Books and BabiesJuly 16th, 2010 at 20:19
I linked yesterday to Tehani Wessely’s reading of my story “Relentless Adaptations” from the upcoming Twelfth Planet Press anthology Sprawl. Only commented on it in passing, because I hadn’t actually listened to it yet! But I did today, on my way to and from a baby playgroup (very appropriate) and it was so lovely to hear it!
This is a story I am especially proud of because it’s the first piece of new writing I produced after Jem was born, and like my story “The Scent of Milk” was for Raeli, it’s a story that sums up the very specific feelings of having a new baby in your life. In both cases I deliberately tried to infuse the story with as much of the crazy that was whirling in my head at the time, in order to capture the moment.
With “Scent of Milk” I was overwhelmed by the closeness with my new baby, and how quickly she seemed to change day to day. I was late in my pregnancy when the “baby Montana” kidnapping hit the news, and while the story resolved happily, I found myself obsessing about what it must be like to miss out on a few days, let alone weeks, of your baby at that age. That turned of course into a story about changelings, and a mother’s hunt to get her baby back no matter what.
This time around, my thoughts were mostly about just coping with it all: with sleep deprivation, the great sibling balancing act, and trying to get back to work. There’s also that deep suspicion that everyone else is somehow doing better at the whole parenting gig than you are… and mixed in with that was books, writing, reading, and the business. I wanted to write a near future science fiction story that predicted what bookshops might look like in five years time, once the Espresso Book Machine and print-on-demand became more readily available, while at the same time “predicting” a rather alarming result from the current literary trend of mashing up classic books with supernatural movie tropes.
It was so lovely to hear the story read today and realise that actually, it’s exactly what I wanted to do with that story, and to top it off it’s read by Tehani, who is not only a good friend, but a suburban mum who, like me, had a new baby in the last year and understands a lot of what the story is trying to do.
Books and babies, babies and books. Luckily we were born with two arms, so we can juggle both.