OMG. Each book is different, but there has never been a book like this one, with such a crazy-quilt of patches making one beautiful whole. Fiction -- a novel -- with creative non-fiction interlaced in just the right places. Seven scrapbook sections, four opinionated biographies, I don't know how many song lyrics and photographs -- I am bracing for the permissions nightmare to come.

But you know what? It's done. This full, complete, utterly beautiful novel is DONE. And, as of 2:17pm EST, it is e-thunked, off to editor David Levithan, with an email saying that the accompanying letter is coming by pony express later. I am too whacked out for anything else at this point.

Pete (Seeger) and I waltzed until midnight. Done! I said. Not so. I found a knot as I read through. I stayed up until 5 this morning trying to fix it, but it became knottier the more I worked with it -- so I went to bed, convinced that I was just cross-eyed with fatigue. Got up at 7am to finish it and saw that it was more than fatigue -- it was a structural flaw with the chapter.

Who would have thought that a small comment, comment 400 in chapter 29:

Can you describe what they are wearing? I'd love to give the reader a little more of an image --

would cause me such grief at the 11th hour? It did. But now it's done.

Thanks so much for all the email yesterday -- it was such a boon. I first started this novel in 1995 as a picture book. At some point I'll tell you the saga. But today is for acknowledging finishing. It hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe it will soon. So let me say it again. I finished. I thunked. I did. The novel is done.

The novel is done!