The last rush to finish writing a book is much like the mad rush to finish reading one. I have stayed up far too late the past week, writing until my laptop battery died. I don’t recommend my method, nor was it avoidable.

As I edited, I was touched at how many happy memories from disparate parts of my life wove themselves into the tale. An off-handed comment from a member of my women’s club shares space in the book’s heart with a hipster conversation with a baker. You may not be able to tell from reading the book which parts of the story are autobiographical, but I think you will be able to tell what I love.

I came across this photo tonight. My father’s dying sunk me low with sadness. But I was also washed clean with grief. My heart became clear to me, and it showed up in my writing. In the photo, I can see that it was happening, the washing clean, even though grief was gray mud at the time.

I have heard lots of teachers and writers give advice about writing over the years. The only indispensable piece of wisdom is, don’t stop. Take a month off to read a stack of books, maybe, when one grows weary. But don’t stop writing. The discipline matters more than one’s feelings.

What happened with me and with my story was that we healed.