This week I said farewell to a pair of people who have played strong roles in my life. Both writers, both guys, one dead, the other alive.
Neither was perfect. Both pissed me off. Both meant something to me. These things are not mutually exclusive.
There is not much else I care to say publicly about that, which is unusual for me, but exceptions may be made for everything. All I will say is that after a long time I made a choice, said what I needed to say, and now I have found some element of peace and closure.
want to tell you a couple of stories about Wesley. The first takes place maybe
a year or so ago. I’d posted a picture of my son and I on Facebook. We were in
the hospital. He was less than an hour old. Still had the clamp in his navel and
everything. Tons of likes came in. Comments like aw, how sweet. Beautiful. Then came Wesley, written in all lower
case: well, that’s kinda pukey. That
Wesley is the reason I wrote my book. I told him about it before I told anyone
else – including my husband – and he simply said, “Sweetheart, go for it.”
Those four words have echoed throughout my brain for the last decade while I’ve
struggled with this project, through the rejections and the acceptances, the
failures and achievements. Sweetheart, go
was Wesley too.
can still hear his voice, so how can he be dead? And yet he is, and we are
gathered here in his memory. He’s up there with a martini in one hand and a
cigarette in the other, and he’s probably telling at least a few of us to go
hope I’m one of them.
here’s the thing: for all the pain he carried, the pain that eventually ended
his existence, Wesley was here. You Are
Here, the name of his book. And yes, he was.
I am a writer and mother to a 10-month-old girl. Sometimes I feel like these two identities are in conflict. Other times, they are one and the same. Who are we without our words, without our family? ... While I grapple with that question, I decided to turn to a community of writers I know who have had children and ask them how they feel. I want to know if becoming a parent impacts the way people write -- if it rewires the way we think.
Thanks for letting me be a part of this, Julia!
I'm a writer and storyteller in Berkeley, CA. If you're wondering where that is, follow the smell of patchouli and skunkweed. There you'll find me with my kickass husband, gorgeous little boy, and manic Lab-Australian Shepherd mix pups. I'm represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co., but of course, my views are my own.