This is an anecdote from November, I think. I was at a party for a friend, and I saw someone I know, someone who put out a book last year. We started to chat. Out of generalized social anxiety and lack of anything else to say, I asked a question I don't much like to be asked, especially at parties: "So, are you working on another book?"
"Nope," he said, grinning. He bent at the knees and made a sweeping motion, an umpire calling an out. "That's it, I'm done."
I gaped at him, awed. What a perfect answer, and with what glee he delivered it. No, I'm not writing another book. I already wrote a book. Leave me alone, I'm tired.
"That's brilliant," I said. "I'm going to start saying that too. 'Nope, I'm not writing another book. Just reread the two I already wrote.'"
"Exactly," he said. "'You want another book, go write your own.'"
"I know that people mean well when they ask," I demurred. "I meant well when I asked you."
He laughed. "No you didn't."
Well, I thought I meant well. Turns out I don't know what I meant. But I know what he meant. The minute you get something on the shelves, everyone says, "Oh great! Ten or twenty years of your life, concentrated into book form! So, what else you got?" Like, "All right, so you managed to write a book once, twice maybe, but can you do it again, anytime you want, on command? Right away?"
This must be how men feel after sex.
So, inspired by my acquaintance, my new answer to the dreaded question is NO. I'm not working on another book. Unless you mean the book of crossword puzzles next to the toilet. In which case, I'm really close to finishing it. Two, three poops at most. I'll let you know when it's done!