Pregnancy is a fairly hilarious state. Forget all that crap about saintly mothers and saintly fathers who place them on pedestals (which hopefully have all the special sizes of pillows a pregnant woman needs for comfort). This is where biology proves that the author of the universe has a wicked sense of humor.
I sat at my desk a few days ago, struggling to write about my heroine. And all I could think about was that I hadn't cleaned the bathrooms.
Cleaning the bathrooms is not high on my list of priorities. Adding to my page count is high on my list of priorities. And yet, in the grip of a biological imperative, I gave up my block of writing time to scrub both of them, including floors and mirrors, knowing as I was doing it just how insane it was but helpless to stop.
"Where is my wife?" my husband wanted to know. "You know, the one who thinks wearing socks is a good way to clean the floor?"
Hey, don't knock my method. It's a hardwood floor, socks do pick up the dirt, and you have to wash the socks anyway after you've worn them, so why not kill two birds with one stone?
"She'll be back sometime around late June," I informed him.
Then I proceeded to cook, two days in a row. "Don't get used to this. Enjoy it while it lasts."
"I didn't say a word." He ate silently for a minute. "Did you realize you cooked enough for an army?"
He can mock, but before long we'll all be back to eating Mama Rosa's frozen pizzas and he'll long for the days when biology drove me to waste my valuable time boiling real potatoes before whipping them with milk and butter. And the bathrooms will look like somebody lives here, instead of like a hotel.
Yes, news of the impending arrival of the new Teglia triggered our Mood Swing Day previously mentioned. My husband thought I should take a pregnancy test a month ago. I thought he was clearly insane and anybody could see the reasonable explanation was endometriosis. Until I started cleaning and cooking.
What does this mean for my writing career? Well, the bathrooms will be cleaner and my diet will be improved for a while, and due to the timing I'm no longer planning to attend this year's RWA national convention in Reno. But other than that, not much.
Here's where you can truly see the difference between a writer and somebody who wants to write a book some day. Ray Bradbury said that if you stop writing for a day, the accumulated poisons make you sick. Robert Heinlein called daily writing a spiritual enema. I say that a writer is a person who can no more quit writing than breathing. How long can you hold your breath?
I was astounded by people who thought the last time I was pregnant that I'd have to put writing on hold until Alex started school. I tried to find a way to explain that I was likely to become an ax murderer if I put it on hold that long. OK, maybe not an ax murderer. I can't stand the sight of blood.
But writing is truly not something you can put off or give up, not if you need it for your soul's survival. And I'd say that's the acid writer test. If you can quit, if it's optional for you, then you aren't one, not really. Not down in the basement of your soul where your secret self lies like an iceberg.
This is not the same as writer's block, it should be noted. A writer with writer's block is as sick as a cancer patient in the terminal stages of the disease and needs treatment just as desperately. A non-writer who is not writing feels just fine.
So, biology is having its little joke on me, and that's okay. I can take a joke. But I'm still writing and am nearly to the point with my current book where it is rock solid. Once I have fifty pages down, I have a story. An idea that isn't working will fall apart before the fifty page marker. Not only do I have the beginning now, I have the end. Which means finishing this novel is just a matter of the time it takes to connect the two.
Am I not thrilled that we're going to have the second child we always wanted? Oh, yes. But it will be weeks before I can feel movement, months before I can hold him or her, and I know from experience that pregnancy really does mess with your head and the best thing I can do for mine is to keep writing. It's the best thing I can do for my husband and daughter, too. I am a better person, a better mom, a better wife, if I've done my pages for the day. If I don't write I'm impossible to live with. Not writing AND pregnant? That's even scarier than having a floor clean enough to eat off.