I gave birth twice. In the scheme of all things obstetrical, they were relatively easy births. Of course, relatively is relative. Labor is just that. Labor. Hard work. People say the labor is worth it, because you get a living, breathing, human at the end.
Sometimes, people equate publishing a book with giving birth. I would have to disagree with that notion. That’s not to say publishing is not hard, that it’s not a total slog (which it is,) or even that it’s something everyone can do if one puts one’s mind to it. You can, sorta, but most people don’t wanna. That’s just fine; I totally understand…and sympathize.
The gestational period is all research, writing, and editing. The process feels like it takes forever, and there are certainly moments of uncertainty about the sanity of what one is doing. My first pregnancy was a total adventure. I had no idea what was happening inside most of the time, would routinely forget I was strategically off balance…which can be a problem when hanging lights in a theater, and I would forget things like eating. I gave birth to a kidney stone the week before I gave birth to the Senior Son. Both were painful experiences. The second pregnancy was much easier in that I had a better idea of what was going on. I knew how to deal with expansion mode even while training a puppy (Asta the Wonder Dog) and dealing with a toddler who refused to speak. The Junior Son emerged, the Senior Son started talking (he has yet to stop, but he’s funnier now,) and the puppy decided she was the real mother. I was merely the supplier of food and clean diapers as I continued to write children’s plays.
Writing novels should be so easy.
Which is why publishing is not like giving birth. Publishing a novel is sending your kid to kindergarten. You spend months talking about it. You spend weeks gathering up supplies and the proper outfits. You spend days agonizing over whether you’re being a helicopter parent or a normal concerned parent. You make yourself crazy second-guessing this kid’s entry into academia, all the while aggravating over whether or not everyone’s gonna like your kid. The day comes, and you spend it waiting to hear how it went. If the kid actually decides to tell you. Sometimes, they don’t.
Well, that’s publishing. You send off the manuscript to the pros and hope they don’t throw it back at you with a “Pffffft.” You get the notes, make the changes, take a machete to it (I know I do,) and send it back. There’s a bunch of back and forth that makes a writer frickin’ nuts even though you know it’s all necessary. Eventually, someone tells you the file you’re downloading is the final draft and you’re ready to go. The book goes to first grade, second grade, and if you’re lucky, it makes it all the way through.
This writer, of course, has turned to pomegranate cocktails and binge-watching Korean dramas on Netflix while indulging in romance novels just to take the edge off… before it starts all over again.
Of course, you can come watch my angst in person if you happen to be in the Twin Cities on Tuesday evening, November 9th. Beth Jacob Congregation is hosting the first reading and signing. Come introduce yourself. Friendly faces are good when you’re a nervous wreck.
Heidi Slowinski, a major reviewer of Jewish Books, wrote the following caption to her review as posted on the Facebook Jewish Binder’s page:
“I recently had the pleasure of reviewing The Pomegranate by S J Schwaidelson. I was hooked within the first ten pages and couldn’t put it down. One of the best books I’ve read in 2021.”
I guess she liked my kid.