How, you may ask, is book writing related to labour induction?
It’s not unheard of to compare the creative process to the birthing process.
But what if the baby staunchly refuses to show his wrinkled little face to the world?
What does the mother-to-be do then?
If you’ve ever carried a baby in your womb to full term (or beyond), there likely came a time when you freaked your ever-loving shit and spazzed through frustrated tears, “get this motherfucker out of me!”
I have been in such a position. Twice.
My daughter arrived after forty two weeks of pregnancy. My son was four days past his estimated due date.
**I fully admit that there are those of you out there who were serene goddesses of procreation until the last. We are different, you and I**
At this point (actually, let’s be honest, sometime around 39 weeks) it becomes time to take matters into your own, puffy hands, lest you be subject to a Prostaglandin Vaginal Suppository like I was when my daughter was born.
The suppository itself isn’t particularly unpleasant.
At this point in my pregnancy, there was probably a disco ball in my vagina for all the parties it had thrown for various medical professionals.
To have small talk with a gloved individual standing elbow deep in me wasn’t especially unsettling at the time.
The problem (for me) with being medically induced was the subsequently excruciatingly painful labour, delivery, and recovery.
By the time my son came along, I was ready to try LITERALLY anything other than medical induction.
When I reached my “get this motherfucker out of me” moment with my son, I tried:
- eating the hottest curry imaginable
- taking evening primrose oil (orally and vaginally) several times per day
- taking a drive on a bumpy road (I live in Cranbrook. They are readily available)
- a witch’s brew prepared by my midwife
All of this, to little noticeable effect.
Turns out, my kids show up when they feel like it (also, not much has changed with them in the intervening years).
So, what does this have to do with art?
I have been sitting here all morning, AGONIZING about what to write my book about and how to write it and how many times I’ve started and given up and how many times I’ve finished writing a book, only to let it fester in a folder on my hard drive because it doesn’t say what I want it to say in the way that I want to say it.
I have been TORTURING myself.
I thought of the grand proclamation that I made this time, last year.
And then I thought of trying to coerce my babies into the world with lemon verbina and castor oil.
And how it didn’t really work. It only gave me the illusion of having some control over a process which begs to be turned over to nature.
And I thought about forcing my daughter out of my womb with artificial hormones.
And how violent and painful that ended up being for me.
And I thought…maybe creating a piece of art is similar to creating a human (bear with me).
Maybe books just don’t come before they’re ready. And if you try to force them to show up before their time, they make you crazy and cause you pain.
Maybe the best we can do is prepare the nursery and pack the hospital bag and get as ready as we can get so that when the book (or whatever your creative project is) is ready to be born, we (the artist) is as prepared as any new parent can possibly be.
Or maybe this whole analogy is just another way of procrastinating…
HELP! How do you start? What’s your secret? How do you keep going when continuing sucks? What does the creative process feel like for you?