The proof copy of my book arrived yesterday from America. “You must be so excited!” said my friend Joanie, who happened to witness its arrival. I smiled and tore open the package. The book looked fine. Just the way it’s supposed to.
Was I excited? Not really.
I ought to be saying the opposite, I know. It’s what’s expected. But the truth is there’s no stress, no anticipation. No hoopla. It’s a curious feeling.
I’m not jaded by any means. It’s great to know this book is completed at last, and almost ready for its release. Deeply satisfying. Humbling to be part of its creation. But as for the rest of it…There’s nothing there. Just a sort of gentle, oozy river of pleasantness.
And I don’t mind. And I don’t mind, that I don’t mind.
Last evening I began to read through the book carefully. It’s my very last chance to make changes. At this point it’d be expensive to make revisions (and it would push back the release date). But if glaring errors are present, it’s good to know I have the option.
I’m finding no typos so far. No punctuation errors. But I do see a few small inconsistencies. Like for instance, I use the word ‘multi-dimensional’ probably a dozen times throughout the book. But I don’t always hyphenate it. Multidimensional, multi-dimensional. There’s no right or wrong here. But I’m supposed to pick a style and stick with it. And I didn’t.
And you know what? I don’t mind.
And that’s what caught my attention. Because I used to mind very much. I used to obsess about producing the highest quality, award-winningest books I possibly could. Impeccable graphic design? Yes, please. And a manuscript so gloss-polished you could see your reflection in it.
I paused and dialed into that prior version of myself. What was the motivation there? Why did I strive so damn hard for excellence?
Fear of attack, mostly. Excellence was my armor against criticism by others, real or imagined.
But the need for armor seems to have dropped away while I wasn’t looking. A whole bunch of things, in fact, seem to have dropped away while my attention was elsewhere. I’m allowed to be imperfect now. And so is everybody else. Which, honestly, is an incredible relief.
So now I’m in this strange in-between space. It’s not like excellence is a bad thing. Excellence, in and of itself, is wonderful and well worth aiming for. But I have no use for the armor anymore, so why bother? And that attitude feels mighty odd to a lifelong striver.
And that’s what’s odd about emotional freedom. It’s a wonderful relief to misplace the armor by the side of the road. Yet so much of recognizable daily life, as it turns out, was woven from a fabric made from fear of attack. When the fabric frays…well, things get a little weird. A little unrecognizable.
Who knows, maybe a desire to create highly polished excellence will come back at some point. Not as an expression of fear this time, but as a love letter to God.
And if it doesn’t? I really don’t mind.
The (almost perfect) FRICKEN MAP IS UPSIDE DOWN will soon be available for pre-order on Amazon. Official release date is 12-12-2019.