Today I am working on my first publication, an essay in a forthcoming anthology on Black Women’s birth experiences.
I am sipping Green tea, listening to Bob Marley moan Redemption Song in my ear, feeling the high of sunshine and thinking,
How on earth am I going to edit the 14,000 word piece I already wrote about Xiomara’s birth into a 3,000 word essay?!?!
I am leafing through material: the poem I wrote immediately after she was conceived, (I just knew) journals upon journals of reflections on the birth, hopes for this first publication, lists of what to say, what not to say, how to say it, how not to say it…
It is a moment of tears and laughs. All the joy of this, my first publication, and the fears of what it would mean to write about perhaps the most intimate moment of my life, all come crashing down at once.
And I am happy.
Mostly because Marley is telling me every little thing is gonna be alright.
But also because I’ve done the work of writing this already. I’ve gone through the emotional ups and downs, relived the trauma, done the second guessing, had the doubt, felt the surrender.
Like a rehearsal… you think through the whys of every line, find emotional connections do the work so that you can perform what is already there.
That’s what writing is.
A quiet, solitary performance, in front of an audience you cannot see for the light in your eyes…
An act that is very much, a birth.