Thursday, November 13, 2014
Giving Birth and Watching your Baby Grow
Writing is a lot like pregnancy and giving birth then watching your child grow.
If you are a parent, you can probably remember when, the time of waiting for the “idea” to get big enough to become actual reality, then after months of carrying the precious little bundle around, watching that first turn from tummy to back, finally sitting without needing a cushion behind the back, learning to crawl with a distinctive move— then your baby took the first step. Granted, it was probably a wobbly, uncertain move from one adult hand to the other, or from one chair to the other. It may have ended with a sudden plop to the floor, but eventually the child learned the freedom and those first days of the new way to get around, was spent walking and walking and walking. You as a parent marveled the independence you saw develop right before your eyes.
Years ago, after having been accused that I remembered too many negative things from my childhood, I began recording my early memories.
Those incidents others thought of as negative, I saw only as difficult times when I learned one of life’s lessons, so I recorded those as well. I kept adding to the account as new things came to mind.
When I finally acquired a computer, I transferred those memories into a file. Now, adding incidents into the proper time-line became easier. After thirty or so years of this sporadic activity, my children began to urge me to flesh out the narrative with more detail and personal sentiment and make it into a book they could keep and enjoy.
Working on one chapter of my life coincided with my turn to read a piece of writing at our local writer’s group, so I decided to share it with them. Many of them expressed delight with the story and their desire to hear more. When I told them this book was for my family, they insisted that a wider audience would appreciate it.
Suddenly my “baby” took on a different demeanor. I gave it a name, nurtured it along, carrying it with me wherever I went. I fed it with more information, with greater emotion and honest feeling—recognizing truths I hadn’t clearly seen before. I watched as it began to “sit,” on its own merits. The turn-overs and crawling moves happened when I shared small bits in short articles or in my speaking engagements and continued sharing with my writer's group.
A few weeks ago, it took its wobbly first steps to the welcoming hand of an editor. When it gets daring enough to come back to me, I shall do what I can to send on its way to the publisher, my life story, Out of the Ordinary.
Like a mother with her child, I will have some trepidation, wondering if there will be falls and scrapes, but also as a good mother, I will attempt to free it to be who it was meant to be, and hope that it will touch other’s lives with joy, with greater understanding of themselves and with courage to share their own life stories and leaning.
Those are the chances you take when you’re a mother—or a writer.
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