So, yesterday at about six p.m. I finished the index.
That in itself doesn't sound like much, but it means the last piece of work for the book is now behind me. That means today I'm not working on the book: I'm finally off deadline, for the first time since I signed the contract (20th August 1992), at which point I'd already been working on the book off and on for several years (first in conjunction with, then trying to revise the work of, Taum Santoski). Like Gorey's Mr. Earbrass, I expected to be wandering around from room to room, vaguely petting cats and leaving teacups scattered about, but this turns out not to be the case. Instead there's a vast sense of relief, of sheer doneness, coupled with a sense of new possibilities. Janice is off work this week, so we'll have a chance to do stuff together: take some long walks, visit Pioneer Square or Pike Place market, or maybe even go out to a movie (I think the last thing we saw was The Prestige, though can't swear to that). We even made tentative plans for an overnight trip up to Vancouver to see the book on a bookstore's shelves, but unfortunately the Canadian bookstores don't seem to be stocking it yet, so perhaps its May 16th release date there has been pushed back.
Not that there aren't things to do. There's the Marquette lecture to write ("A Kind of Elvish Craft: Tolkien as Literary Craftsman"). There are some book reviews I've wanted to do, such as of the new Barfield biography and the Evans-Dickerson book on Tolkien and environmentalism. There are books to read for the sheer fun of it, like Diana Pavlac's new book on the Inklings and Hearn's Tales of the Otori series, along with the last of the Derr Earl Biggers novels if I can track down a copy. There's the next research trip to plan out (England, in November), now that I have my passport renewed, and calculations to make on how to best use the available time to spend as many hours in the libraries, with the primary collections, as possible while I'm there.
And of course there are chores that have long been put off that now need attending to: the cats are all due long walks. The mounds of paper around my desk need sorted, filed, and otherwise put in order. The Box Room needs a major sorting to get all those papers out of boxes and into file cabinets so they're accessible, and I need to make the difficult decisions about what of the books, games, and magazines stored down there to keep and what to let go of (and what to do with the culls). And it's back on Induction for me as of yesterday to see if I can't take off some of those pounds I regained over the last year and a half or so while chained to the desk.
But the book will still be done. Looks like June 18th, three weeks from today, is the revised release date for Volume II. And, in these parts at least, there will be much rejoicing.