Is Having a Baby Like Birthing a Book?

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The last time I gave birth was 23 years ago.  When the nurse at Methodist Hospital put Laurika into my arms, I was almost too exhausted and full of demerol to care.  (There was also the mild distraction of my soft-spoken Korean OB-GYN running out into the hallway to scream bloody murder over the mismatched pair of forceps she’d just used to deliver my daughter—but that’s another story.)

Exhausted or not, though, I remember the deep, abiding relief and the thrill of pride I felt looking into Laurika’s gorgeous little blood-flecked face.

That’s how I felt at 3AM last night when I approved the final proof of The Tattooed Heart.

So What’s Harder to Deliver—a Baby, or a Book?

Books are messy—but not this messy!

Of course it’s not fair to compare babies with books.  But, with respect for both creative endeavors, I’ll note that giving birth to them is similar in many respects.  They both:

  • Take a long, long time to get delivered;
  • Cost way more than you think they’re going to;
  • Involve loss of sleep, boomerang emotions, and recurring physical aches and pains;
  • Have unimaginable repercussions; and
  • Take over your entire life.

As a mother, I would have to say that raising my child was the higher calling.  But as a novelist, I note a few areas where book-birthing has clear, long-term advantages:

  • Unlike with babies, you can give birth to books far into your old age.
  • Unlike with babies, you can drink scotch (and indulge myriad other bad habits) while they’re gestating.
  • And, unlike with babies—you never have to wash off mashed green peas.

Laurika, all grown up

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