Page Proofs

I’m correcting the page proofs to my book this week. The first look at them was a shock. I was upset—not happy or sad or angry, but upset. It’s so strange and amazing after all these years to see actual proofs, to glimpse the book as it will look when it’s published. Deep inside there was a little tiny me jumping up and down with a huge bouquet of balloons yelling “yippee!!!” Surrounding that exultant being were layers upon layers of caution, trepidation, and fear. It was such a confusing feeling that when people asked me how the proofs looked I could only respond in monosyllables like a sullen teen: “Fine. O.k. Good, I guess.”

Fortunately, as promised, the folks in Chennai gave it a proper copyediting this time and the text is cleaned up. I’ve been answering tons of reassuring queries: “Reading Room has been inconsistently set in capitals and lower case. Ok to make all references in capitals?” So now I have a seven-page list of changes to be made and unmade, queries, etc. I’ve made an appendix and added citations to the bibliography. It’s terrifying and exciting.

I promised myself long ago that, when the book comes out, the anticlimactic feelings are banned, for a bit anyway. Believe me, I can list a million anticlimactic and disappointing things about the book but I plan to put them to rest for a big bash. Now that I’m truly in the final stretch, I can feel that little tiny me with balloons growing, getting ready to celebrate. I need to stock up on champagne…

And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, it’s been a busy six or seven weeks: I gave birth, we moved to a glorious new apartment, and now I’m correcting page proofs. All good, exhausting changes. Soon enough, the pictures will be hung, the boxes unpacked, and the proofs corrected. When that day comes, perhaps I’ll get to read a book again…