stop, turn round and look back at the view

So I’m here working late at night in a university halls room, in the middle of a conference, after an evening getting drunk with other academics. I need to send off a final proof of a chapter I’ve written for a book. I’m managing various uncomfortable feelings around my own flakiness throughout the process and my fraught relationship with the editor, while pressing on through the proofing. OK, I feel like a bit of a failure but I can’t let that stop me getting this done before I sleep –

and then I scroll past the running head of the chapter, a shortened version of the title I gave it, all nicely typeset, and the printer’s crop marks in place all ready to go, and I’m like

whoa. Hang on.

*vertiginous crash-zoom sensation*

‘a final proof of a chapter I’ve written for a book’

Like, an ACTUAL BOOK I will at some point hold in my hands, which will join a short but growing stack of published things, including an earlier version of this one which a bunch of people quite liked. Somewhere along the way I became a Published Writer – a thing I longed for for literally decades – and I was so busy obsessing over minor day-to-day failures and inadequacies that I didn’t even notice.

Well then.

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