I feel pregnant, uncomfortably so, though at 65 and with no hormones left to speak of, I know that's not what ails me. The publication of my second book, a memoir, is imminent. The current "due date" is June 1.
My symptoms are a lot like those I experienced when I was nine months pregnant with my last child, twenty years ago. I'm in a limbo state, alternating between excitement and anxiety, ravenous hunger and digestive stupor, spurts of productivity and longer spurts of twiddling my thumbs waiting for something, anything, to happen.
Like pregnancy, publishing a book is not something that happens to me very often. The babies arrived once a decade, three times (in my twenties, thirties and forties). I published my first book at 61, with a small press
(The Reluctant Artist, 2015). I'm hoping for at least 20 productive years to come. But there's no telling what the future holds.
When I was a little girl, I never dreamed of having scads of kids, or any kids really (children frightened me; they're so unpredictable). I'm now grateful I did and can't imagine life without them. I did dream of being an author and of one day finding a shelf of books with my name on their spines in the local library. A book or two doesn't exactly constitute a row or a shelf. Still, I'm grateful to be here, where I am, right now. I got a late start, but there's that old chestnut I don't need to repeat.
If not now, when? That was the mantra that finally got me going.
This is not nothing. Life. Family. Friends. Words. Books. Readers.
So here I sit, pregnant with a book. Gray Is The New Black: A Memoir of Self-Acceptance
(Otis Books, June 2019). And, yeah, it's a lot like my last birth, at 45. Perhaps because, just like then, I feel as if there's a lot at stake. This new memoir is more personal, closer to the heart and bone, than anything I've published before.
As Tom Petty so wisely said, the waiting is the hardest part. It's terrifying and exhilarating.
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.