The paperbacks are here, the hardbacks are being created right now (in fact, the covers are made, the insides are being printed...). I have approximately 250 books sat in my study.
And yet, it still doesn't feel real.
14 months of agonising, painting, doodling, scribbling, doodling again and scribbling again. Googling "how to" more times than I care to admit. Googling "what does [printing jargon] mean" and "what is CYMK" and "how do I publish a book"... all the way to "how does foiling work".
14 months of wondering what life would be like if she were still here, beating myself up again and again over what I'd do or say if I'd clocked it was the last time. And ironically, now the book is a real life, tactile, beautiful thing, I feel bereft.
I sat with the Bosom Pals ladies on Monday and they explained how sometimes the more physical aspects of grief can come later, can creep up on us in unexpected ways. I think that's what's happening now. The bit of my brain that's had the book whizzing around feels a wee bit empty, and the whizzy brain wants to do more. Share it everywhere. Get rid of every copy. Burn it (I didn't.)
I am immensely proud of what I've achieved. But I'm also immensely grateful to those of you that have put up with my agonising and perfectionism, and who have supported and encouraged me over the last year or so. I wasn't nice for some of it, I was snappy and emotional and hurting. So thank you- and as I now realise, this is actually a beginning.
I've had wise advice to calm the brain down, and just relax for a bit. My brain doesn't do that. So the wise human suggested making a list of all the places the Lady is going, to appease my whizziness, my desire to help, and see in a tangible way how far it's come. So that'll be next, my friends. And it's pretty flip flopping special.