so close I can taste it

Almost, almost, almost. On Monday I'll show you my story map. With almost 350 pages of narrative plus scrapbook elements, song lyrics, biographies, historical photos, and interstitial moments, I've been tearing my hair out, trying to figure out if the placement is balanced, and if each additional element serves the story as well as it can. We're creating something very different -- it's brand-new territory for me and my publisher (and for readers). I finally discovered that I needed a physical map to get me to the end, so I could see the entire novel in front of me.
I'm still using this map, but when I'm done I want to share it with you. Wish I could share the limeade I made to celebrate the almost-end. Do y'all celebrate almost-ends? I think it's important to do this.

I also wanted to reward the guy working in the heat outside with the pickaxe, digging up the ridiculously old, unbelievably massive, mostly-dead azaleas at the front of the house. (Hey there, students and teachers at Mt. Ulla Elementary School near Salisbury, NC!)
We lifted our glasses to celebrate the almost-done -- his and mine. I'm so close I can taste it. I hope getting to the end tastes as sweet as this homemade limeade.
You can find the recipe in Each Little Bird That Sings. It's the iced tea recipe -- make the syrup just the same, and instead of tea bags, add the juice of about fifteen limes, more or less, to taste. We like it tart.

Thanks so much for all the funny, frank, and supportive email after my last post. It was such balm to a novel-weary soul. I'm racing for the done-done this weekend, fueled by encouragement and limeade.