If I had been a parent, I would have been a lousy one on the day my child left home—at least I believe that to be the case if sending out my writing for possible publication is any indication.
While I never had the pleasure of raising a child, preparing them for the day they would leave my protective care and nurturing, I have written many short stories and three novels. And no, they are not children; I understand the difference. However, they are my creations imbued with my DNA, and nurtured into being through painstaking hours upon hours of thoughtful, deliberate care. Therefore as I finalize the last re-writes of my novel Untying the Umbilical Cord preparing to send it out into the world of agents, publishers, and readers where it will be examined, evaluated, and appraised by people who have no investment in its future, no concern for its well being, I feel the parental pangs of fear for they have the ability to kill my baby’s future and there isn’t anything I can do about it!
At the same time, like a parent preparing for their child to leave the nest, I am also proud and confident, because I know how many years of hard work and effort have been put into my novel, always concision of the day it would no longer be in my care, but in the hands of a reader. So as I prepare for that inevitable day I am reminded of Toni Morrison’s eloquent words at the end of her novel Jazz, “Say make me, remake me. Your are free to do it and I am free to let you because look, look. Look where your hands are. Now.”
So here she is, the first three paragraphs of the Preface:
Sand shifts beneath my toes, but I can’t stand and keep my head above water. “We’re almost there,” I shout hoping to reassure the man at the other end of the strap. But there is no response and I continue dog paddling in the freezing cold Colorado River as if playing in a swimming pool instead of fighting for my life and his.
For how long I had been fighting I don’t know; forever has no measure. But it was at least that long since the river came crashing through my campground, sweeping me off of the sleeping bag I was laying on, the water as black as the night—only it was angrier, thundering through the canyon, slamming against rocks, and roaring over the landscape it picked up and took with it. At first I fought back. That is when I discovered how relentless its grip was, a ruthless hand pulling me into its depths, banging me against rocks it had successfully bullied into the rough and tumble, stair-step rapids it drug me across.
I now tug three times and wait for him to tug back. This is how we communicate, the ferocious sound of the river drowning our voices and my screams. But I feel nothing and hear nothing—not that I mind our silence so much any more; I am grateful not to be alone, to have a companion, although I don’t know anything about the stranger who in the blackness pulled me from the river’s grip and tied this long strap around my waist and his. I do know he wants me to keep moving, to find dry, solid ground, which is where I have been heading, only the river has overflowed its banks.
To be continued . . . . .????????