How a Book Is Like a Child

(Originally published Feb. 20, 2008).

The sale of a writer’s first book has to rank right up there with life’s great moments — the scaling of Everest, the invention of nuclear fission or the Theory of Relativity, the creation of a child.

Now, some of you may think it strange, even flippant of me to compare the creation of a human being to the creation of a collection of words. However, it seems to me there are certain similarities. For example:

  • Conception is the fun part; giving birth, not so much;
  • The gestation period seems like a century, much of it spent in acute discomfort;
  • We labor to give birth to our creation;
  • Birth only marks the beginning of the job;
  • We make most of our mistakes on our firstborn;
  • We nurture our creations, attending to their needs, their health, their grooming;
  • At some point we have to cut the apron strings and let go;
  • Sometimes the little suckers return home for more TLC;
  • No matter what other people say, we continue to love our creations through thick and thin, through criticism and rejection;
  • The end product is an endless source of delight and tears; joy and fulfilment; hope and pride.