I sometimes feel a sense of loss, I guess you could call it, when I finish a book and turn it in. Don’t get me wrong. The joy and pride and feelings of accomplishment are all there, too. But somewhere inside that celebration is that niggling ache of letting go.
All these people you’ve lived with for most of year? They’re like best friends who’ve suddenly taken residence in a foreign country. You can think of them often and fondly; you can pull up their snapshots from your mind and your phone, but you can’t drop by and make new memories with the snap of your fingers.
Last Thursday, I felt that sense of loss more acutely than ever. Within that cast of characters was an 82-year-old man. I was about to say he was based on my grandfather, but the truth is, he was my grandfather. Zaydee may have passed away nearly two decades ago, but never had I spent as much time with him as I have in the past months while I wove his stories into my story and brought them back into my life. With that, I came to truly know my grandfather for the first time. And then I had to let go again.
There are those who don’t believe that writing is all that personal. You make up stories; you send them out there for the world to enjoy. Then end.
Within every book I write, you’ll find small pieces of who I am between so many of the lines. This time, though, there were so many more. And yet, I know I’ve done him proud.