At 6:38 yesterday evening I hit the Send button and sent in the ms. of the last of my overdue books from 2007. It was a book about Conifers for middle-school kids. Now, I’m not sure that 7th-graders are all that interested in Conifers–I could be wrong, and I hope I am–but my publisher asked me to write the book and, at long last, I finally did so. The moment I turned it in, I entered a rare and miraculous state of being: I was caught up with work! I almost levitated.
But, by a curious coincidence, yesterday’s date was also the due date for the first piece of 2008 work: book one in my series on human evolution, which of course I did not turn in yesterday. It lies still before me, only party written. My state of caught-up-ness, therefore, was of such brief duration that perhaps it did not exist at all, at least in our space-time continuum.
Now I forge ahead on the work for this year. Not to mention all the messy afterbirth of the books I’ve finished in recent months: captioning illustrations, reviewing copyedits and layouts, quelling the din of hectoring fact-checkers. But I welcome such activities, because they allow me to tick things off the to-do list without actually having to produce pages.