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Monday, September 1, 2008

A Feel-Good Day

Good Morning KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

I need to add "Laugh" and "Write" to my KuKd Healing Strategies and here's why.

As some of you already know, I decided at some point that losing a four-month fetus and a Real Baby consecutively is so horrid and shocking that it's just plain hilarious. Even funnier is how the human brain works, the ways in which we process grief and loss, the weird-ass things we do and say and think when faced with unthinkable trauma. Now there's a topic that "hasn't been sufficiently mined for laughs," as my friend Hardin puts it.

So sometime during a positively crotch-bruising horseback ride about four months after I'd expelled my own dead child, it hit me: I have a story, and I need to write a book. Not just any old boo-hoo book, but a humorous memoir of pregnancy and infant loss.

I was rather frightened by my own idea, which seemed - and still seems - incredibly dangerous. If I am to tell my story fairly, I have to do so with brutal honesty. But what if I ruin myself by revealing my deepest, darkest, most make-fun-of-able KuKd thoughts and behaviors? What if I offend people by making light of dead babies? What if I'm a bad writer? What if I get rejected? What if my story sucks? What if I don't even have a story?

But I knew that digging into this wretched topic in search of humor was my calling, because it is, in fact, my nature to laugh so hard at life that I just about pee myself (which, in fact, nowadays I sometimes do, thanks to that dead baby and the serious muscle-weakening that accompanied him). And so I created a new Microsoft Word folder entitled "Monica's Prego Loss Book," saved it on the desktop or our beat-up laptop, and started writing and writing and writing.

And, 50,000 words into my memoir and nearing the point of submitting it to some agents, it IS a roller coaster ride, peppered with ego-shattering moments. Take last month, for instance, when I read what I thought was an okay chapter out loud to some friends, and afterward got nothing but blank stares and a suggestion that I might be overusing the word "compelled." That's it - not a single "wow" or "that's great" or "I like the part where" blah-blah. Nothing. Were they offended by the part about wearing my sports bra on my first day of work, just in case my body decided to go into spontaneous dairy mode during our faculty meeting? Were they shocked speechless by the sheer badness of my writing? Kevin did tell me later that it "wasn't one of my best," which I guess made me feel better. Sort of.

But then, I have moments like this. Today, a little piece of my book - a tiny little window into my story - got published in Mamazine. It's the first time I've ever been published, and it gives me hope and courage to keep going with my book project. For if people think it's OK for me to intermix the topics of stillbirth and farting in the same written piece, then I'm figuring it's kosher to keep writing my book. And if I'm sent to hell for daring to find humor in dead babies and fetuses, well, so be it. I'm just going to keep puking out that story until it's told, and hope that somebody believes in me enough to publish it.

Here I am, naked and exposed, and it feels good! A feel-good day. My story is called "Motherly:" http://www.mamazine.com/Pages/feature120.html

Whatever your story may be, write it down. And if you're feeling brave, put it out there for others to read. Trust me - it's a cool feeling.

5 comments:

Katie said...

Wow Monica I loved it! You're an amazing writer!!!! I can't WAIT to read it!

rachel collins said...

Monica,
You are a great writer! Stuart forwarded me your article and I have been looking at your blog and it is/ you are amazing.
I get the sense that you're not just writing to heal, but also for the people who read what you write.
I could see myself possibly writing a very-long-catharsis kind of thing, but I'd for sure be too lazy to keep up with a blog, especially while travelling and drinking beer and spending time with friends, so kudos to you for that, too.
I hope you guys have been really enjoying all the cool places you've been seeing, and having a great summer all in all.
We think about you guys a lot. Come visit us.
Rachel

eggorchicken said...

You really are a very good writer, and I love the idea of a KuKd book. Maybe add a chapter on your new dictionary? Or maybe that can be a whole separate book!

sharonvw said...

Mon, its beautifully written, so don't doubt your ability there. It made me want to laugh my arse off while sobbing from deep within all at the same time! My friend, Tertia (www.soclose.org.za) wrote a book about her journey as well, perhaps you should read it. I read it in one morning, laughed so hard I wet myself and cried so much I turned tissue's to mushy piles of mush.

Monica LeMoine said...

Eggorchicken - YES to the vocab chapter idea!

Shaz - YES I will read your friend's book. Sounds lovely, and I definitely need all the help in "wetting myself" I can get.

K&R - thanks for the kudos!