After printing out the punk anthology on my laser printer, I held all 180 pages and inhaled their warm, inky, clean goodness. I love the smell of freshly printed work. The weight of the pages in my arms was comforting, my reward after three years of struggle to create this book. A validation of my vision. I was at last... done.
I showed the pages to Rick and he smiled, then said, "Now if I can just get the design part done!"
Yeah, that would be nice. I nodded. "It will come. You're slammed with school right now. I know as soon as you have a chance, you'll finish it."
"Did you find a spot for N's story?" Rick asked.
"N. He wrote the story about the road trip."
"Don't you remember. He sent it kind of late and you said you should be able to fit it in."
"Um...?" I had no idea what story Rick was referring to. I went to my laptop and searched through my mail (this is why I love Google. That email program has saved my butt so many times after I've lost an email or essay!). After a few minutes, I found N's missing story. "Oh right. I remember this one."
"Can you use it?"
I read the essay quickly, remembering that it was good, but rough and needed work, work I forgot to do. Sigh... "Yeah. No problem."
Then I searched through my emails again, looking for any other essays I may have forgotten about. After three years of work on this anthology, I've read hundreds of essays, culled them down to about 25, and then worked on those remaining essays with each author for another 2 years. It is a tedious, confusing process at times. I'd send notes to each author, then forget which notes went to who. Did I tell Matt or Mike to add more sensory, emotional detail to the pivotal scene in his essay? Was it Jennifer or Jessica who needed to fill in more details about the moment she heard her favorite punk band? Happily it appeared that through that process, I'd only forgotten one, late submitted essay. What a relief!
Glancing once more at the lovely stack of freshly printed manuscript pages, I got to work on N's essay. Not done yet.