I am in a writers group called The Prompt Club. We meet once a month and read our pieces, thousand word stories all based on the same prompt. The prompt this month is to “Write about the birth of something.”
I have been thinking a lot about “birth” lately. How convenient then that this week’s letter for the ABC Blog Challenge http://inprintwriters.com/2013/01/12/the-abc-blog-post-challenge/ is B.
The obvious choice for writing about birth would be the delivery of each of my children. But, honestly—and don’t hate me for this—that blog would be about four sentences long.
- I went into labor with Nicole five days after her due date at 10 pm while Dave and I were playing Scrabble.
- We drove from DeKalb to Rockford in the middle of the night, at the end of November, in a car that Dave had been paid fifty dollars to remove from the previous owner’s premises.
- After a series of contractions that never regulated, Nicole arrived at about 1:20 am—before the doctor.
Well, look at that- three sentences!
That leaves room for me to write about the birth of Matthew*:
- After returning to Batavia at 3 am from a Jonathan Richman concert in Champaign, IL, I went into labor three weeks before my due date, at about 5 am.
- Now, because I was so early, I resisted going to the hospital. By 9 am my mother in law was like, you’d better go… Go… GO!
- My son was born at 9:35 am in Geneva, arriving, like his sister, before the doctor.
*We brought him home Matthew David, but I cried for three days, I…don’t…want…a…Matthew… so, I’m pretty sure his name is Zachary. Unfortunately, there can only ever be doubt when you consider that I left it up to his 24-year-old father—a man—to have the paperwork legally changed.
I have been very dedicated to my writing schedule so far this year (week three, aight!) and all this birth consideration has confirmed my belief that novels are very much like children. It’s not a new revelation; I think all creators believe their creations to be their offspring in some form or fashion. But as I sit at the keyboard, typing away, I am constantly blown away by what emerges. Stories, like children, are full of surprises! And like parenting, it’s exciting to see your creation emerge with its own identity. There’s no getting away from the hand of the author, my influence is on every page, but that doesn’t mean those pages don’t reflect things greater than me. Just like my kids.
Let us not discount the pain of the birthing process. Yeah, yeah, my total labor time was less than ten hours, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt! And for all of you non-writers out there, do not for one minute think that writing– birthing a novel– is painless. Of course anything worth creating is worth the investment– the blood, sweat and tears.
I am happy to be birthing my mid-life crisis “baby.” Fingers crossed it will be fully formed by mid-April, give or take a week or three. Who knows, there may be name changes this time, too.
As for my Prompt assignment, well, suffice it to say, I write fiction so there will be no thousand word retelling of my deliveries (I think I’ve already proved that goal unattainable!). There are so many other things in this world, and outside it, which can be “birthed,” I look forward to letting my imagination do the procreating, labor and delivery.