Back when, I wrote here that I was going into hermitry for “just a few months, probably,” in order to focus on the final draft of The First Muslim. Hubris strikes again! I now realize it’s been nearly a year.
But I’ve finished the book. All 99,901 words of it. (Actually, a few thousand more if you include the end notes, bibliography, etc, but hey, who’s counting…) And it’ll be published in January, which suddenly seems just round the corner.
“We gotta celebrate!” friends here in Seattle said after I’d pressed the Send button to my publisher. Champagne all round, heels kicked up, nights on the town — all that good stuff. But nights on the town require energy, and I had none left. I was too exhausted. The book was finished, and so, it felt, was I. Instead of celebrating, I did what I’d known I’d do come this moment: I collapsed. The sofa and I became one.
But as days passed with me cradled by that sofa – well-worn dark green leather, thoroughly scratched up by the resident feline – I realized that this wasn’t a painful exhaustion. It was a happy one, the kind you feel after an arduous hike through magnificent landscape. You’ve forded streams and clambered up mountains you never thought you could manage. By the time you get home, everything is aching. You can’t wear shoes because of the blisters. The muscles in your legs are so sore it feels like you’ll never be able to walk properly again. But who cares? You know, at a far deeper level than skin and muscles, that it was absolutely, totally worth it.
That was a few weeks ago, and now my energy’s coming back. I’m up off the sofa, ready to interact with the world again and resume this great improvisation known as life. So here’s a big thank you, fellow accidental theologists, for your understanding, patience, encouragement, and support over this past year. Now that I’m back, on with the conversation!