“I hate writing; I love having written.”
Once upon a time, early-day typesetters recognized the end of a newspaper story when they saw “XXX” at the bottom of a reporter’s typed page. Since “XXX” was also Latin for the number 30, the end of a typewritten story came to be signified by “-30-” … and just the word “thirty” came to mean “it’s done.”
I have just typed “-30-” on my latest manuscript, although it almost certainly won’t be recognized by the young, Manhattanite editor who’ll soon read it. Those four little characters are heavy with meaning, mostly because the writing of this particular book spans a difficult personal time for me. There was a long time when I didn’t think I’d ever finish, if I thought about it at all. In fact, there were months when I just knew my last story had already been told. But here we are again at “-30-” … the end of the next story.
Unlike Dorothy Parker, I like writing … but I love having written, too. Being done feels like every big day so far has felt, like the culmination of all the good and bad days before, and the start of whatever is to come. So today, I exhale. Tomorrow, a new story starts. That’s the story of life, right?
Oh, this particular task isn’t finished. In fact, some of the hardest work is ahead as this manuscript evolves into a book. In the way ore becomes gold, I have done the hardest work of going deep and bringing it all the the surface, so some strange chemistry can eventually make it shiny and display it in a fancy box.
But “-30-” is like passing through a tunnel and coming out at the other end. The road continues beyond every tunnel, but the sunshine feels good.
Watch this space for upcoming details about Ron’s new book, which will be released by New York’s Prometheus Books in Spring 2019.