It’s difficult to know whether to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Christmas and New Year, a Happy Easter or a Happy May Day as so much time seems to have gone by since I last blogged. But the good news is…the end is in sight for ‘My Dear Elsie’, the book I’ve been writing for longer than I care to remember and which is based on a fascinating collection of old letters and postcards written to my grandmother by her close friend Ethel North, lady’s maid and companion to Lady Winifred Burghclere.
Here is what I have left to do:
- Write the introduction for the seventh and final section of the book.
- Type up, research and write the end-notes for the remaining twelve letters and postcards. (I know that sounds a lot but I had about eighty to do when I first started).
- Write the epilogue as a sort of “What happened next?” section.
- Put together a list of “Who’s Who” of the main protagonists, like the dramatis personae at the beginning of a play because trust me, the readers will need one!
- Draw up family trees for Ethel and for Lady Burghclere.
- Write the bibliography, appendices, acknowledgements etc.
- Ask a few carefully selected people to read it.
- Edit the whole book.
- Proof-read the whole book.
- Get it published.
Hmm…maybe the end isn’t quite as much in sight as I thought it was. Nevertheless, I do feel that I’ve finally reached the top (or nearly the top) of the mountain and that I’m at least looking at the descent now, even though I still feel quite a long way from base camp.
At the risk of mixing my metaphors, I suppose it’s a bit like running a marathon. The penultimate mile is supposed to be the toughest. Your legs feel like lead, your lungs seem about to burst and you think you’ll never make it to the end. But that final mile, when you can actually see the winning post with those silver blankets, water bottles and kindly stewards ready to hand out your medal, is the one that allows you to dig deeper than you ever thought you could and find that extra bit of energy and muscle-power to finally propel you over the finishing line.
Hopefully that will be the case for me with ‘My Dear Elsie’ so on that note, I shall now stop writing this blog post, have a chunk of Kendal Mint Cake and get my running shoes back on.
See you on the other side!