The French poet Paul Valery once said, “Poems are never finished, merely abandoned.” The same, I would venture to suggest, could be said of novels. On the rare occasions when I am foolish enough to pick up one of my earlier books, I find myself cringing, constantly editing, revising, and wishing for a chance to do over. But you can’t, of course. At some point you have to bid the thing goodbye, hope for the best, and move on.
But, even if you never finish a book, you do at least get to the end of the story. And that is what, after five years of writing “Paradise”, I did today.
There’s still a huge amount to do, of course: several months of rewrites and revisions just to get it to a point where I can send it to my agent. And of course, on the hopeful assumption that we find a happy home for the book, my new editor will want further changes made. So there’s still a long way to go. But today is a banner day, all the same. I’m off to see Terence Blanchard play his trumpet in a couple of hours to celebrate.