Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The moment of truth

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I'm sitting here with the latest addition to my novelular family, A Case of You sitting proudly on the desk next to me. This is the moment that I always look forward to with the greatest anticipation -- and also the most dread. Up until now, I'm aware that the book isn't final, nothing is completely written in stone. I can completely change the book if I want. That perfect phrase that just hit me can still be inserted. That badly phrased sentence can be fixed. (Actually, this isn't quite true. The creative process is over the moment the printer hits the "ON" switch.)

I'm one of those writers who will fiddle till the last. My wife once teased me that I'd be there with a chisel and hammer, changing the printing plates as the book is on press if given half a chance.

Part of this comes with being a musician, I suppose. We're never satisfied with anything. There's always that niggling little mistake that bites you on the butt when you're not expecting it. I can count on the fingers of one hand the perfect performances I've given over the years -- and two of them were "Mary had a Little Lamb".

So my novel is sitting here and I find myself wondering, "What will be wrong with this one?" Hopefully, there will only be little mistakes: a missing period or a "the" with an extra space to the right of it. I almost had a dreadful mistake in the book, one that my writing friends would have ribbed me about for the rest of my life. But thank heavens I caught it before anyone could see it: "He was a wiry guy with a big nose named Barry." Wait a minute... I've just written it on the Internet. Now everyone will see it!

Excuse me a moment. The phone is ringing...

Depression has set in.

That was Paul Delong (he's the drummer on the book's title page and an old friend). I gave him a copy yesterday and he just sat down to read it -- and found a typo on Page 8. I used the word "to" when it should have been "too". God! Page 8 and already I'm dying.

My wife is here stroking my cheek while telling me that everything will be all right. I'd be pulling out my hair if not for her. Wait. I'm bald! I have no hair.

My depression deepens...

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Rick Blechta

Rick Blechta is the author of the novels Knock On Wood, The Lark Ascending, Shooting Straight in the Dark, Cemetery of the Nameless, and When Hell Freezes Over. A Case of You, his latest novel, will be published in the spring of 2008 with Rendezvous Press.

Go to Rick Blechta’s Author Page