AUTHOR’S NOTE: I didn’t plan to post the below piece. But I thought it *might* be interesting for people to read about the process that I sometimes go through to find a story, or the beginning of a story. It’s not pretty but sometimes, if I get lucky, it works.
I’m wide awake now. Sitting in the recliner, blank Word document in front of me. No kids, nothing to do but write. So why can’t I write? I have nothing to write about. But I have everything to write about. Everyone tells me I must tell my story. But how? It’s too big. It’s too overwhelming. I have to stop thinking about how to write something that will sell. I just need to write.
But I’m worried that I am not a good writer. I tell myself that when I sit down to write. That can’t help. There are tons of books out there written by not-so-great writers.  Why can’t I be one of them? Well, I think I might be a good writer, that’s why. And it scares me. It’s so much pressure to know that I have this ability and that it’s so hard to use. Why can’t it be easier? Why can’t it be like a math problem where you just solve it and you’re done? Instead it requires just the right setting, just the right time, no distractions, the right temperature, the right chair and desk and computer. Everything has to be perfect for me to start writing.
I’ve heard that if you just write, the magic will happen. I saw a speech by the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love and she said writing can be magical. A story floats by you and you grab it and it writes itself. That’s never happened to me. I’ve never been writing with someone else’s hand.
I’ve written some good things, I guess. My stories have moved people to tears. I can make people laugh with my writing. I like making them laugh and cry at the same time – that’s really tough to do.
I have this story to tell. A story of losing my daughter one cold October night. I force myself to write about it and it stings. My fingers ache as I try to make these feelings and thoughts come together on a page. Trying to make sense of something that doesn’t and never will make sense. I try to make it sound like I’m healing – maybe if I type about healing, I will start to actually heal. But the truth is, I do not feel like I’m healing. I feel like I’m stuck. I’m stuck in denial. I’m not feeling the right feelings about this loss. I should cry more. I should be paralyzed with pain, not having friends over for dinner, making gingerbread houses with my kids, getting myself pregnant again. No, I don’t think I’ve let myself and my spirit completely accept this loss that has suddenly defined the person I am and will be – oh, Prinna, the one whose daughter died. Yup, that’s me now.
I’ll delete this entire document after I write it. It is nothing. Nothing came to me. Nothing magical is happening. And I’m panicking. Because remember, I have this huge story to tell. This story that could help people and move people and scare people. Why is all of this happening to me if I can’t channel the words to tell the story? There must be a reason all of this is happening to me, right? Because if there is no reason, then life is just plain cruel.
I asked God to help me tell my story. It was one day while I was driving on Hwy 494. I was crying. I was listening to Kate Hopper on the radio, talking about her writing class for mothers. It’s the closest to divine intervention that I’ve ever experienced. I went home and emailed Kate and begged to get in her class. And so I was on my way to telling my story. Something good was finally going to come from this horrific loss. I was going to write a best selling book.
But the words are stuck in my throat. They are stuck in my core and they can’t make their way down to my fingers to type them on the keyboard. If I can’t type something right, why type it? If my words don’t do my daughter justice, why write them at all?
Still planning to delete this whole thing. Nobody ever needs to see it. Nobody ever needs to even know that I’m up at 6:18am on a Sunday morning trying to channel the magic.
My girls are sleeping. Eve will wake up first – she always does. She’ll waddle out of her room in her saggy diaper whining for juice. “No milk…juice” she’ll repeat 50 times until I get out of bed and find a non-rotty sippy cup for her. Then she’ll lay in my bed with me and snuggle up under the covers, sipping loudly from her cup. Her hair is beyond crazy in the mornings. I don’t fix it, I don’t brush it. I just let it go wild, like her. At some point, she’ll remember the TV and she’ll start whining for Dora. Chris usually turns it on because I’m dozing again. But within minutes, a smiley-faced Annabelle will appear and want her morning hug and kiss. No whining, no demands. Just a hug and a kiss, her blanket and the TV. That’s all she needs in the morning.
The problem is, Eve doesn’t like it when I hug and kiss Annabelle. She’ll shove her aside and try to snuggle so close to me that I can’t breathe. It’s sibling rivalry – I was supposed to prevent this.
The internet is down. Now I really can’t be productive. All I have is Word and this failing story. I need the internet. I need it so I can pretend I’m reseaching for my writing – I’m reading about writing. I’m reading other peoples’ writing. But all it is is another thing to keep me from writing anything at all. The internet has become a safe haven – a place where I can escape. I don’t want to write about the internet, though. That’s really boring.
And already I’m wondering if this is good enough for someone else to read. Maybe it is actually good and I could get it published as an article on writer’s block and how to perpetuate it. See, I can’t stop trying to write something that will sell.
So now I’ve done it. I saved this document. I called it Ramblings. I guess that’s all this is. I wish I could have titled it Chapter 1. Or Prologue. But no such luck…all we have here is ramblings.
It’s freezing cold in the house now. Probably the reason nothing is happening. Chris probably set the thermostat to go down 15 degrees at night to save money. Seems pointless considering 9 nights out of 10, the guy sleeps on the couch with the TV blaring all night. That has to offset the cost of lowering the heat.
My Christmas decorations are up. They were all so shiny and new for the first week. Now they look dull and used and tired. The fake garland on the stairs seems to be wilting. Everything seems to have a chip in it or is hanging just a little bit crooked. But I don’t want to write about Christmas decorations I guess.
I don’t remember holding my daughter’s body for the last time. I know I did. I remember trying to say just the right things to her. Like she was going on this long journey and as her mother, I needed to send her off with some valuable knowledge and lessons and guidance. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how heavy she was. I guess that’s what they mean by “dead weight.” I’ve never asked anyone why she was so heavy. I think about it a lot. Why was she so heavy? She hadn’t been dead for that long – what happened to her body that it was so heavy? There, I said something I didn’t want to ever have to say. The mystery of the heavy dead baby body. So that was weird, I started off by saying I don’t remember holding her and turns out, I do. Strange.
Well there, I tried writing something hard. It was awkward. It felt forced. If I have to feel that way during the whole process of writing this book, I’ll be a miserable wreck by the end.
I think maybe if someone would buy me a ticket to Mexico, I could write this book.  Or maybe if I put “write book” as a task on my Google task list, I will write it and be able to check it off some day.  Wipe my hands together like you do when you’ve finished something and say “ok, so what’s next?”  I want to do that. I want to hit “save” in Word and type “Final Book” as the filename. So I can move on. So I can be rid of this story. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of living life like it is made up of chapters. Oooh, I’ll say to myself sometimes. This will make a great chapter. Why must I keep needing more chapters? I don’t want anything to be happening that is worthy of a chapter. I just want to have a normal, boring life that isn’t book-worthy. Then I wouldn’t have to get up at 5:52 and try to channel the magic.
Well, I guess I’m done here. I’m disappointed nothing “happened.” It’s not for lack of trying, though. I did write…hold on….1708 words. That’s more than I wrote yesterday or the day before. And I didn’t go back and read what I wrote 100 times, fixing punctuation and rewording things like I normally do. I just kept writing and this is what I got.