I’ve been working on my third novel and pushing it out has dragged on for weeks and weeks. Chapter 5 is stuck somewhere in a traffic jam – I’ve got nothing. Sometimes I look at my computer as if it’s the enemy. There it sits on my table, my laptop, looking back at me with reproach, the silver monster.
“Why are you neglecting me?”
I answer, “I need inspiration. I need a brain enema.”
I remember having my first child and yelling, “Give me drugs!” There’s no drug I can take for writer’s constipation. Sometimes I want to drop the whole thing. IN A MOTHER’S ARMS, all 600 pages was a walk in the park compared to this one. It’s a good book. I’m not bragging. Read it for yourself. The book almost wrote itself. It only took four years and a thousand rewrites.
I learned my great-grandmother was burned to death in Hungary when my grandmother was an infant. I said to myself, “This could make a good story.” Then there was the character of my mother. She died when I turned twenty-one and was pretty sick all my life. I saw photos of her and how beautiful she was when she was young. I learned to my surprise, she’d had two husbands. The problem was we never got a chance to talk about life and love, sex, motherhood and marriage — what being a woman demands. I wrote of what I believed she was like as a young girl and about her relationship to her family. I had to make it up. Nobody was alive to tell me.
I’ve been a wife and mother for a very long time. My children are grown. I have the pleasure of speaking of women’s issues with them. I can guide them and they guide me. Writing this novel has given me the opportunity to evaluate what being a woman means in this age, about empowerment and insecurity, the mixed feelings I experienced when I became a mother and a wife. By researching the past, I gained a new respect for all we’ve achieved and how much farther we need to go.
But now back to my new labor… I’m taking a breath. In labor, breathing is very important. I learned that in my childbirth class. I’ll return to the silver monster and attack the chapter with renewed energy. It won’t get the better of me. I am WOMAN – HEAR ME ROAR.