How It’s Going

Just a quick note to say I’m still alive, still writing the manuscript.

People keep asking how it’s going, and offering encouragement, and I’m so thankful for the the support and interest. It’s hard to say how it’s going, because I don’t know how much detail people really want, but also because I’m not sure myself how it’s going, in the sense of it going “well” or “poorly.” It’s going. It’s a slog. I’m ready to be done but in some ways the most important work is happening now and in the next few weeks, when I’m refining and shaping and hopefully wrapping this puppy up.

Here’s the best I can do:

Steeper, actually.

I keep thinking of climbing Mt. Washington (New Hampshire) back in July, which was a bucket list thing. My mother-in-law, who climbed it with me, told me about a place called Heartbreak Hill. That’s the place where you think you’re almost done because you can’t see anything but blue sky above you. But you come up over the ridge and discover to your horror that there’s a whole ‘nother section of mountain. You look up and see a huge pile of boulders, and people scurrying on them, tiny like ants, if ants wore bright red fleece and cargo pants.

And you look down at how far you’ve come, and instead of being psyched by the many miles you’ve traveled, you think, “This should be the end. For all the work I’ve done, I should be at the top.” But it isn’t the top. And you feel very sad and desperate for a while, because there’s no way short of catastrophic injury to get carried off this godforsaken mountain. And then there’s this bargaining thing with the universe—Could I please, please trade places with somebody else on this planet? Preferably someone at sea level, but I’ll take my chances with pure randomness.

And you think about the phrase, “The end is in sight.” It’s what you say when you’re almost done with something, but the problem is, the end is sitting atop a pile of rocks that aren’t so much walked as scrabbled. So the end in sight isn’t all that much of a comfort.

And once you accept that the rescue helicopter’s not coming, you eat some banana chips, and you do that thing you’ve been doing this whole time. The only thing you know to do, one scrambling step after another, which seems like a very inefficient way to go, but nobody’s come up with anything better.

How’s it going?

The end is in sight.

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6 thoughts on “How It’s Going

  1. I hear you. Great encouragement. Little things, little steps.

  2. Keith Snyder says:

    So it’s going well, then.

  3. Ruth Everhart says:

    You are getting there. Personally, I hang onto “How do you eat an elephant?”

  4. […] carry last week’s mountain-climbing metaphor forward, having a kid with lice the week before a 70,000 word project is due would be something […]

  5. […] more. Last year, for example, was a big bucket list year: I climbed the mountain, ran the race, finished the book (two actually) and lost almost 25 pounds (and […]

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