It was a difficult pregnancy. Not only was I continually nauseous, but I had back pain. I was sleepless, every night tossing and turning in an effort to find a comfortable position. The baby was pressing on my sciatic nerve, making sitting down or standing up an excruciating process. But I muddled through.
In later stages, I not only had physical discomfort, I also agonized over my fitness as a mother. Could I be an effective parent? Could I rise to the challenge of launching my baby into a fruitful life?
In the days before the delivery, I started looking for someone to help bring my baby into the world. Nobody wanted us. At first, I didn’t worry about it, but as time wore on, I started getting anxious. Doesn’t anybody care, I wondered?
The day I felt the first pangs, it was dreary and gray. And then the skies opened and pelted the streets with rain. Poor, soaked and penniless, I wandered from hospital to hospital seeking refuge, but they all turned me away.
They were full.
Or they were only for certain types of pregnancies.
But mostly it was because they just didn’t like my kind. One hospital almost loosened their regulations for me and I dared to be hopeful, but in the end they lacked the courage.
As the pangs grew urgent, I couldn’t continue looking. I opted for a home birth instead.
Okay, it’s not a perfect analogy. Books aren’t like babies, who find their way down the birth canal no matter where mama is. If a book is rejected, you can let go of your romantic delusions.
But these days, writers don’t have to let manuscripts gather dust in a drawer if a publisher doesn’t wave their wand of approval over them. Today, self-publishing is David to the publishing world’s Goliath.
And you know what happened to David. He killed Goliath, and then became king.
I could have accepted rejection and gone on to another project, hoping I would be a better writer someday, good enough to catch somebody’s eye.
But over time I realized that I was living out the theme of my own novel: validation. We all want it so much in every area and every stage of our lives. It takes courage to ignore that insecure voice, to be objective and follow where the logic leads.
My favourite quote comes from my literary hero, C.S. Lewis. He said, “No man who desires originality will ever be original. But try to tell the truth as you see it, try to do any bit of work as well as it can be done for the work’s sake, and what men call originality will come unsought.”
Like it or lump it, I certainly have tried to tell the truth as I see it. Whether you think I achieved it is up to you, the reader. And so, I am launching my first novel on October 8, 2011 at Cover to Cover Books in Riverview, New Brunswick, from one to three p.m. I hope you’ll come.
I can’t say that I’m overjoyed to have had my baby at home, but we got through the birth unscathed and I think she’s beautiful nonetheless.