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A Book is Born

Writing a book is like experiencing multiple pregnancies and births in which each child is absorbed and reincarnated into the next. My plotting, outlining, story boards, and research are ready to erupt together in mutual completion. At that point while the lava trails and the smoke billows, a manuscript will be formed. Then the first draft will be hacked and mutilated and torn like fleshy pink skin, only to reform and heal with scarring striations. Words sutured into a new wholeness will then be cauterized into a second, third, possibly fourth draft. Emerging from the stagnant air of closed thoughts and encircled ramblings, red marks slash through paper like claws through flesh. Editing is a killer that brings new life to a Frankenstein’s monster of a manuscript. The claws dig deeper, hitting bone. Superfluous fat is plucked away, leaving the marrow stung and pure. The purge continues, deadly, discarding, painfully destructive. The creature writhes and begs to die, or to be killed. No mercy must be shown at this sacred point. The skeleton is tenderly touched by the salve of proofreading. The bones are smooth and bright. All the pain and suffering has come to this as skinless fingers lift up in empty air, to be gently clutched by a heaving soul. This soul reads the lines between the bones and breathes in the meaning. The skeleton gains muscle and sinews at each exhale of the reader. The breath of life covers the new creature, borne of sweat, tears, blood, sleeplessness, and an underlying desperate faith. The reader cradles the naked creature and carries it back to the author, whose kisses cover the swollen bare bleeding body with a protective covering of skin. The creature is coaxed to a stand as the author meets its eyes and stares into the reflective soul within. The creature is named. A book is born.

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