Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The perfect beach read

It took me three months to sit down with "Confessions" at long last for a manuscript read-through, but here I am -- and just in time for summer, too! I have to admit getting a certain thrill on my train ride into Boston this morning burying my nose between the covers of something that I actually wrote! What's more, these first few chapters were written over three years ago, so it really does feel like I'm reading some it for the very first time. While typos and run-on sentences abound, I'm pleased to see that even early on I had begun to flesh out what would become the major themes of the book, albeit in some cases unconsciously, as I wasn't even thinking about the big picture when I started to put pen to paper. And the funny thing is that I'm now honestly looking forward to the editing process. In his book On Writing, Stephen King recommended at least six weeks between writing and editing; for me it seems that twice this amount of time did the trick (your own mileage may vary).

Of course the reason I stayed away from the manuscript was that I was busy working on the non-fiction front instead. Early this year, I had agreed to write a chapter for Magazines for Libraries, a reference book which periodically reviews both scholarly and general-interest publications for librarians (who routinely spend the lion's share of their precious resources on serial subscriptions). Thanks to my educational background in Classics and archaeology, I was asked to do the Archaeology chapter, and although it proved to be a monumental amount of work -- and during my semester off from classes, no less! -- I was finally able to submit my last review over the weekend. It took a couple of days for the realization that I was finished to sink in, but now I'm positively exhilirated, and can't wait for when the next edition of the book comes out at the end of the year. To think that the Reference section of this very library will have something that I helped create... how cool is that?

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