From here on out, November 18 will officially be known as finishing day. Yesterday morning I completed my last "assignment" on How To Write Your Own Ceremony. A solid draft is complete. It took a long time for me to get to this point. And I am happy. The young writer in me is wide eyed at my ability to see the thing through. The mom in me says, "Ha, you ain't seen nothin' yet, young writer. There's more in there...so much more!"
But November 15 isn't finishing day just because I finished. My friend Laurel finished her book today too. Three years ago Laurel and I set out to run a Half Marathon--on a lark, to see if we could do it. I wrote about it here. We met our goal of finishing in three hours by the skin of our teeth, but more than meeting our goal, we found a way--a way through the long haul, through the weeks of training and ultimately through the race itself. In the end, we both understood that we accomplished something together that we probably would not have been able to see through alone.
We did not know it, but in this sideways way, we were becoming writers. The Half Marathon set us on a course of rich mutual support. I have a lot of thoughts about this, about how people are more connected than we appear to be, about how our identities rise up in the spaces between us, about the fact that if Laurel can see me finishing a project in her mind's eye, then I am much more likely to finish it. This is a kind of magic--a kind of invisible human connection that I have been swimming in for a few years now--both with Laurel and with a few other friends. We hold each other in a way that make more possible. Being held like that changes things, it changes us, and I think it changes the world we live in.
So November 18th, Finishing Day, is more about that for me than anything. I'm glad to be at a completion point with a project, but I'm even happier to be in a friendship that holds two women as writers. To be nested in a friendship like that fills me with hope and faith that we will look back some day on these projects as our first projects, the first of many.