Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hello Fairhaven!

My sister is an art teacher at Fairhaven Middle School in Bellingham, Washington. Yesterday—the one day I didn’t write about writing and instead posted a gruesome photo of a newborn—she fired off this email, “I sent your blog address out to all my colleagues yesterday and told them they could contact you regarding questions about writing. Maybe you want to crop the bloody cord from Hanky's baby picture and repost it. Just a thought...”

So, hey, Fairhaven teachers and students, sorry if you came to check out a writing blog and got an eyeful of vernix caseosa instead! I did crop the photo to be more tasteful, but instead of taking it down I’ll explain the connection: publishing = childbirth.

It’s true! One of the big cliché things writers always say is that their manuscript is like their baby. First it’s just an idea, then it grows inside you, gestating, feeding off your lifeblood. When it’s born and you let other people see it, there’s the same sense of fragility. You are terrified that others will not think it’s as beautiful as you do. You understand why that little wrinkle in the chin is cute, but does anyone else? There’s a complete lack of objectivity that mothers and writers share; it’s hard to step back and take a fresh look at your child or your writing because you are always filtering what you see through your eyes as the creator.

I don’t think writers are more sensitive than other people, I just think what we do for a living is more deeply connected to us. Having your book criticized hurts no lees than having your child teased...and is there anything better than having your baby lauded by all? It's a whole new level of pride.

1 comment:

Disco Mermaids said...

Totally, man. Though I've never had a baby, I think you so nailed it. Although, I do feel the same way about my that weird?

Somebody told me recently that my very playful, independent-minded dog desperately needed some discipline training. I imagine it's the same as somebody telling me I'm a bad mother and my manuscript is dreadful.