I have work to do today, but am drawn to writing here before I begin.
The human frame falls apart with overwork and exhaustion. After a big production or a big project we get sick. The body demands the rest and care it has been denied. The book came out yesterday; I woke up this morning feeling horrible. Now I nurse myself back to health.
This monumental thing of a book coming out. I am writing to try to get my head around it. The closest thing I can compare it to is a theatre production. When you’re in a play or directing a play, you work so hard in the lead-up to that performance date. Thousands of disparate elements must all come together on opening night. Publication is the opening night of a book.
The hardest work for me in publishing this book was holding those disparate elements together. There were the Greek texts and translations, written by me, but heavily edited and corrected by two distinguished Hellenists, whom I admired with a girlish awe. Conversations all summer, versions passed back and forth, back and forth until every rough breathing word accent, iota subscript was right. There were the illustrations. Conversations with the artist about how the pictures would relate to the words. There was the design. Conversations with the book designer about fonts, spaces, color, jacket design. There was the printing. Conversations with the printer. There was the binding. There was the selling (we financed the printing with pre-sales). Conversations with friends and family, and strangers on Twitter. It all mattered, but the complexity of it all made things seem constantly on the verge of spinning out of control.
And now, miraculously, the elements have all come together and we have a book. Habemus librum. As the book sails out into the world, a new journey begins. I will tell you about it.