I was thinking about songs last week, ones about roads and journeys. The Long and Winding Road… Leaving on a Jet Plane… Goodbye Yellow Brick Road… Keep Right On to the End of the Road…
This last one has been going round and round in my head. On Wednesday I emailed my latest round of edits on The Cold Cold Sea to my publisher, and we’re very nearly at the end of the road. My edits, and those from the proof reader, will be incorporated into the final text. We’ll all check this one, but there shouldn’t be much to change now, just the odd misplaced comma or a forgotten letter. And then that’s it. My book will be finished.
And along with the sense of achievement there’s a definite feeling of – No. Because you see, this means I can’t change it anymore. Never again can I have a good idea about something Maggie might think during the search for Olivia; never again can I watch how the text changes and develops when I put the new sentences in.
Then there’s Phillip and his sick Gran in America. Soon they’ll be set in stone forever too.
Phillip is my favourite character in this book; he is such a nice guy, and… but that would be telling. After next week I’ll never be able to change a single word, thought or deed of his. And although I’m delighted about finishing my book, I’m also GUTTED that this stage of our journey is over.
In a way it feels like saying goodbye to a dear friend, someone who’s been there with you for years and whose comforting presence in your life has been one of your constants. It just won’t be the same when they move far away from you. You’re happy because your friend’s removal is something very positive, a whole new adventure – but still. You’ll miss the daily interaction.
I do know it isn’t really the end of the road for TCCS. It’s only the beginning of my book’s independent life. But it still feels like when your kids leave home, when you’re standing there at the door waving, knowing you now have little control over their lives and hoping, hoping with all your heart that people will be kind to them.
What I want to say now is thank you, so much, to all the people along the road who have helped The Cold Cold Sea and I on our way.