Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

May 28th, 2009:

INC Whew

Well. A few minutes ago I found myself staring at the last line of the last page of the last chapter of Assembly Language Step By Step, Third Edition. I’m sure it’s a feeling a little like that described by some of my friends who took their time getting through college, and one morning at the end of a term found themselves thinking, “Hey! I have enough credit hours now! I can graduate!”

It took so long that I wasn’t quite ready when I realized that it was finally over.

I celebrated by playing the MP3 of David Buskin‘s “Flying Child” and singing along. Loudly. That felt so good that I played Dean Friedman‘s “Ariel” and sang along louder still. Rather than make myself a little too nuts by singing Danny Hutton‘s manic cover of “Funny How Love Can Be” I poured myself a Diet Green River and ate too many Cape Cod Robust Russet potato chips before collapsing in my comfy chair.

Ten minutes later, Carol got back from Crystal Lake after a two-day sojourn wrapping up our trip and (not coincidentally) leaving me free to work here in Des Plaines. That was a piece of timing, but Carol’s good like that. We understand one another in a quantum-entanglement sort of way that is the very best part of loving a woman for forty years.

In truth, I’m not quite finished. Chapter 12 is still first draft and needs a polish pass. I have to write a new introduction and bibliography, and add two pages to the instruction reference. After that, of course, comes proofs and so on, but it’s starting to look like I’ll have real books sometime this fall, probably by November and perhaps as early as October. It ran a little long (187,000 words instead of 175,000) but not long enough to fuss about. It soaked up almost all of my creative time and energy since last December. I learned a lot doing it, and as often as I found myself feeling ragged and annoyed at the scale or the pace of the project, I’m still glad I did it. The book has been in print now for 21 years across three editions (the first from a now-defunct publisher under another title) and could well be in print for another ten or fifteen. It paid off my mortgage. In fact, it’s made me more money than all my other paid writing projects put together, in all of the 35 years that I’ve been writing for money. It’s gotten to be kind of an institution around here, and I’ll rewrite it again if I have to.

But not this week. Please.