Raising Stories

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After all the years of my first job as mother, I should be perfectly suited for my new role as writer. You may be thinking, huh? But I’ve come to discover that writing a story is exactly like raising a child.
This epiphany came to me as I awoke in the wee hours of the morning. For some reason, that’s when the best ideas come to me. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep but it poked at me, and poked at me until out of sheer frustration I got up and wrote it down. I knew it wouldn’t leave me alone. I would get no sleep until I tended it. My story is like that. During the day I feed it, I nurture it, I give it everything I can, and yet it never lets me get any rest.
It seems to call out to me at the most inconvenient times. When I’m trying to drive, or shop, or do the bills. It pesters me in the shower. I can’t even go to the bathroom without it screaming for my attention. When I actually have the time set aside for it, it never wants to do what I want it to do. And so I go on trying my best not to collapse from exhaustion as I try to balance my paying job, the household duties and my child; my story.
As my story grows I try to do the best for it. Sometimes I know my best falls short and I vow to do better. Sometimes what I do works and my story grows stronger. When my story is young it amazes me how fast it grows. As it gets bigger it’s growth seems to slow, and it seems more resistant to my efforts to shape it. It starts to have a mind of it’s own.
Sometimes it resists me to the point of frustration. To the point when I wonder why I decided to do this at all. But I soldier on, because I couldn’t possibly turn my back on it. There’s nothing else in the world I’d rather do. In the end, after all my hard work, I have to let it go. It’s not easy. I’m constantly trying to guide it, to fix it, to make it better. Eventually I have to ignore that urge and send it out into the world to be judged.
It may not be exactly what I imagined when I started. It never turns out the way I thought it would. It never ceases to surprise me, and it certainly isn’t perfect. There will be moments when it makes me cringe. There will always be times where I wished I’d done a better job shaping it. But then there are times when it makes me beam with pride. Moments when it brings a smile to my face, or a tear to my eye. Not everyone will agree with my methods. I can’t make everyone like it. But I will protect it because it came from me. From my sweat and blood. I will bristle with anger at anyone who disparages it. And when somebody else says they think it is strong, or beautiful, I will forget, for just a moment, all my shortcomings as a parent. It will always be, after all, my child.

2 thoughts on “Raising Stories

  1. Actually it's kind of funny. I never really suffered that rebellious stage with my real children. Somehow luck shined on me. Maybe life experiences made them mature beyond their years. Maybe fate decided I had enough on my plate at the time. So, I can only go by what I witnessed my friends going through with their children.I would imagine I'm at the point where although my "child" still resists and smarts back at me, there are times when it seems mature enough to recognize the difficult role a parent has and actually shows me some kindness and respect. But it's still an inconsistent beast!


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