Believe it or not, but I have finished my book. The book that I started exactly three months ago, on January 2. If you don't believe me and say that nobody can write a book in three months, let me remind you that “writing” as in putting words on screen is just the top of the iceberg. In fact it has taken me four years. True, I have done other things in between (another book, for instance), but from the first note to the finished manuscript today – about four years of reading and thinking and more reading and more thinking and more thinking...
Now that I've done it, I am confident that I will never again want to write another book. To begin with, I don't have to. The imminent university assessment will be the last in my professional career. If I never write another line, nobody will notice. I don't need more books for my merits; I think my vanity is satisfied... No, seriously, I think I have written enough for a lifetime, and there are so many brilliant young scholars around.
Writing this book, I have noticed how difficult writing has become. It used to be easy, painless, joyful. Well, of course there were moments when it felt horrible and hopeless, but on the whole it was a pleasurable pastime. Now my mind is wandering away; I lose track of my own thoughts; I get tired quickly. Go on, tell me the truth: you are old! Yes, thank you, I know. And when you are old you don't run marathons, you don't climb Everests, you don't cross deserts – you adjust your aspirations to your age. So I won't write more books. I may write an article some time in the future. But only if I can think of something really important to share.
So you may ask, am I retiring? Am I withdrawing from academic life altogether? Not at all. I am looking forward to spending the rest of my professional life doing something I like best of all: walking in the groves of academe, surrounded by my disciples.