Friday, November 13, 2009

Imitating John Elway

John Elway's Quarterback
A few weeks ago I wrote about reviewing the initial proof copies of our book and this morning I've just finished doing similarly with the final ones. The production editor will combine my corrections with hers and send them to the typesetter who revises the text and delivers it to the printer.

In my imagination, I see this process unfold like the last seconds of a tight fourth quarter. John Elway is scrambling in the backfield (as usual) and does a quick hand off to a running back who fakes left and then passes to a wide receiver. With the defense closing in, he tosses the ball to another player who makes the scoring run. The Denver fans are going crazy while Coach Shanahan has begun to wonder whether his team would prefer to be the Harlem Globetrotters.

From John's perspective, it's about getting the ball over the goal line, but once it leaves his hands, all he can do is watch, hope, and trust the other players. That's where I'm at. Everything I've been expected to do, finish up the last chapter, edit the proofs, write an index, and review the proofs again, is done. The ball's in play and there's nothing left for me to do except await the outcome.

It's kind of odd, really. For the last three years, my friend Lynn and I have pursued, courted, and complied with one publisher after another. And because of medical school, it's been a part-time activity on my part. Then Lynn and Jonathan both passed away, as you know, and I felt like John must have felt all those times when a mammoth-sized linebacker was bearing down on him and he hadn't yet gotten rid of the ball.

Thankfully, that scenario has been resolved, but I'm still a little wistful and at a bit of a loss. All the detail work has kept me in the game and though I haven't been sidelined, it's time to rely on the rest of the team to get the job done. And that's a good feeling. But one thing is definitely certain, this is the closest I'll ever get to imitating John Elway.

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