I just finished the first draft of another book — 49,200 words. My wife just gave birth three weeks ago to my son, Grace Lyndon. I remember sitting in a church, eating cookies after the service, and my wife looked at me, horror in her eyes. “I’m bleeding,” she mouthed. “You sure?” I asked. She held up both hands. They were covered in blood.
Pregnant women shouldn’t be bleeding. It was a scary event, filled with lots of unknown factors. What was happening to my wife? Would I lose her? Would I lose the baby? Would I lose my wife and the baby?
The church called an ambulance and my wife was rushed to emergency delivery. Later that night, Grace Lyndon was born. When the doctors gave him to my wife she cried, wept. She didn’t do that for our first child. Different emotions, different feelings.
I stayed back from the hospital bed. The nurse asked me if I wanted to see my son. “They’re both okay,” I said, watching my wife cry and hold Grace. “I’m fine. I’m fine.” And the nurses let me be. Let me watch. My wife was safe, my son was safe, I didn’t want anything else.
That is how if feels at times to finish a book. It comes with a rush of blood. It comes with agonizing labour, and doubts that you won’t have the strength to push this book out. Oh, labor stars easy enough. You are laughing, walking around, the pain of the birth not yet upon you. But then comes the muddy middle, and the book is trying to come out. You write through the pain. You allow your heart to open and open and open and open, and with each contraction, each word the story opens wider and wider. Yet, the more you open up, the more you crave for the pain to stop. You keep writing.
And then comes the time to push. You know that you are through the worst of it, and suddenly thousands of words and ideas hit you like a truck, and you start writing furiously. You know the story is going to end. This book is going to come. And so you write, and write and write, and push and push and push until…. The book is out. And there it is, whole and complete in front of you. And you could hold it. And when you are done. You sometimes cry. I hope you cry. For YOU should be in your work. YOU should be in that book. And in all the mess of birth, you still want to hold your baby and press it to your heart and weep. “You are alive. You are alive.”
My book is done. I’m raising another book right now. It’s in adolescence, awkward but it has lots of potential. Now, I just hope I don’t get pregnant with another book. Well not yet. I need to spend times with the books I have right now.