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A BOOK AND A BABY
September 8, 2008
 
Last night, late: I pressed "send" at last, sending the one-week-overdue manuscript of my next book off through the ether. Instantly, it was in San Francisco, joining whatever else lay in the editor's inbox awaiting Monday morning. It was also instantly in New York, where a reader was probably at having dinner and wouldn't get to his email for awhile. It went instantly across the courtyard to Q's mailbox at the church, but I know he didn't read it: he was fast asleep beside me.

There have been no eMos for the entire week that this book was overdue: I had said I could turn it in on September 1st long before I knew I would be getting used to a new parish, a new house and a new country throughout August. I used to know a lady named Barbara Crafton who could have done both big jobs at the same time, but I haven't seen her in ages. I think she may have died. This one is a lot slower, and can't seem to manage without her naps.

Still a week overdue isn't bad at all. Publishers expect a bit of that, although you don't want to push your luck, especially with people you've never met -- this is a new publisher for me, and I don't want to look like a flake. The main reason for the pressure is that I want the writing part to be over. After a time with a book, I no longer know if it is any good. There comes a time when it must see the light of day. Let some other people see it. Then we'll know who it really is.

There was someone else this week who needed to see the light of day. My younger daughter and her husband waited all week for their new baby to make his appearance. Finally, after 12 hours of effort that left her sore in every muscle and him hoarse with cheering her on, our new little friend was here. Within an hour, we could see pictures of him. Within an hour, I could hear him cry. Nothing wrong with his lungs, I told his weary father. Nope, he said. His happiness filled the hospital room in New York and overflowed across the sea to fill the little piazza in our garden, where we sat eating dinner.

All this was communicated instantly. The making of it was slow, though -- a book and a baby each took nine months. There's no way to speed creation. It takes the time it takes.
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Our new grandson's name is Wyatt Oliver Crafton Walker. Debbie has posted pictures of him over in the HodgePodge at www.geraniumfarm.org.
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