Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Turtle's Shell

File:Snow Scene at Shipka Pass 1.JPG
By Psy guy (Own work) [GFDL (],
via Wikimedia Commons.

It's cold. The icicles melted at last and fell, last week in a thaw. Maybe the week before. No time for more to grow in a freeze like this. On Saturday our lives took us into the countryside, and we watched the winter desert over the fields, around old barns, snake onto the road in a wind that had its teeth bared, tearing the ragged edges on living things. Like pictures of the Sahara. We said little but enough to see we thought the same thing-strangely attractive, like the deathly wildness in photographs of the great desert, but not an experience to be personally desired.

Today the ice is over the road again. The sidewalks are dangerous, the bitter wind and cold more so. My spouse looks out at a memory: a child in Poland, he stumbled on a drunk lying in such snow once. He was frightened--today the man he is knows that the drunken figure could have been more than drunk... dying, or dead.
I wonder, and so does my husband.

But Inside... ahhh.  What a satisfaction!!! All the time I have been away from my blog, I have been busy... giving life to a story, giving birth to a child... and sitting back in the warm shell of coziness and affection that cocoons us here away from the bitter winter, I survey the fruits of these labors with supreme content.  

I am proud of the story, of course, but the little family that now surrounds me is the finest work I have ever been privileged to be a part of. I have heard many a young writer (and some older), comparing writing stories to giving birth.  I can only assume they have no children.  It is a silly comparison, from the eye of one who is both writer and mother.  

I have felt the keen edge of Joy, and been riven to the core by a story's "eucatastrophe," many a time in my life.  There is a compelling magic in it, for certain.  But the bringing to life of the most beautiful and touching story, is simply not to be compared with gazing awe-fully into the new, God-breathed soul that looks out from a newborn's wondering eyes.  For that, the world stands still... the nursing mother holds a universe in her hands, and "ponders these things in her heart."  


  1. Ah, a lovely post. I'm glad you're back. :D

    I've always been rather skeptical about whether writing stories is really like giving birth, both because I'm doubtful that it is really that physically agonizing, and because I suspect that giving birth to a fellow human being is more awe-inspiring and soul-shaking than anyone who has never done it. Which I haven't, so I try not to presume to know.

    Your description is very beautiful and touching, with just the right amount of detail. ;D

    1. I meant "more awe-inspiring and soul-shaking than anyone who has ever done it can possibly imagine."

    2. Thank you! (I had cookies turned off, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't reply to my own blog sooner!) I felt honor-bound to pay tribute, as I was one of those who used to find paeans to motherhood terribly trite. I thought writing finer, nobler, and certainly more generally interesting! As fewer people can do it.

      But I find that it is easier in both cases to simply do them than do them well. In any case, I have learned from experience to value motherhood inestimably.

  2. I really couldn't like this more! You have a beautiful perspective!

    1. Thank you for commenting! I am glad you liked it. :) The perspective was slow in coming, but I am learning.