The Big Book is still too big.
You know what? I don't care. I'm finally satisfied that I've told the story well.
That only took...um...May 17, 2003 to August 22, 2006...with intermittent breaks for other projects subtracted, I guess about two and a half years.
When I was in grad school, I used to have a weird little fixation that, as it turns out, lots of doctoral students have: I was sure I'd be hit by a bus before I finished my dissertation, and that I'd die without my degree. (sporos, for example, was convinced he'd be crushed by space debris plummeting to earth on the eve of his dissertation defense.) When I finally took my finished dissertation to the Dean of Rulers, so she could measure my margins with an honest-to-Gods pica ruler and weigh my paper on an honest-to-Gods kitchen scale and then declare me done, I thought to myself, Today is a good day to die, because if I got hit by that bus, my labor would not all have been for nothing.
Writing the Big Book has been a joy. Almost all of it, anyway. I never thought to myself that, if it never got done or published, the work would have been for nothing, because doing the work was desirable in its own right.
Even so, it's nice to think that, if the bus or chunk of Spacelab or whatever it was that missed me long enough for me to finish the damn degree ever catches up with me, I've finished something I'm proud of. If I never touch the manuscript again, if it's the only thing that stands for my existence when I'm gone, well, I will not have embarrassed myself.
That's something I couldn't say even as recently as a week ago, while I was still cutting unnecessary dialogue tags.
Tomorrow, I'll probably make repairs to the Bob novella's badly botched ending, or I'll do some research for the Stisele novel. I will not begin a new Rugosa Coven story yet, no I won't. Maybe I should write that on the blackboard a hundred times. No editor anywhere is expecting a Rugosa Coven story, and an editor actually wants to see the Stisele project.
Is this the moment when I make a dumb wisecrack about getting back on the horse that threw me? Because if I'm going to get Stisele right, I have to get in some more riding lessons.