It is done. I actually put the final full stop on the page at 5.45 pm on Saturday, but that wasn't the end of the first draft, because I always edit the previous session.
I finished editing yesterday's work just twenty minutes ago at 5.55 am. I then made a cup of tea, sat in the dawn sunshine in my garden and listened to the dawn chorus. (We live about a hundred yards away from a spinney - so the noise was actually quite deafening.) I was joined in my garden by a pair of collared doves, a finch of some sort, a blackbird and some starlings. Did I imagine it, but did they line up on my fence in a sort of avian fanfare in tribute to The White Cuckoo?
It's like pure, white fragrant-smelling linen - just the thing to place in your bottom drawer. It's a story to lift your heart. There is not a single ounce of grittiness; there are no (bad) swear words; no bawdy sex scenes. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry, sometimes at the same time. There is too much of me in it. I have exposed my soul.
Will a publisher want it? I don't honestly know - I doubt it. It's probably too simple and honest. But I know I needed to write it like a drowning man needs a lifeline.
There is a lesson for all of you here. I almost lost something so fundamentally a part of me because of this dream we all chase that is 'publication'. Okay - I know I have an agent, and I'm grateful for that but never, ever again am I going to let anything get in the way of writing just for the pure enjoyment of it. The pressure suffocated the words in my head before they could reach my fingers. It made me sterile and made me think too much about what I was writing.
Full stop. The end.
RIP The White Cuckoo - 4th April 2009 to 3rd May 2009.
(PS - final word count 96,361 if anyone's interested)