Book-babies and Walls: a mixed metaphor

The weekend before I brought this space into existence, I met with a co-worker of my sister. My sister had read the childrens book that spilled out of me over my second maternity leave. I had that (you can find it under the “What’s True About You!” tab). I had a different blog that had started as a political commentary…by my dad, and I had a few thousand words written a few years before tucked into my email. I had an inkling that I might want to be a writer. My sister had decided I already was one.

Betsy Duffey took me seriously. She told me she thought I had talent. But she wanted to know what my great work was. Nehemiah, she told me, was given lots of things to do, but it wasn’t the thing God wanted from him. God wanted him to rebuild the wall. “I cannot come down from this wall.” He would tell people. I knew. I knew the second she asked me. I have a million dreams, but right now I have one wall. The book. The teaching memoir. The thing God has asked me to tell.

It sounds so easy when I say it that way “this thing that God has asked me to tell. But it isn’t coming out like that. It is being pushed out like a baby, and it is coming out much the same, screaming and messy. I think of the women who encourage me as my book doulas.

This thing has been spilling out of me a few thousand words at a time. I know it sounds crazy to say that you are birthing a book, but it is what it feels like for me. It feels like I am in labor, it feels like it is time to push. There comes a moment, in child birth, where you push because you have to, it is the only thing left to do. Maybe it is melo-dramatic, but maybe I don’t care. It is time to push.

I don’t know what this space is going to look like this summer. It scares me a little bit. Everything I have read about blogging and platform building says that I need to be posting regularly or my audience will dwindle. But I know, for now that this is not my great work. I cannot come down from my wall. It is time to push.


6 thoughts on “Book-babies and Walls: a mixed metaphor

  1. Abby,
    You write I’ll pray for you. Let the wall be built. Or as the Pharaohs would say (at least the ones in C.B. Denilles The Ten Commandments) “so let it be written so let it be done”. God often births things. It is more than a metaphor. I’ve had it happen to me before acouple of times and as the little slave girl in Gone With The Wind would say ‘I don’t know nothing about birthing babies”.

  2. I actually know several writers who would describe their writing process as birthing a book. I don’t think it sounds strange at all. Good luck in you labour!

  3. I am having the same conflict re book and blog. But I have worked so hard to get my blog to where it is, that I cannot just abandon the baby. Though I too think of the book as my wall, the one thing I want to do before I die. So the question is “Can I do both?” Is the first on a time-table? Might you be able to do both?

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