“…and besides, everyone knows we plant willows for death, not oaks.”

On top of the tensions Phil and I experienced producing Chapter 18, we were having a rough time of it at conventions, too. Sales were fair, but our in-person dynamic was as volatile as our on-telephone-and-internet creative one: long periods of smooth professionalism or low-key bromance punctuated by shorter but intense angry flashes. One particularly nasty blowup left me entertaining doubts, for the first time, about whether we could even finish.

That was enough of a jolt to motivate Phil to make some changes. Instead of being all up in each other’s business, we’d work more independently for a little while (pages 2-13 of this chapter are mine, the others are Phil’s). And since it’s largely about trying to find internal peace in the aftermath of a war, it probably takes some of its emotional energy from the aftermath of our own conflict.