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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Proofs Have Arrived

The proofs of my novel were waiting on my doorstep for me when I got home from work last night.

Yes, the proof copies (I goofed up and ordered two rather than one). And here they are, proof that this book exists. It's out of my head and sits between a front and a back cover.

Thing was, I couldn't stop looking at them, touching the cover, flipping through the thing to see this page or that, did the acknowledgements turn out okay and I realized, I felt this way when I gave birth to my children. In particular, I'll compare it to the birth of my first child, Michael.

"The first time's a novelty," a more seasoned mother told me after church one day as we dismounted the church steps. "The second time is a pain in the ass."

Oh. Well, I'm still in the throes of the thrill, thank you.

When I was pregnant, I was filled with such awe that such a thing could be taking place in my body, that a tiny egg could germinate to a living being, that the living being was being nourished and nurtured within my body, growing to fruition to a point when it would emerge, it's own person, separate and apart from me. I wondered so many things. Who will you be? Will I be able to raise you well? Will I protect you, teach you, will I love you enough? Will you have all your fingers and toes, will you be healthy? and at times, when I was overtaken by sheer terror, Can we call this whole thing off?

And then Michael arrived, all eight pounds one ounce of him, and as I held him in my arms I was stunned, filled with an all consuming joy, head over heels, fierce, relentless and never ending. I fell instantly in love.

It's not that different birthing a book. All the steps that led to this point are similar in nourishing, protecting and giving birth to a child. Laying the baby on my chest for the first time reminds me of bringing the germ of an idea to fruition. Reading through my story last night gave me a lot of pleasure. When I finished proofing the same feelings flooded back as when Michael was born. I still love the story. I still love the characters and I'm pleased with how they turned out. And I hope others will be when they read it. My first character, Julie, is not so likable at first but her growth process pleases me more than the other two, I think. I'm proud of her, actually.

How do you feel when your work is published? Do you feel the same, that the process is similar to giving birth to a human child?

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