Monday, August 17, 2009

For the Two of Us

Desk with chained books in the Library of Cese...
Just when all the fun was about to start. Well, maybe this will make more sense if I take you back a bit. I mentioned a close friend yesterday and how we had written a book together. It was more than that; we sweated through hours of research, late evenings writing and editing, for nearly four years. At one point, we thought we were done at last, got reviews from a potential publisher, and ended up rewriting nearly the entire book.

On a typical day I'd get a late night call and my friend would have an idea. He talked while I took notes and then put them into something readable. The next day we'd meet, revise what I'd written, and add more. I'd always wondered how anyone could fill two hundred plus pages. Now I found myself essentially writing twenty or thirty page term papers, week after week, each one becoming a new chapter. I'll tell you this, it gave the phrase "step by step" a whole new meaning.

In the beginning we were just two guys tackling a project. By the time we'd gotten through the second rewrite, we thought so much alike it was difficult to know who had said what first. Half the time one of us started a thought and the other finished it. And now, I'm the one who will really finish it. Not the book itself; I mean the fun stuff.

You see, I get to do things like choose cover art and read proofs of the final draft that will go to press. The kinds of things my friend anticipated with relish. For the past three years, while I was "up to my neck" in medical school, he and I burned up the telephone lines several times a week. His plans, my schoolwork, progress with the book, how are my dogs, how we miss the conversations over coffee -- we drank enough to retire a Starbucks CEO. This morning I'll obtain permission to use an illustration, talk to our editor about one thing and another, and do my best to enjoy the process -- for the two of us.

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