For me, there’s a weird, unfathomable gulf—I almost wrote gulp—between the completion of a novel and its publication. Some days this duration feels interminable, as though the book has voyaged out like some spacecraft on a research mission, populated by forgotten losers like the ones in John Carpenter’s Dark Star, a craft cut loose by those who launched the thing and now grown irretrievable, bent by space and time into something distorted and not worth guiding home. Then there are other days, where the book might be a pitch that’s left your hand too soon, now burning toward home plate, whether to be met by a catcher’s mitt or the sweet part of the bat you can’t possibly know. Hopeless to regret it once you feel it slipping past your fingertips. Just watch. (That’s the gulp.) The weirdness is in that interlude where the book has quit belonging to you but doesn’t belong to anyone else yet, hasn’t been inscribed in all its rightness and wrongness by the scattershot embrace and disdain of the world. It’s a version of Schrödinger’s cat, unchangeably neither dead nor alive in its box.