Pregnancy and Toe Jam

I’m pregnant with a book. If it were a ten-pound baby, I’d just wait until my due date, uncomfortable as I was. But this baby, this book, needs to be born.

Sometimes it’s just better to get the sucker out. I just need to give birth and then deal with the squalling baby.

Why do I hold back from producing things, from creating, from putting my efforts out into the world? God put no restrictions on Adam in the Garden of Eden when he set him loose to create. He gave him dominion over naming the animals, calling forth what they were. He didn’t say, “Bring me your list, and I’ll copy-edit it.” He let him loose to create.

I feel like I have to have permission or wait for a blue moon or see who thinks I should sequester myself and write instead of doing whatever they think I should be doing or wait until the day when I feel confident, clear-headed, limbered up, calmed down, in touch with my masculine and feminine sides, and have nothing else to do.

There are endless reasons why I don’t tend to the labor process. A few of my fears about my book:
It might not be good enough (for what?).
Somebody might not like what I say (they won’t).
It might illuminate my blind spots (it will, and then I’ll know those and still have more).
It might require more work (it will, and I can then do that).
I’m not anybody (who is?).
I’m not a real writer (yes, I am. Writers are people who… write).
What would I do next if I finished this? (It’ll be fun to find out.)
It might, just might, impact some readers (and that’s both scary and so exciting).

“If it’s in you, let it out.” I’m preaching to myself. What’s the hold-up? Why should fear win the day?

I’m going to keep laboring, make every effort to deliver the book baby. In real labor, if your water breaks you need to deliver within 24 hours. I’m just going to act as if my creative water has broken… which of course it has, long ago. And I’m going to try to live in the urgency of getting the baby born.

Much like when we hold in emotions that should be expressed, and we therefore spread those feelings where they don’t belong, not giving full expression to our creativity can be dangerous. We can end up with our creative juices trickling down our chins, oozing out of our pores, getting stuck between our toes like so much toe jam, and the result is a half-assed mess and nothing to show for it instead of a good-enough-for-prime-time product.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you’re pregnant with a book, deliver it. If you’re pregnant with a baby, consult your midwife before delivering (ideally).

4 thoughts on “Pregnancy and Toe Jam


  1. Love it – a very timely word! I know I have paintings inside, and maybe a book or two as well…and I realize I need to break my routine, reset it with new movements.


  2. I’m pregnant with a book, too, but labor will have to wait until I finish some of my painting projects. Interesting that one art form keeps me from indulging in another way to create. It all takes time, work, simmering and then more work and more time. The one thing about creating art is that it generally keeps you isolated from others. Your phone stops ringing, you forget to look at your calendar and you are late for anything you do go to. You are creating another world.


  3. Oh Joyce, so true. Such an irony that to create something of beauty, that we hope will soar into the world and touch others, comes with the sacrifice of one’s own social desires sometime. “Creating another world” cannot happen in the rush and epicenter of our worlds, can it?


  4. Ophelia, what will you start with? What will you opt out of to create that space? I recommend going a bit public with your intentions. People’s delight and encouragement will add fuel to your creative fire. I love the quote, by William Lloyd Garrison, “I have need to be on fire. There are icebergs around me to melt.” Write, paint… you go, woman!

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