Now the terror sets in. Rewriting. Time to move from artist mind to critical mind.
It always stuns me slightly, to reach the end, as if each book is a somehow eternal project. Here I am, the journey nearly done. There is the collage (which I still love as a creation unto itself) and all the Clairefontaine notebooks with my scrawling handwriting and the files ripped out magazine pages with recipes and tidbits and photos of things that somehow spoke to the vision of the book.
There are the stacks of books (eleven of which are overdue at the library right now) including Danse Macabre, Stephen King’s masterpiece on the appeal of horror; Best Food Writing, 2003; Spice, the history of a temptation by Jack Turner; The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin. There are dozens and dozens of websites bookmarked on my favorites list, including an entire category of food blogs. I have Story out on my desk, bristling with colored tags, and The Artist’s Way to give me courage. There are poster size post-its struck to my door and walls.
And there is that stack of pages that have to make sense and have flow and magic and verve. Pages that must be true to themselves and their own story, no matter what I thought I was doing before I started and as I wrote.
Now my job is to be merciless and egoless. I must serve the work, which is so much harder than I ever think it will be. Each one is different. Each serves a different purpose, and I am only a conduit. I often imagine that the books exist on the other side of a very high wall, and my job is to draw it over that wall a fiber at a time and reweave the whole in this reality. How well I do it depends entirely on how willing I am to serve the work, how clear I am in doing that.
Much work to do. I started today. That’s a lot.