Even after all this time, finishing a book is like coming out of some much more physical process. Hands and shoulders stiff but not from typing. Not even, really, from anxiety, but from being up to the neck of your brain in it. It seems to get worse as you get older. The last three months I looked haggard in the mirror. It was the look the Netflix make-up artist devises for the leading meth-head. For three months you emerge at five in the afternoon with eyes dull from staring at the other world and bump into stuff or murder people, for instance because they say the wrong thing. During that period you definitely were not here, wherever here is. Actually I prefer to be in that state tho’ it is grim, because it is a condition like illness or when you thought you were at death’s door or some kinds of climbing on your own, a state in which every exterior pressure that insisted you do the thing can now fuck off because you are really doing the thing and all the pressures and rewards are interior. You are in it and there is no way–this side of falling downstairs–that you are coming out. Not without the book. And then people better be careful how they greet the returning traveller in the wreckage of the unwisely modified vehicle, with his 1960s underground comic book eyes both bruised and startled. Also still quite desperate as if some internal clanking noise hasn’t yet abated, some internal picture hasn’t yet faded, etc etc etc. Then all the difficulty of making an exit from that end of things and walking away because you have to be someone quite different to do the next part of the job.