No, not literally. Those of you who read this blog know that I’m way too far along life’s path for that. Which is, frankly, fine with me. I loved being a pregnant lady and adored my babies, along with the whole roller coaster combo of cotton-wool comfort and white-knuckle intensity, heart-pounding anxiety ricocheting into transcendent joy that came with early motherhood. But been there, done that. I am wildly proud of my adult children, and happy that they are fully self-sustaining.
From my symptoms, I suspect that I am gestating a new book. It’s not a surprise, really; I’ve been thinking about it for some time. But I haven’t even outlined it or given it a plot structure yet. Still, it insists on announcing itself in my awareness, ready or not. And like a more orthodox pregnancy, it’s not an entirely comfortable experience. I’m in a stage something like morning sickness. I need more sleep than usual. My emotions pulse close to the surface, threatening to burst through the membrane of polite governance that usually contains them. I cycle between urgent hunger and disgust for anything resembling food. And when I want something, I want it right damn now.
I’m in the is-this-really-happening phase, and true to my nature I feel many ways about it all at once. Excitement. Reluctance. Enthusiasm. And of course fear, my loyal companion throughout life. What if this embryonic novel never makes it into the light? What if I’m not a good enough mother/writer to nurture it into being, and I somehow smother it in its cradle?
Maybe other writers don’t go through this. Maybe they approach their work like sensible professionals, getting right down to it with an action plan and step-by-step goals and a reliable word-count-per-day routine, without going through this sturm und drang of incubation that I can’t seem to avoid. Maybe if I just got to bleeping work on the blankety-blank book, the pain would go away.
Experience tells me that I will indeed get to the action phase. Soon, in fact; I can feel the momentum building. Pretty soon I won’t be able to resist it, no matter how much I want to bake brownies or go online shoe shopping instead. For the moment, though, I’m in a muddle, wondering if I’m ready for this next obsession. It’s hardly a method I’d recommend, but I guess it’s how I operate. There is comfort, now that I’ve announced Baby Book’s incipience, in knowing that it will take on a life of its own if I show up and do my part. Whatever comes of it past that is out of my control, which is the most daunting part of bringing anything into the world.
As for what this project is or will be, it’s way too early to say. Don’t expect any news on that front — not even the genre reveal — for months. But in the meantime, if I seem a little hysterical, even irrational, cut me some slack. I’m thinking for two.