Today's throwback: Me in 1997, standing in front of my parent's house, proudly holding a copy of my very first book, PILGRIMS.
I loved that suit so much. (It was my first suit. Actually, it was my first suit until last year…) I loved that haircut, too. (I thought I looked like Demi Moore. You guys, I don't look like Demi Moore.)
I felt so freakin' SLICK!
Slick and proud.
I also remember thinking, "This is probably the only book I will ever write." I had nothing left in me after those short stories were all gathered. I'd been working on those stories since I was about 17. (I was 27 in this photo.) I thought, "This might be all I've got." I thought, "This will probably be the peak experience of my life."
It's a thought I still have, whenever I finish a book. ("Well, I'm drained — nothing left. My work on earth is done.") But I've learned over the years that you SHOULD feel that way, once a creative project is done. You should feel that you have put everything you've got into it. That you've left nothing on the field.
Only then, emptied, can new ideas approach.
And oh my goodness, thank the stars of inspiration, the new ideas DO approach. They inch toward you; you inch toward them. Then we begin all over again…
Thank god our work is never done.