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Monday, June 14, 2010

Finally, Unstuck the Stuck Part By Giving Birth.

Getting unstuck is hard! I have been trying to write a certain scene for months. Actually, longer; much, much longer.

Turns out the answer was not to face it alone.

It has one of those write what you know moments (years), but what I knew about this particular event was absolutely nothing. I was there but not in anyway I would ever remember.

This past weekend was spent in, the Catskill Mountains. The old Borscht Belt as it was known, in the early to mid part of the last century. It is where she met my birthfather and well from their monikers, I’m sure you get the picture.

My birth mother was recently diagnosed with stage-four bone cancer. Since it had been a while, I wanted the kids to see her before her hair fell out, so they had a clear picture of her in their heads to remember. Photos of this time with her will also help. What is so amazing about this woman is that she is one of the most positive people I know. Even after the hard, sad life she’s led. Giving up a baby for adoption at sixteen was something she never recovered from. It has affected her her entire life. But she tells me, “Finding you eighteen years ago was like winning the lottery.” She really is my biggest fan, my flaws and all.

So writing the scene where my MC is giving birth knowing she is supposed to give the baby up was like looking into a black hole. Dark and empty. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time. I had given birth to two children, watched numerous litters of puppies being born, seen a horse calve, I have even watched as a giraffe gave birth. Birth shouldn’t be so hard to describe.

A while back, I was at the inaugural Falling Leaves Novel Writing retreat and Sarah Shumway was speaking. Something she said triggered the reason why I could not write the scene.

DUH! Why hadn’t I seen that it was really all about me writing about me being born and then being given up – not something anyone wants to admit to themselves still hurts forty-something years later! Like I said, “Duh!”

Okay, so after that huge “AHA” moment, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the reason for my writing black hole, but knowing the big reason for the holdup wasn’t getting me to complete the fifth, and I mean thrown-it-away-four-times-prior-and-rewrite-the-entire-manuscript, because of THIS issue. Because I always got stuck here before and thought it was the writing, not the scene. So how to get through the black hole and have a completed manuscript?

Because even at forty-eight your mother’s cancer makes you feel like your are being abandoned again. The real reason for going to see her.

However, this time, writing the scene was different. That woman, the one that has the most amazing, most positive outlook on everything, she talked and loved me through it. YES SHE DID!

This morning I am cruising to the completion line.

Thanks, mom!


  1. Wow, I'm completely inspired to get moving myself this morning. I often think with writing you need to go out and live and then go back to the work. It's so easy to just sit in front of a computer screen....

    You birth mom sounds like a brave and lovely woman. I wish her the best.

  2. This is wonderful, Joyce! And this post was great. I am sorry about your mom, but what a wonderful moment you had together breaking through this block!