Friday, 24 April 2015

Thank goodness it's Friday. The Friday of the Finished Beast.

This has been a rather full week, and I'm really, really looking forward to the weekend now!

If you are looking for something to while away a little time and haven't done so yet, the Free 14 at Maney is still running until Sunday, so if you like conservation, heritage or archaeology journal articles, that might sweeten your weekend a bit.

Me, I'll take care of two or three little things now, and then I will sit in the sun and unwind. The Beast is finally finished, edited, proof-read, proof-read again, our changes carefully considered and sent in, all remaining questions answered and it is off our desks for good. It's been wonderful, nerve-racking, exciting, exhausting, painstaking and demanding work to get this thing finished for print.

Actually, the whole work on the book was wonderful and nerve-racking and demanding, and at times it became hilarious, and at other times it was deeply frustrating. There were times when one of us tried very, very hard to get a point across to the other one, because only one could see the issue and the other couldn't. There were times when we sighed in frustration because the literature was too scarce, or too biased, or doesn't explain something clearly and we couldn't find a better book or article for the topic. There were times when we wished we had about a hundred more pages of leeway to explain things about the cans of worms here and there, things fraught with so many issues from research history and old biases and uncertainities that we could either write "this is a disputed thing" or start to do a few weeks more research and write many more pages (for which we did not have the space). There was much nitpicking about the exact phrasing of this or that so it would be as hard as possible to misunderstand or misinterpret.

It wasn't all sweat and toil and sighs, though. We had a lot of good times and a lot of fun doing all this, and you can bet that there were ample little jokes we made, and there were even a few puns in the draft at some stages.

The Beast has given us three years of collaboration where we managed to solve all these issues of writing, and all the other issues that came up through language differences, time zone shifts, cultural differences and personal preferences. Oh, and the mis-timed illnesses that had a tendency to hit us both at the same time when we could both not afford to let the Beast rest for a few days. So sometimes it was tough going, but we both did persist, and it was an amazing, wonderful ride altogether, and I am very proud that we did persist and never got too mad at each other for too long. 
I'm also very proud of what we wrote, together, standing on the shoulders of giants, merging our expertise and our passions and our voices.

Now, soon, it will be out in the world to be enjoyed by many other people. I'm thrilled about that, and a bit nervous (will people like it? will it be the helpful book we intended it to be?) and very, very happy that we found a lovely publisher who did a lot of work, too, to make the book look as beautiful as possible.

It's finally, finally really done. Finished. On a sunny Friday. I am happy.

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