it was going to be 'big'. Every time I dipped my toes into collecting these memories, I knew I was being entrusted with something precious. Whenever I immersed myself in assembling the stories into what would eventually become our book, I felt like I was walking on sacred ground. There is no need to rush. Even now.

The book needs to come to an end. This much I know. Just not today ...

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