Saturday, April 3, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Women

My cara spoza reads my blog.

So, she read the last entry, and she told me she enjoyed it.

I asked, "What did you like about it?"

And she told me this story.

But first, let me tell you the story her mother told her.

You see, her mother is a multiple-Palanca award-winner for her writings (It's the Pulitzer in the Philippines), and she told my cara spoza this (in Tagalog) about writing.

Writing is like having a child.

There is the anticipation of it. It's growing within you, as you write, and you can't wait to get it out there. But at the same time you are so scared, ... how will she do in the world? What will other people think of her? How will they treat her? I shouldn't care about what other people think of her ... she is my baby ... but I do. Very much.

And then other people like her, and you are just so proud and so pleased. Or one person says just one little word of criticism, and you just want to kill that person ... until another person savages her. And then you want to die from the despair.

"Oh, she's not loved! ... but I love her! Shouldn't that be enough?"

And as soon as she gets out into the world, stumbling, and then finding her (Bella-)balance and (Bella-)grace, ...

Then she starts doing things you never saw nor expected. Then she creates her own stories, and they take on a life of their own.

Just like Twilight was one little dream that lead to two books (it and Forever Dawn) which lead to four books, when lead to Midnight Sun and now leads to Bree.

So I told you that story to tell you this one.

So, my cara spoza said that: "My mom told me writing is like having your own child."

And I, after I got over the shock of that epiphany, added that writing is an act of creation.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, "you get it!"

But I didn't. It had to be pointed out to me, by my dear wife, who is a woman and an mother. Two things that I am not. Fundamentally not.

And so, for me, reading Breaking Dawn? I know many of you do not relate to that book. There are many things in it that I do not agree with either.

Funny how Book III has a quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay ... and funny how Rosalie and Bella grow so much closer in Breaking Dawn ... just saying (*cough* msr *cough*)

But there are things in there that I can and do learn from it. One is this: 'little nudger.' The intimacy that Bella has with her baby, from that very first morning sickness, when she realized what caused it? And the immediacy with which Bella connected with her fœtus? That is something that I had had a dispassionate, an intellectual, understanding of, even until now, even writing stories about women in the most intimate way from a woman's perspective, credibly.

As has been told to me, I cannot possibly be a man, because I write about a woman's monthly travail with accuracy: neither running from it nor glorifying it nor profaning it.

But this one little thing. This one fundamental thing.

When my cara spoza had our second (living) child, it was a very tough pregnancy, requiring an emergency C-section when it was found the two very serious (mortal) issues in the late-term could not be addressed other than immediate delivery.

Out popped little Isabel. And I saw the little blue-eyed nudger, and thought: oh, that's nice. And handed her off to my dear wife on the operating table, and she cried and exclaimed: "My baby!"

Did I get it then? Maybe. Maybe a little bit.

Can I get it now? Maybe. Maybe not. I can try. I can try, as hard as I can.

But I am not my sisters. I am not my wife. I am not my multiple-Palanca-award-winning Mother-in-law.

I do not have children in the way that they could or did.

And that experience ...

I write. I write stories. I write to make life a joy or to make it tolerable.

To try to understand.

Sometimes, my writing touches you, my dear reader. And for that, I am grateful. And sometimes you share your words of connection or anger or appreciation, and I am grateful for those. Very grateful.

And when you share with me, as my cara spoza did today, I learn a little bit of that ineffable mystery that is life, in something so simple, so fundamental as this: my baby.

Please tell me how my writing affects you. Please tell me where I go right and where I go wrong.

Because msr, and my other writings, are my babies, just as Steph has her own babies in Twilight, et al, and the words you say in comfort are a comfort to me, and the teaching words you say, teach me.

Has msr helped you? At all? Tell me. I'd like to know. And, in telling me, maybe, by forming those words in your review, you'll see something about yourself or about msr that you didn't until you articulated it.

That's what 'sharing' is: you grow in the sharing of it, and I grow in the learning from it, ... from you.

And I will reply to your review, and thank you for it, ...

And, yes, I am thinking about the next chapter of msr ... okay?

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