Books are like babies. Hard to wait for, lots of work, and you can only hope it’s not ugly.
All the growing, planning, waiting. All the long hours and late nights. All the early excitement, then the “what were we thinking?” and then the fear that everyone else knows what they’re doing and you’re actually only pretending to know, and of course the sleepless nights and the waking up to pee.
I’ve finished Let’s Pretend We’re Normal. Well, I think I’ve finished. I keep thinking I’m finished. In all the proverbial senses, I’ve folded the onesies and stocked the changing table with diapers. And now I just want this thing, this entity, out of me.
As long as this creation is still in my care, then I fool myself into thinking I have any control over it, any ability to make it healthier, stronger, prettier, more ready. As long as it’s still incubating, I pepper myself with questions – should I read it again? Could I improve it still? Did I miss something? Surely there’s got to be something I can do to prepare this baby for the world.
Once it’s finished, then it will be exactly that: finished. And when it’s finished, then you just embrace what it is. And only the worst people in the world would have the audacity to look at your newborn, for whom you have done everything you knew how to do, and say,
“Oh, don’t you wish this hadn’t happened this way? Don’t you wish it looked different than it does? Don’t you wish you could change it all now?”
Most people who are remotely kind and generous will say kinder things. Words like,
“Look how beautiful. Look what a miracle was born from you. Did you even know you could do something like this? May I hold her? I love her already.”
Sweet book, be born. And please don’t be ugly.