This week I’ve started work on a different short story, “Night-Blooming Cereus.” It’s the tale of a woman facing a difficult diagnosis who forms a relationship with an elusive teenager in a place that’s dear to my heart, a little pocket park in Prescott, Arizona.
I shifted gears from “Dream Studies” into this project because it’s been one year since my own difficult diagnosis–one year of nothing but good news and good things and good people, but still, there is something about anniversaries. Especially when a big follow-up test is looming on the horizon.
The woman in the story is mourning the child she may never get to have, the way I was last year. And this year, my husband and I are beginning the process of adopting an infant. Huge! Especially since I have a book coming out in November, and we have no idea when we might be chosen by an expectant mother; it could be as soon as July, or it could be two years from now.
Nevertheless, I’m thinking about something I imagine all female writers do when they’re expecting: I’m wondering if I have what it takes to keep writing through the baby years. This article from New York Magazine isn’t all that reassuring, but I find myself wondering: If I’m already accustomed to drafting in very small increments (say, a half hour), won’t I be in good shape to survive those years as a writer?
One of my beloved patrons, Pauls Toutonghi, recently posted the increments in which he wrote the first draft of his latest novel. The word counts ranged from 6 to 1600. Surely I can manage this while caring for a small human? And didn’t Lidia Yuknavitch (who just won not one but two Oregon Book Awards!) say that she and her husband experienced some of their most productive years when their son was small?
In any case, this is a story time will tell.