A Memory of Light Status Update Panel - JordanCon, 16 April 2011 - report by Marie CurieEdit
There was a panel on the status of AMOL at JordanCon last weekend. The panelists consisted of Harriet McDougal, Maria Simons, Alan Romanczuk, and of course Brandon who was running late and therefore missed the opening bit. The moderator was Richard Fife, blogger at Tor.com.
So, this is a transcription of the audio file that I recorded. I imagine that Portalstones will post a video of the panel at some point, so I've only included the actual Q&A parts and have left out what I consider to be the extraneous bits.
There are no plot-related questions, but there are questions that touch on how much of AMOL has been written, when it might come out, why the timetable is being slowed down, how not to edit a book, the encyclopedia and a possible timetable for that, what lies in the future for the members of Team Jordan, Brandon's writing style, and so on. There's also a funny story about how Brandon nearly spilled the beans about Asmodean's killer to Tamyrlin before TOM came out. And of course the obligatory question about Bela.
RFife: We've actually heard Brandon's impressions of what he thought of the ending when he first saw it and read it and heard it. But I can't say I've ever really heard anything beyond 'wow' from either of you. So when Robert Jordan was giving you the ending in those last months, what were you thinking about just how he had brought it together, and how the twists were, and general feelings?
Alan: I was speechless. But I don't have many feelings.
Harriet: And I've known the ending for many years, and at the time I first heard it, I said, "Okay, so how're you going to get from here to there?" But that's because I'm an editor, and that's kind of a Darkfriend.
(Brandon walked in at this point.)
Brandon: I was just up doing Matt Hatch's Asmodean interview. Because he's doing a little documentary thing on the whole Asmodean deal. It's going to be very fun. And we were talking about the time where I actually misstepped and mentioned Asmodean's killer to him, and then worked it into a conversation by catching myself. It was really funny. I actually flubbed and said it to him, but I said it and then made it into a sentence that didn't give it away. I did one of those things, because it was after I had written Towers of Midnight and in my head it was already done and out there, but it was still months before it was released. And so, we were having a big conversation about Asmodean's killer and I said, "Well, such and such. . . .", and I'm like, crap, what did I just say? And then I worked it into a sentence, so I was really actually proud of myself at the end of that one.
Alan: But was it like, "Graendal killed Asmodean . . . . with this incredible joke"?
Brandon: No, it wasn't that bad. But we were having a conversation about the theoretical killer, and I actually said, "Well, Graendal . . ." And then stopped for a second, and I said, ". . . is just a . . . bad choice because of this and this." If that makes sense. It was something like that. It was something like that, where I'm like, "Well, Graendal . . . is of course the favored choice," I think is exactly what I said, "but of course there's also these issues with it," or something like that. Anyway, I totally . . . I just about ruined it right then.
Terez: He wouldn't have told anybody.
Brandon: No, Matt probably wouldn’t have told anybody. Oh hey, hi! You are here!
Terez: Hi, Brandon. Of course I'm here.
Brandon: I haven't seen you yet.
Terez: That's because I've been avoiding you.
Brandon: Oh. Well.
Harriet: That explains that.
Terez: I don't play Magic.
RFife: Let's get to the big question here, the title of the panel. The status question: where are we at with A Memory of Light?
Brandon: 2% done.
RFife: How long do you expect it might take to finish?
Brandon: About till the end of the year-ish.
RFife: And, as such, when might we see it on shelves?
Brandon: Some time next year.
Brandon: I can answer some of that a little more in depth. I am anticipating the length of the book to be about the length of The Gathering Storm. I am two-thirds of the way done with the notes with two of the three books, so that's a pretty good indicator. Because of that, I keep a progress bar on my web site, and every three thousand words of rough draft I write, I will increase that progress bar by 1%. Which means that you can know exactly how much is written. And three thousand words… I think in word count because I'm a writer – it's what we start doing – that's for a Wheel of Time book, that's like between half and a third of a chapter because Wheel of Time books have long chapters. It's basically a medium length to longer scene, but not a chapter. And so there are two scenes done. And you can go and you can look at Gathering Storm which is about 300,000 words, and you can guess based on that, 1% of that is 3000 words.
RFife: So we know you're doing the re-read of the series right now, and Twittering about it frantically. But how else are you preparing yourself to write the mother of all conclusions?
Brandon: How am I preparing myself?
RFife: And this actually is for all four of you.
Brandon: I'll go first but I think that others will have some things to say along these lines. I think one of the things we're doing is we're slowing it down a bit. We all got overworked last year, and getting Towers of Midnight out by the date that we had promised and that Tor wanted it has had detrimental effects on our ability to work at the beginning of this year. And so, we are going to slow it down a bit. One of the reasons for this is the re-read, but one of the reasons is we just worked too hard last year. And there are repercussions for doing that, and if we do that again, you're going to end up with a bad book. So, I think that's one of the preparations we're doing. We're building in more time for revision, is really what we're doing.
Harriet: I second that. Brandon is one of the world's fastest writers, but I am not one of the world's fastest editors. Last year was what Jim and I, well what I learned to do for Robert Jordan was curbside edits, kind of drive-by edits, but after a while that has a big cost. And there was no way, looking at the last book, that I could do my part of the work again as fast as I did last year.
RFife: Alan? You have anything?
(Mumbled conversation ensues between Alan and Brandon and something about battles...)
Brandon: All I was going to say is, we're doing a lot of reading, all of us, in historical battles and the history of warfare in order to prime ourselves. I'm not going to tell you what specifically we're reading, but we are doing a lot of research in that area, particularly Alan and I.
(More about preparation for AMOL.)
Alan: Let's see. Well, probably the most significant thing that's happened is we are all working on the same version of Word right now. We had some difficulties in the past.
Maria: Last year we had three.
Alan: Three different versions.
Maria: And it caused some really interesting things.
Brandon: Yeah. What we would do, you can see how much of a pseudo-nightmare this is. So, in order to speed things up last year, and it actually did speed things up despite the chaos, was we went all digital for edits.
Brandon: One of the tricks of working with this is, I basically have five editors, with Harriet at the top, and then there's Maria and Alan right below. And then Moshe my editor is giving us reads.…because we can't use my normal alpha readers for this, which are my writing group, because they'd all have to be part of the NDA and that's just too many people. And so instead we brought on Moshe to just give me an alpha read, a dry alpha read. And then my agent also gives me dry alpha reads, because they all are interested professionals and part of the NDA and things like that.
But basically, even looking only at Harriet, Maria, and Alan, what would happen is on Gathering Storm, I would send in some scenes, and then I would start working on the next ones. And I would get deep into the next ones, and then some papers would come. I'm like, oh revisions. So I'd go back and start doing revision. And then another group of papers would come from another one of them that had revisions that were different. And then another group of papers would come that were a third group of revisions. And in some cases, they've all caught the same typo, but then I have to end up searching for it three times because I can't remember if I've changed that typo or not. And then I can't find it. I'm like, oh I guess that's one I caught, but really sometimes I didn't catch it, I'm just on the wrong page or something. Anyway, I have three sets of paper all from different people making different revisions, and sometimes they disagree with one another on what should be changed, and they're not seeing each other's revisions.
Meanwhile, I'm on tour trying to fly around and carry all of these. You should have seen me on the airplane one of these days where revisions were needed the next day, and I'm flying on a six-hour flight in coach. And I'm cuddled like this between two people in the middle seat, with six hundred pages around me, trying to find all three pages that are editing the same section, and realizing that one's in my suitcase. This was absolutely a nightmare to do.
And so this time, I'm like, let's go all digital, I'll have them all on my computer, it will be so much easier. But Harriet had never done digital revisions before. None of you had, I don't think. And so the idea was we would have one person do a revision, and then they would hand the file off, and that person could go through and a revision and add their comments, and then the next person would be able to do it. And that would have been wonderful in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for that because we were so crunched for time. And so what would happen is they all would be working on their own machine because they all needed to be reading at the same time, they couldn't wait for the other person. And so then they would all three send me documents digitally, which is easier to work with than trying to dig out all fifty pages of each. But at the same time, then I have four documents: my document, and three documents with revisions in it, from different versions of Word or Wordperfect or Open Office or whatever it is. I basically would just send them all to Peter (Peter Ahlstrom, Brandon's assistant) and say, "Peter, meld these somehow."
Maria: Peter was a real hero.
Brandon: Yeah. Peter was the unsung hero in that one because he really went through, he would work for hours and then send me a document back. But this would introduce lots of typos and errors, because the different revisions were different programs and would not stack up. And so we ended up with many more - you may have noticed - many more typos in Towers of Midnight, and it's due directly to this process, where one person would change something, another person would change it slightly differently, and the computer program would get confused. And what you would end up was like a word with an extra letter on it or something like this. And we caught most of them, but it added a lot of extra editing errors for this. We didn't cut corners on the really important stuff in Towers of Midnight, but when push came to shove, getting the extra proofreads, there wasn't time for, which is why there are more errors in Towers of Midnight. It's because we took the time we needed for revision, but we didn't then have any time for proofreads. Peter, you proofread – did you even get the whole book done? You were up till 6 AM several nights proofreading.
Peter: After I told you I was done, I realized that I had skipped three chapters.
RFife: Peter, why don't you stand up and just wave, so everyone can see you?
Harriet: Peter deserves kudos.
Harriet: I would like to say, at the beginning of the editing process on the last book, Brandon was 7 feet, 3 inches tall.
WSB: Is the prologue going to be a real prologue that's kind of split off between the first two prologues?
Brandon: Can you define split off from the first two prologues?
WSB: Well, the second one was a true prologue, even though it was part of three books that were originally going to be one book?
Brandon: The prologue will be like the other two. In fact, we even still have several scenes that Robert Jordan worked on for the prologue, just like we've had in the previous ones. We've mentioned the bulk of the actual writing he did was on the ending and on the prologue, and I have been able to fit several scenes from what he did in each of the prologues, and there's still some of that for this one.
Q: There's a lot of plot lines. Well, the pace of the books have changed a lot, immensely, from Eye of the World all the way to what’s going to come out in A Memory of Light. What are we going to expect in A Memory of Light? I know there's a lot of loose ends to tie up before it all finishes up. Are we going to expect it to be something very hectic? Is it going to be action packed the entire time, or is it going to be something less paced (?)?
Brandon: I'm gonna RAFO that. Because that's talking too much about the core soul of what the book is. And honestly, you're going to have to decide that. I'm going to have to see what people think of it after I write it, if that makes sense. I don't think I can armchair decide if people are going to feel that this is . . . how people are going to feel this is. It's going to be a good book, and it will feel slightly different from Gathering Storm and slightly different from Towers of Midnight, just like each book in the series has felt slightly different than those before them.
There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, though Robert Jordan has in his notes specifically several to not tie up. He says, 'this does not get resolved'. And so those will not be resolved. He wanted the world to keep on living and breathing even after the series was done. We are tying up pretty much everything that he did not tell us not to tie up, if my double negative worked there. And so the pace is going to be fairly quick-paced is basically what I can say, but I don't want to say anything more than that.
RFife: Getting a little bit more back to the preparation thing, how are you handling the stress of you are now finishing the Wheel, it's not even another installment, this is Tarmon Gai'don. Is this any additional stress you're feeling, trying to deal with?
Brandon: Robert Jordan wrote the ending, so that removes the greater bulk, I think, of that. There's stress to working on all of these, but I wouldn't say that this one has more stress than the others because my job has always been to get you to his ending without screwing it up. That's my job.
Harriet: And you're doing it. Beautifully.
Brandon: But, you know, in my mind these basically still are really one book, still. And when I write a book, I divide it up into sections in my head, anyway. Right now, I'm not even writing that. Right now I'm writing the prologue. And that section will get done, and I'll write the next section, and the next section. And then I'll get to the section that Robert Jordan did himself, and I can put that in, and that's the ending. If I didn't have that, this would be twenty times more stressful. I don't know if it would be possible as a project if we didn't have that.
RFife: That's good to hear. Alan, Maria, do you have anything, stress levels or anything that you're noticing, unique to dealing with the end right now?
Maria: Well, after all the typos and stuff in Towers, I'm really feeling compelled to do my darndest to have the next one be lots cleaner.
Brandon: Though we will say, we can mention that there were a large number of beta readers from the Wheel of Time community, that we can now make share our blame, because they missed them all, too.
Maria: Oh, and I found one that - we had it absolutely perfect going in to Tor, but somehow a word just vanished into the ether.
Audience: Retire the RAFO cap.
Maria: It will be retired, but not yet.
Terez: You'll still have to think, those things that aren't supposed to be revealed that you know.
Brandon: Yeah, there'll be the things that aren't supposed to be revealed. And those will have to be kept close to your heart.
Maria: That's not a problem. No, I can't RAFO, but it'll be okay - just, 'no comment'. I've been practicing that one.
Leigh Butler: What do think you’re going to feel like once it is actually done and out and over? Is it just going to relief? Do you think you're going to be kind of sad? Collapse in a puddle on the floor?
Brandon: All of the above. It's going to be a major relief; there will be a sadness to it. There will be definitely a sadness, though having read the ending already, that sadness began for me in 2007, because the series is already finished for me. The work isn't done, but the series is finished. And so that melancholy, it won't come to a crux until that book is finally out. But I think the others might, you know they've been working on this much longer than I have, so they may have something different to say.
Alan: Yeah, it's been a long ride. It's going to be wonderful to have it finished; it's going to be sad that it will be finished. It won't be totally finished for Harriet, Maria, and myself because we'll be producing the encyclopedia, which will come out approximately a year after this book hits the bookshelves. This is the longest I've ever held a job. And you know, it hasn't felt like a job. I always say that my life is primarily fantasy, if you include very vivid dreams, the food I eat, what I do after dinner, there's very little reality left in my world. So I'm curious to see how that's going to change when this is all over. But yeah, it's been a great ride.
Maria: It's been a very good ride. And it'll be good to have it finished in some ways, and it will be sad. I've been doing this fifteen years now, and it's going to be different. But, I am looking forward to being able to actually really talk about the Wheel of Time without having to think really hard about every word I say.
Q: Can you describe at this point - I hope this doesn't jump too much into spoiler territory – can you describe how you're approaching the tone of this book? I know The Gathering Storm, from the first page of The Gathering Storm, I thought, wow, this is grim. And as it goes and it goes, and as Rand goes and goes, this book goes to a dark place. And then, in Towers, from almost the first chapter, you're like, oh wow, this is a very different experience we've got, with Rand coming back down. But even the whole book just felt different. Can you describe at a top level how the tone of this next book is going to feel? Is it going to be grim? Is it going to be one of happy victory? (laughter) That's not really where I'm going. What I'm really going for, is just from the notion of as the book is going, how does the tone go?
Brandon: This is much like the other question I wasn't sure I wanted to get into, just because it's too early to be talking about that. And so I really think I'll just leave this one alone. It's a good question to ask and be thinking of, and I do do these things consciously, but I don't think it's time to talk about it yet.
Q: It may be a little early to ask about the encyclopedia, but at last year's Dragon*Con in closing panels, you all talked about it, you all gathered audience participation. Any comments on what the progress or what you all are looking at doing with this, as far as back history maps and whatnot?
Alan: Yeah, you know, we're progressing on it. We've decided on a format. We've decided on a lot of the things it's going to contain. It will be alphabetical. It will be very accessible. It will have a lot of things in it that you won't find anywhere else, including some of Jim's notes or selections from his notes. Because there's a lot that, not a lot, but there'll be some that is not possible to tell in the books, and Jim never intended to be in the books, but for his own knowledge of the characters and situations, he felt important to put down in writing. It could be a very large volume.
Harriet: I think it will be. By its nature, actually, Alan, you said it would be out a year after the last book. We have a year after the last book is finished to finish the encyclopedia, for obvious reasons. You can't have an encyclopedia of the series without including all the stuff that should be in there from the final book. So it will probably be a year after delivery of the manuscript before we deliver that manuscript. It will be a little longer.
Q: Are you going to put in things like copies of Aludra's plans for the Dragons, or maybe a copy of Mat's letter to Elayne? Or even Moiraine's letter to Thom, all folded up and tear-stained?
Harriet: Well, those are very interesting suggestions.
Q: This is for Brandon. You're one of the most ambitious authors I've read. You're working on finishing up the Wheel of Time series and your own ten-book epic, not to mention another Mistborn trilogy. How do you deal with writing that much book?
Brandon: That's a good question. Every writer has their own process, and understanding my process may help you understand how I work. I kind of have different levels of projects in my head. I have the big epics, the big super epics that I work on for a long time and take a lot of brain space, but also take a lot of digestion. They don't just pop out. They take years to get right. Gathering Storm took about 18 months to do. It didn't seem that way because I was ahead on some of my other projects, but that's what it took. And Way of Kings, you know, I finished the first draft in 2002. You got something like the 15th or 16th draft in 2010. And so these books take a lot of brain space, but just take time. It's hard to work on multiples of that at the same time. Doing the first Stormlight book was possible because I had finished the first draft in 2002. It is not possible for me to do the second one while working on another big epic. I can only really do one book of that scope at a time, which is why you aren't going to be seeing Stormlight 2 until Wheel of Time is done, just because I can't physically and mentally do that.
But I have different projects that work on different sort of brain space levels. I need to take breaks from the big epics some time, to just do something different and refresh myself. And I've talked about this on my blog; it's how I work. And usually these are quick projects that I give myself a few weeks or a month to work on in between big epics. My children's books, the Alcatraz books, were these during the Mistborn triology stage. I would stop and I would write one of these to really just cleanse the palate, to do something different. And I usually don't do a lot of outlining for these books. I write them off the cuff. I’ve talked about the difference between architect writers and gardener writers. Gardeners kind of just start with something and see where it goes. Neil Gaiman describes it as jumping out of an airplane with a ball of yarn and trying to knit a parachute by the time you hit. Robert Jordan was more of a gardener writer in all of his books, from what I've been able to determine. I usually architect, which means I plan extensively, but I do gardener books in between. Then I just see where it goes, and some of the times these books turn out horrible, and so I don't do anything with them, and sometimes they turn out great. But it doesn't really matter to me if they turn out great or horrible, because the purpose of them is to refresh myself so that I can then get back to the big epic.
And so when you see these side projects coming out, it's when one of these turns out really well and I decide to publish it. For instance, the new Mistborn book. The new Mistborn book is not part of the Mistborn epic. The new Mistborn book is a side project where I said, well you know, I'm not going to be able to return to this world for the next . . . I'm doing three trilogies of Mistborn books eventually. I've done one, I'll do a second, this book that's coming out is not one of those. This is a side project, kind of a short tale. It's more of a New Spring type thing, something where I'm like this is a cool story I want to tell. And I wrote it, and I still hope it's fun and exciting and people love it. But the purpose of this book, it's really a single narrative, one plot line. It has a couple viewpoint characters, but they're all together doing the same thing. And it's kind of a mystery set in an industrial age in Mistborn, the Mistborn world during the industrial age. This is the sort of thing that I can take one month off and write. I can't take one month off and write another Stormlight book. So, what you're looking at, how do I balance all these things? Well, what you're seeing is, you're seeing my vacation time. When I take a vacation for a few months, I work on something completely different to change, just to shake it up. And sometimes those turn out well and those get published, and so it looks like I'm producing differently than I am. Really, all these books are my babies, I love them, I hope that you all like them, but some are the big epics and some are the side projects. The Mistborn 4 book is a side project.
Emma: Actually, I have a question about the cover of A Memory of Light. I vaguely remember, unless I'm totally wrong, that Darrell K. Sweet already started on it, or am I totally wrong?
Brandon: We've seen initials on it. So it is in process.
RFife: We know what Brandon's obviously going to do once the Wheel's done. How about the rest of you? Do you have any plans or ideas for what's going to happen once the encyclopedia is finished?
Maria: Well, I'm working on comics and we're just very early still in Eye of the World, so if that goes on and on I guess I will actually still be doing Wheel of Time, just a different medium.
Alan: I've been looking into greeting at Walmart.
Harriet: Well, I've been thinking, what would it really be like to be retired? Maybe I'll join you at Walmart.
Q: We've heard that, more likely than not, we're not going to see the outrigger novels that Jim had planned to write for various reasons, but will we ever find out at least some of the big story plots for that so we have an idea of where the Wheel goes in the future? Are we going to get any info on that?
Harriet: I think that's a RAFO.
Jennifer: Would some of the material from the two prequel novels that Jim planned ever appear in the encyclopedia? Like, would the information like Tam's backstory be in the encyclopedia?
Harriet: Possible. We'll see.
Jason: For Brandon, you've had the opportunity now to write two books completely and then some. And at first, initially I know that a lot of the emphasis was on you trying to get the voices right, mimic the voice of Mat and Nynaeve and everyone else. Now that you've had some time with these characters and progressed them through a lot of their major turning points, do you see yourself suddenly having to direct their new motives and direct their new voices? In other words, how much of the Nynaeve and the Mat and the Rand in A Memory of Light is coming from you rather than what we had left off at the end of Knife of Dreams?
Brandon: That's a very writerly question. This is from a writer himself. [Brandon asks if question needs repeating.] Jason's just wondering, since the characters have now changed through Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, when I'm now writing them, how much do I rely on who they were in the previous books and how much do I rely on who they are now? This is actually a very good question, probably a better question than most of you know. It comes at it from a writer's perspective, because this is something I consciously have had to think about. Because as I was writing Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight, characters need a character progression. And I actually had to make the decision early on, if I'm actually going to progress these characters, they're going to have to evolve from being what they were. And that was scary to me, because who they were are who Robert Jordan meant them to be, and yet he would have evolved them. And if we didn't evolve them and they remained static, then it would've felt wrong. It would have been safer, but it would have felt wrong. The books would not have been slam dunks because Robert Jordan had them on arcs and they would have suddenly flatlined. And as a writer when I was working, I realized that this was going to have to happen.
And I'm not even sure if I can answer how I'm approaching it because it's such a complex swirl of things in my head. Part of it is, a person will change but their voice doesn't change dramatically. Their voice remains the same but their maturity and their experiences change, and so maybe how they react to something may change, but who they are at their core doesn’t. I can still read the previous Wheel of Times and get their voice in mind, but I now have to incorporate for some of them major changes and moments that have happened in their lives. Fortunately, I have a large base of material to work from, and these characters have been in different emotional states at different times. It's like you can build . . . they're on a gradual swing of an arc, but everybody's more like this because that's how characters are. You're up one moment, down the next, up, down, and hopefully you're going on this nice character arc where you've got basic overarching growth. But, at the same time, you're going to be dipping sometimes, and regressing sometimes, and sometimes you're going to be on highs. And so I can look at the characters at their highs to see what has now become the baseline, so to speak, and I can look at them as sometimes who they were for the troughs. Everybody is in a lot of different places a lot of different times. That's part of it. But part of it is I really feel that I know the soul of these characters now. Growing up reading them, then working on them as a writer. . . I've said this before, I am much more of a gardener when it comes to character. I don't plan my characters nearly as much because I don't know who a character is till I write through their eyes, till I write through their viewpoint and see through their eyes and see who they are, and at that point I can't describe to people, I just know them. It's an instinctive thing. For me with a plot, I can construct a plot and tell you exactly how I'm constructing a plot, and how I'm building in climaxes, and how I'm building in foreshadowing, and all of this stuff. I can talk about worldbuilding. But when it comes to characters, it's that glimmer, that glowing piece that is their soul, that I can't describe but I just know when I see it. And that's what I rely upon.
Q: With reference to that last question, what about Bela?
Brandon: I think I've got a pretty good handle on the Dark One, don't you think?
RFife: General question, all of you can chime in on, but it's probably most impactful to Brandon here. To harp on my own themes - the Wheel changes lives. I think a lot of us have had our lives changed. How has writing it changed yours?
Brandon: Well, I can give you a show versus a tell. If you read Warbreaker and then Way of Kings, you can see directly the impact it's had on me as a writer, and that's more something that you as reader response and critics can pick out probably better than I can. That's one way to say it. I mean, it's also had a lot of philosophical effects on me. What I just talked about, I've had to grow as a writer. I've talked about this. I had to grow a whole lot in that time I was working on Gathering Storm, and it was a very difficult process. But like lifting weights, a difficult process, hopefully, you either break beneath it or you grow. I think that it has forced me to grow a lot. But then there's the philosophical sorts of things. I picked up the first book when I was fourteen. And now working on it, I learned to write by reading the Wheel of Time books, and I've talked about that before. And, you know, there is something deeply humbling about being able to give something back to Robert Jordan, that I get to do that no one else does. Does that make sense? I get to return something. These books are me saying, wow, the wise master has grown a little frail, and I get to help him across the road. Or that sort of thing, listening to the master's wisdom as he leans on my shoulder a little bit in the last years. And there's no greater honor that someone can have than that honor right there. It's changed my life like it will probably never change anyone else's life. But everyone's individual, everyone's had their lives changed in a different way, but I've got something very special and I'm very very grateful for that, and it's been a humbling experience.
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