The last time I finished writing a book (as opposed to editing a collection, which feels much less eventful) was on September 4, 2001. I’d actually typed the final words of The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken years earlier–I wrote the prologue and epilogue first–and I’d completed the next-to-last draft of the book in late August, but it was on the afternoon of September 4 that I finished editing the last draft and started printing out the manuscript. I didn’t open a bottle of champagne or go out to dinner: instead, I spent the evening alone and went to bed early. I’d been working under extreme pressure all summer, and now, at last, the heat was off. I delivered the manuscript to my agent the next day and caught a plane to Missouri to visit my mother the day after that.
I was expecting to feel a touch of post-partum depression sooner or later, as most writers do when they finish writing a long book. Then, five days later, my mother’s phone rang and a caller from the Upper West Side told me to turn on the TV. That was the last time I thought about Mencken, or my book, for the next few weeks….
Read the whole thing here.