Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sending Our Babies Out Into The World

Some of you may have heard in recent weeks that I'm currently fostering a mother cat and her five kittens. As the kittens grow and develop personalities, as I tend to feeding, nurturing and cleaning up after five babies, I've grown hopelessly attached to those five precious kittens. But there's just no way I can keep them. I already have three inside cats, two turtles, and two stray "outside" cats that I care for (including the mother cat who will be spayed before she goes back outside!). So I'm faced with the fact that in the next couple of says, I'll have to send my babies out into the world to new homes. Saying goodbye will not be easy.
What does this have to do writing or Casablanca books, you ask? Well, I think if you asked any author how they feel when they finish writing a book, package it up and send it off to their editor, they'll admit to a bit of sadness along with the relief of finishing. A writer can't spend weeks, months, sometimes a year or more, working on a book, invested in the characters' lives and emotions, immersed in the setting and conflict, and drawing from that mystical creative spring in their souls without forming an attachment to the book that is akin to a parent's love for a child. While we know we are sending our books off to new homes with readers where others can share in the stories we've created and love, there's a melancholy that comes with letting go, a trepidation of how they'll be received. Just as I worry what will become of my kitty babies, if the homes I find for them will really be loving, authors worry "Will a reviewer say my baby's ugly? Will a copy editor tear it to shreds?"
It's a hazard of the profession. The passion that allows us to bring our stories and characters to life also means we feel a loss when the books are sent out the door. We are the parents sending their teenager off to college. The mother bird nudging her chick out of the nest. The tenderhearted foster mom placing her kittens in a new home.
So have you ever felt this "empty nest" melancholy when you completed a project, be it a book, a painting, or ...whatever? Other than children and pets, what projects do you grow attached to and find it hard to say goodbye?
Beth Cornelison


  1. I don't find it difficult to say goodbye, but I don't like it when someone rips it to shreds, no matter who is doing the shredding! Like you said, it's my baby!

  2. That's so true... I definitely get the blues when I finish and send off a book. Good to know I'm not the only one.

    But those kittens!!! How cute are they?

  3. The kittens are adorable, Beth! Oh, I would soooo want to keep all of them. Good luck on finding homes and keeping the tears at bay when you wave good-bye.

    I think I am a bit like Cheryl. It feels good to send the finished product away because I am always pleased with what I have done and can't wait for my readers to see it! The sadness is in knowing it will be many months before those who love it WILL be able to read it and in knowing that too many others will spoil the joy. In that sense my novels are my babies and I don't want anyone telling me they are ugly. LOL!

  4. Donna-Aren't they sweet?
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Sorry I was late with my post all. Trauma and drama around our house all weekend... I just forgot. Never even made it to my computer.
    Beth C