The last stages of book production always fry my brain. I page through the entire book staring at only the comic frames to make sure that none of them are cropped funny. Some of them are. I mark them. I page through the book looking closely at all of the footnote frames to make sure everything is aligned correctly. Some of them aren’t. I mark them. I page through the book and compare each strip with the online archive to make sure that none are missed, duplicated, or out of order. If any are, I mark them. Then I page through the entire book making all the corrections I’ve marked in the digital file. I print out a clean version without marks and repeat the process. There are also copy edits and Howard edits to enter. All of it requires tightly focused attention and leaves my brain too exhausted for much else.
Despite the fact that my brain is fried by book editing, life goes on. It continues to be full of little stories and thoughts. My blogging brain is well trained to collect these and hold them for future use. Unfortunately editing makes my brain so tired that I don’t get around to wrapping words around the ideas, nor to I manage to file the ideas so they’re not interfering with other things I need my brain to do. It all jostles about together and I feel quite cluttered. So here are the things my brain has collected in the last few days in no particular order.
Link and Patch had an argument in which Link said something that hurt Patch’s feelings. It was not deliberate. Link was trying to find words which would let him play video games with just his friend. There were tears and I required Link to apologize. Link told me he didn’t want to because Patch would hurt his feelings. In the course of reasoning with Link, I described apologizing in a way that I want to remember. I said that an apology is a gift. You give it to someone with no expectation of return. You can’t thrust it upon them and require them to accept, nor is it a time to argue over fault, nor explain your position. You offer the apology because you owe it. If the other person forgives, that is also a gift. It is a separate gift from the apology. Sometimes the other person is not ready to forgive. If that happens, even if the other person is mean or hurtful in answer to the gift of apology, it is your responsibility to just walk away. Anything else makes resolution farther away rather than closer. If you are not ready to give an apology as a gift, then it is not yet time to speak. It is entirely possible to separate out pieces of a conflict and apologize for only a small part. This gift often opens the path to further communication. An apology can be as simple as “I did not mean to hurt your feelings. I’m sorry.”
Kiki had a reality check about the difficulty involved in becoming a full-time freelance artist. The whole thought of supporting herself on her own work was quite daunting. She talked with me about it, and I think I made it a little better. She talked with Howard about it and walked away feeling like she could conquer. Then she had further inspiration and feels strongly that no matter how hard this path may be, it is the right one for her right now. I love seeing the calm confidence and resolve she is carrying around this week.
On Tuesday I became a parent who pulls her kids out of the local school to put them into a different one. Gleek’s space in the new school is assured. Patch’s is not yet, but is probable. I have mixed feelings about doing this. I used to feel strongly that it was important to keep my kids in the neighborhood school and to spend time volunteering there. Somehow I’ve arrived at a very different place. My feelings are less mixed now that the decisions are actually made rather than pending. I hope it all goes well.
The tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point Gardens has been extended by a week because of the cool wet weather. I may not miss it after all. If I can get the book shipped off by Wednesday, as I hope, then I am claiming Thursday as mine. I will see flowers.