And Just Like That…

The day I emailed Osborne/McGraw-Hill the final copy of Dungeons and Dreamers, the book my writing partner John Borland and I wrote in 2003, I burst into tears.

I remember everything about that moment. I wandered out of my room, down the hallway, and into the kitchen where my friend Dana was painting. I didn’t say anything. She looked at me, and asked if I was okay. I replied by crying, and walking back to my room.

Tonight, I’m in the same room, at the same desk where I sat 8 years ago finishing my first book. This time, though, I have put the finishing touches on The Invictus Writers’ EPUB book, the last format in which we’ll publish this collection. I did not cry (I had a peanut butter sandwich).

I still feel a sense of emptiness though.

The end of a project is always hard. You labor, and sweat, and curse, and labor some more with the expectation that your work will pay off. Then it does, and you are left to wonder what it all meant now that the daily struggle is passed.

I teach my students that writing, as in life, is about the process. It is about the struggle. It is about how you face the adversity of the day-to-day problems that arise. That is what being an artist means. That is what being a writer means.

We write. We live. We embrace the process.

Until that process is done. And it always ends in the exact same way: just like that. No matter how much time you have to prepare, the endings of anything come quickly. Leaving nothing but the memories.

All we are left to do then is look forward.

For all but one, The Invictus Writers will not step foot on the Ball State University campus this year. They have started their journey into the world, begun a new life process. For David C. Ake, he will return for one last semester, wrangling the next batch of Invictus Writers before he too leaves.

There is a very good chance they will never see each other again. Certainly they will likely not all gather in one place again. Life, the process, and its tides pull us all in different directions as we move forward.

But the product of our process – If I Leave Here Tomorrow – will always be a reminder, a placeholder for us, of what we did together. And for that reason, sometimes the product is as important as the process. It’s good to look back, to reminisce, and to let your mind wander to far away places and distant times.

It reminds us that we were here. That we lived. That we embraced the process through to the very end.

It reminds us that we are the master of our fate and the captain of our soul.

Aloha, Invictus Writers.

You were here!