With the novel, we are in the final “sprint.” We’re talking days, not weeks.

These are the times, however, when details take on weight. Commas are made out of cast iron and run upwards of fifty pounds and must be lifted onto the back and carried up stairs. Final prunings of sentences are as dangerous as a game of pepper played with hand grenades. Undiscovered typos — oh, they’re out there, I know they’re out there — produce night sweats.

And then there’s the rapid aging, the dropped arches, the failing eyes, the aching sinuses (and, Madam Vandam adds, the breakup of my marriage).

All of it to be relieved, in the end, by the anti-climax of the published thing.

You will be the judge.

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