Hello ILCWers! You stopping by "mid-series" so to speak.
Here is the backstory so you know what you are reading. My name is Cara. Our first daughter, Emma Grace, was born still 8 years ago. My husband and I have gone through hell - and now have two more daughters who are 4 and 6. My breakdowns in grief happen a few times a year - but when they do it is ugly.I am bearing all so others may know that raw, everyday grief morphs over time, but the emotions are ours for always. Invisible triggers still get me a few times a year.To get the most of of this post you may want to read...
"I truly am at a loss with this one. To write this book I have to go back".
I stared at the memory stick peeking out of my carry bag. Ah ...the book - That is what this is really all about, isn't it?
Because when I’m there, I’m all there. When I live in that place, my current reality seems not to exist. When I write, it is almost like a black out – time fades – hours unravel – I nearly miss pick-up time at school. Hell, last Fall I did miss meeting the carpool and she sat in my drive way waiting for 20 minutes.
But –oh - how connected I felt back then. How I loved waking everyday and knowing more of Emma, her story, her features, that her life was finding a home on the page. I long for that connected peace again, sure in the knowledge that, in time, others would know her too – that they would read my words and sigh as they recalled their own loss.
I still KNOW that to be true. And yet, editors are consistent in their feedback. "Concerned about the readership on this one" And so, I find myself struggling very much with the format it will hold. Memoir, self-help, fiction with a self-help guide built in? Maybe that would frighten the editors less. Perhaps knowing that only parts and pieces of the horror story they are reading are true -that the reader can choose to recognize or ignore them would be kinder. But this true story is ugly. That is a fact, and no fictionalized words will have the ability to remove the raw emotion behind them. But can I even do that? I don’t know.
What I DO know is how well I have taken criticism during this journey. It wasn’t right, I fixed it. It needed more nuance, I added it. I was told, “You really need more dialogue.” I recalled, and wrote it. And now – I feel like I’ve reached my limit. I feel like the author who is being asked to do that, one more thing, they just don’t feel comfortable with. The affair with the next door neighbor that sets the stage for the revelation scene in the next chapter – that takes all measure of authenticity and eradicates it.
But, and this is the funny part, I haven’t been asked to do anything yet. It is just a feeling, a sense that the book – the way it is, real and raw and honest, isn’t going to make it past an editors screening. A sense that I will have to meet the system’s requirements to sell this book. I will have to fold, give in to their idea of a saleable stillbirth tale. For that is what this is all about, sales, money, numbers, and of course – the illusive possibility for more books if it sells well.
I am NOT about money. I have more than enough. I have everything I need. I want to tell the story with honesty, grace and yes – raw emotion. And so, the odd thought occurred to me that I may be going about this ass-backwards. Like countless other artists, I may have to write the piece that sells, before this one will ever see a bound cover. I may have to play the game. Create a curiorisity about Cara. People will say, Who is she? What really happened? How much of this book is true? And then – After Emma will have a home in the homes of millions of inquiring minds and the publisher will get their sales.
I have always hated the game. The politics in teaching, Deaf Eduaction especially were nearly enough to drive me from the profession. The boyfriend / girlfriend courting - who calls and when, games drove me mad. So mad, that it might have drove a few potential suitors away too! So, finding myself in this place - intrinisic motivation vs. affirmation by publisher does not feel good.
There must be a happy medium! There must - I tell myself. Moreover, I believe there is. I will find the format that meets everybodys needs. I will tell my story while helping others take a first step into their own grief road. I have faith.
I closed the computer and headed home. Feeling very much like this has been a therapeutic morning. And I think I will be able to honestly answer my sweet, flexible husband when I return home, that “Yes, it did help. It helped to find my intrinsic motivation again and let go of what the world placed in my ego driven brain as, necessary, as expected.”
And then, I will take him in my arms and show him just how much I love every part of his being, and always have for nine years. I always will for the rest of my earthly days for he has kept good his promise to respect my grief, even if he doesn’t understand it.