Publishing a book is a lot like a pregnancy, they said. Writing it is like finding yourself with child. Launching it is like producing that child. It's like giving birth, they said.
I didn't like what they said. It was weird. It made me feel cringey. I could think of better analogies.
Until postpartum depression set in.
They didn't mention that part.
Giving birth to my first book was like carrying an idea through morning sickness into a laboriously long physical and emotional wait littered with land mines, and then, into a painful, unavoidable delivery.
In reality, my publishing experience was something akin to the shifting of tectonic plates and the erupting of volcanoes and hot lava floes. My earth was torn apart to form new land. Land that had me standing on it, naked and vulnerable.
So once I'd made it through all of the hurt and the tears to hold in my hands what I'd labored so hard to produce, I wept.
I couldn't stop.
All through the following month. Every single day. And it wasn't just that I felt overwhelmed by what I had done (writing a memoir is personally risky) but that I felt the world had tilted off its axis a bit, that somewhere in the universe was a reaction for my action. Even if no one ever read what I had put to paper. Even if not one single solitary human knew what I had done.
I knew what I had done.
I knew God was pleased. After all, it was his story, not mine. He had asked me to write it.
Whenever you do something for God, there is a feeling of good, even when it's just a little drop in a large sea of endeavors, an infinitesimal contribution dissolved, unnoticed in a gigantic, molten body. Every little drop of good, is, well, good.
Even so, while my good cooled, I cried.
Maybe that's because despite the insignificance to my mind, despite the good to God's, there was pushback against it. Because wherever there is good on this planet, there is a resistance to it. Even when we are unaware of it.
I have a master's degree in journalism, for crying out loud! Publishing a book should have been like baking my best cake in my favorite, frilly apron.
It was, however, the most difficult thing I've ever done. I wanted to keep it in that oven to burn. Maybe other authors wouldn't agree with me.
Maybe they would.
We create because God created first. Made in his image, we are little creators. Every time we write, paint, compose, craft, sing, carve, dance--every time we add something new to the world around us, every time we create light, darkness is diminished. What we do in the visible, material world, resonates in the unseen, spiritual world, whether we are aware of it or not.
Okay, so regardless of my perspective regarding what happened in the unseen at the time I prepared to publish, and continues to happen past launch, the "birth" of any book is sure to leave its author winded. However, with all the obstacles and frustrations and the countless ways I faced, and continue to face, adversarial resistance to my project, the strangeness that happened simultaneously outside of it, as if to discourage me or rob me of focus, the great number of times I almost lost my resolve, imagining tossing my computer out onto the open prairie or through a car window on the highway, I truly believe I did wage war to birth my first book.
Maybe I am still doing battle.
Despite that on my release day, my little drop no longer felt molten. It felt sonic. Like something had just boomed powerfully in the supernatural universe and I was victorious!
Giving honor to our God isn't always easy.
I had seen my pregnancy through and had created glory. And when a member of my publishing group responded with a one word comment on social media regarding my launch, this was confirmed. "Boom!" he wrote, unknowingly. Yes, indeed. Boom! I felt it, tension released into tears, and what remained to feed a stream, the work I still had to do, what I'd not found time for still collecting by my eyes. And yet, the overwhelming goodness of God liquified.
The unfettered, abundant joy found in that glory.
There is something that makes me cry for it.
So maybe it's not all postpartum depression. Maybe it's so much more. All the realness that isn't talked about.
Maybe what we do matters so much, there are tears for it.
This author is going to talk about it, for there is much more creating to do, many more battles yet to fight.
And many more tears yet to fall. Each to water the fertile soil with good.