I have just sent in a new manuscript to my editor. As ever, I fall into a kind of melancholy restlessness, a kind of what-shall-I-ever-do-with-myself-now mood. I have known writers who take vacations at the end of projects. Someone told me how, when done, he always cleaned his house. Another, her desk. Then there was the writer who told me about finally allowing herself to finally finish the wallpapering of the back room. Of course, there are those writers, such just as Trollope or Henry James, who, once having finished a book, set about writing another, with no more than immediately pulling under their hand a clean sheet of paper—or so they claimed.
Dickens, in his preface to the first edition of David Copperfield, wrote:
“It would concern the reader little, perhaps, to know how sorrowfully the pen is laid down at the close of two years’ imaginative task; or how an Author feels as if he were dismissing some portion of himself into the shadowy world, when a crowd of the creatures of his brain are going from him forever. Yes, I have nothing else to tell; unless, indeed, I were to confess (which might be of less moment still), that no one can ever believe this Narrative, in the reading, more than I have believed it in the writing.”
There it is exactly: My crowd of creatures, gone forever into the shadowy world. Dear readers, they are no longer my creatures; they will (I hope) become your friends now.