It’s a strange thing, birthing a book. At times I’ve felt like Kit here, absolutely committed, but wondering if I’m not fully aware of the extent of the ambition.
There’s times I thought I should just quit. Aren’t there enough books in the world? What do I have to add?
I’ve also given a lot of my power away, expecting others to understand (and validate) my vision, and when they didn’t, I took this as proof that the book should be shelved.
And yet… the story keeps calling me back, a new idea forms, a problematic narrative arc resolves itself, a specific characteristic asks to be revealed.
I said to a friend a few years ago that I was still becoming the person who could write the book I wanted to write. I couldn’t rush that, so spent a long time understanding what that truly means, and then a lot more time unpicking my sense of self-worth from the capitalist model of success.
You see, even when I throw in the towel I seem to keep writing, whether on here, or in poems, or the novel, it’s something I do every day. It’s an unconscious action that facilitates my existence, like breathing.
I’m working with a copy editor just now and have felt surprised that this process is highlighting the different people I was as I wrote this novel over the past six years. Which I suppose is partly the point, the titular character has my initials, not because I’m specifically like her, but because we women have the capacity to be all women, to be everywoman (and I mean this in a completely inclusive way – if you say you’re a woman then you are one).
Like Walt Whitman said, I am large, I contain multitudes. Or the glorious poetic celebration of womanhood ‘Fast Speaking Woman’ by the utterly wonderful Anne Waldman in which she embodies the many kaleidoscopic and disparate aspects of womanhood.
I hope my book captures some of this, and that it speaks to those who, like me, experience the world through a slightly different lens.
The Madness of Sara Mansfield (the first book in The MthR Trilogy) will be available in digital format from my website, May 2021.