I’d stopped checking on the word count a while ago, but when I copied the text into my Word template, the word count showed up in the lower left corner without my meaning to check it. To my surprise, I have written less words about a six day trip than I wrote last year about a four day trip. And yet, I think that this text is stronger. I have taken what I learned in my Creative Nonfiction class and ran with it, trying to remember that my main goal with this book is to tell a story – it just happens to be a true story.

My first reader is giving the text another careful read, and I’m getting set to start adding the pictures and captions. I’ve picked the pictures that I want to include, though some may be added and some removed as I continue on the process. I have only one more workday before the Christmas break, when, in exchange for three mandatory vacation days, I am officially off until the 4th of January. (Unofficially, I have to work on the 2nd, but I knew that was coming.)

And so, there are no more excuses about time. I’m about to have a lot of it. What I need to do is make sure that the lure of streaming television doesn’t tear me away from the work that I love. I know I can finish this if I put the hours in with my butt in the chair, my hands at the keyboard or on the mouse.

When I was looking through the photos to choose the ones I wanted to use in the book, one struck me as being so layered and expansive and beautiful that I exclaimed aloud. The picture was talking to me, and although I didn’t know what it was saying, Ambrose did. It was telling me it should be the cover:

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