Twisted Garlands second edit is complete. The synopsis is done.
So why, then, am I reluctant to send it out, even for a professional critique, which I know I ought to do?
Because I’m scared. I want to hold on to it. The comparison of writing a novel with giving birth is accurate except, for me, there was no pain. I really enjoyed writing Twisted Garlands. The first edit was like bringing up the child – a bit difficult but nothing more than I could cope with.
The worst part, for me is now. I’ve raised the child. I’ve guided the teenage novel through the difficult times when my readers gave me feedback and I did a second edit. Now the fledgling is ready to be cast out into the world; just like my eldest son who has just left home.
It feels very similar, except a mother can’t really tell a 25 year old grown man that she really just wanted to keep him safe at home with her and his dad and that he needn’t have gone and got a mountain of a mortgage just because other people said to him “What? You’re still living at home with your mum and dad?”
I could do that with my book if I wanted to. I could hug it to me and keep it just for me. Safe and shielded from rejection and criticism. But I don’t think I’d be doing it justice. Exactly the same as if I’d kept my quiet, gentle son shielded from the world in the family nest, and believe me, it would only have taken one word from us and he’d have been content to carry on living here. After all, he has had his house since the beginning of May last year. Prevarication personified was Garry. He admitted that he liked living at home and didn’t really want to move out. He even talked about renting it out to cover the mortgage.
“For God’s sake, Garry,” we said, “most people your age would give their right arm to be in your position.”
He finally moved out two days before Christmas. He doesn’t have a girlfriend so he’s living alone with Barney, his labrador. I could have cried buckets when he finally went because I couldn’t bear the thought of him being lonely.
A month later he’s happy and content. We still see him every day because he brings Barney in the morning and fetches him in the evening so he’s not in the house on his own all day. He has lots of friends of both sexes and a great social life. He’s a bit hard-up, as you’d expect, but I help him out by cooking his evening meal, which he sometimes takes with him to microwave at home and sometimes eats with us. Sometimes he cooks himself if he has friends coming round.
You often have to let someone, or something, go, even though your heart is screaming out to you to keep it close. If I were to squirrel Twisted Garlands away and not let it see the light of day again I wouldn’t be doing the right thing.
Just like I wouldn’t have been doing the right thing by my son to let my heart rule my head and let him take the easy road in life.