On December 31, I sat down to begin a narrow-focus memoir covering 2009-2012. My editor told me I had a 6-9 month window, and I felt like I was ready to begin. So many of those memories had been radioactive for so long that I couldn’t go near them—but finally, time and place had formed so that I was safe enough to try.

It was like removing the keystone from a Roman arch. There was no gentle mining of memories; once I removed the key, the entire building came down, and I couldn’t stop it, I could only make myself the doorway through which it all flowed. In just under 35 days, I wrote nearly 67,000 words. This morning, I submitted the epilogue to my editor.

The feeling of being washed-out and exhausted permeates me. At the same time, I feel sanctified, as though there were forces unseen moving through my hands I was little more than the conduit, and the emptiness contains a sense of being whole again.

I do not know what comes next, but I need an Excedrin, and I need to check on my family, because I have been time traveling for a month and I miss them. Mama’s back.

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