PUH-LEEZE… stop it…BOOKS ARE NOT BABIES

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S S S

Gah.  I’m seeing it again.

Don’t you know that books are the author’s babies?

No. NO. NO. NO. NONONONONONO.

People who are saying this, think it through to completion.

I carried those kids in my belly for nine months, each.  This doesn’t include the child I lost halfway through my pregnancy, a child I’ll mourn for the rest of my life.

Can you say that about a book?  Well, you may work on a book a long time, but the book generally doesn’t cause morning sickness, swollen ankles, acne issues, sore breasts, hormonal swings,etc.  And while a book may suddenly just stop in the middle, many of those books can be brought back to life, if you go back to them.  You can’t say that about a lost child.

When I lost her, I grieved, cried, and was pretty much a bloody wreck for a long time. And please don’t even think about comparing a book to the loss of a child. There is no comparison.

With my other three…I’ll be a bloody wreck for the rest of my life, even as they bring me joy every single day.  I’m responsible for their well-being, for their health, for their happineness, for their safety…and…get this…I’m responsible for their actions so if they endanger others around them (this isn’t likely, but still…you get the picture, and yes, I’m responsible there, too.  Can you say that about a book?

Nope.

I labored for hours and (FYI, getting gross), flesh ripped when they were born.  Blood. Nasty stuff.  I’m a nurse, I can go into detail if you want.  Can you say that a book about a book?  We may sweat and feel like we’re losing blood, but nobody has ever had a perineal tear over a book. FYI, that link involves frank discussion about the flesh that rips during child birth.  Yep.  Rips.  People wanna keep comparing books to babies, we might as well lay it all out there.

I went through the pain of learning how to nurse… if you’ve never nursed, guess what…the first week or so usually sucks because tender flesh has to toughen up.  Do you do that with a book?  No.  But some writers probably should go through a training phase where they toughen up…it could help cut down on some of this books-are-babies crap.

I went through the long, sleepless nights as my kids were babies and when they are sick, I still do it.  When I get a call from school, I have to fight that temporary urge to panic, because…what if… and most moms can fill in that what if.  I don’t do this over books.  I panic over my career, all the time, which is why I keep my nursing license active, but still. It’s not the same as wondering…oh, hell.  Don’t let it be something bad–

I ache when they sick, I cry silently inside when they are sad.  My daughter is going through her first crush and it isn’t not going well, and my heart hurts almost like it was my first crush.    I don’t mourn for my books, even when I’m told a series is ending, the way I grieve and ache for the hurts my children get, just going through life.

I suffer through their disappointments, I cheer with their triumphs.  Their every pain is mine.  I’d take on their illnesses, I’d give up my happiness for them.  Would I do this for my books?  Hell, no.  I want my books to be my triumph, damn it.  I don’t want to give up mine for them.

I would lay down my life for my kids…and I’d do it gladly.

A book? Nope…as a matter of fact, if somebody was shooting at me, I’d gladly hold my books up and hope it may help.  Not that it would.

With a book, it goes like this.

Oh!  Shiny idea!

Write write write…oh.  This is dumb.  Stupid. I hate you. No, wait.  I love you. Oh. No.  I hate you…write, write, write.  Edit. Edit.  I HATE THIS THING.

And then?  It’s done.  And oh, wait…SHINY IDEA! And it starts again.

And in no way shape or form, would I ever die for one of my damned books.

People. Stop this shit.

It’s insulting to motherhood.

I’m a mom and I’m a writer.  I’m damned proud to call myself both.

Do I work hard at both?

Yes.

Writing is a creative endeavor that few people who aren’t writers can understand.

Likewise…motherhood is something that few who aren’t moms can truly understand, although many, many people do understand that a loving mother will happily die for her child.

I think one thing that really irks me?  You’re placing a book…an inanimate object (yes, yes, we know they have power and bring pleasure to many) but you’re saying it’s got the same value as a human life.  Um.  No.

Sorry. Insult my books all you want.  Attack my kids?  We’ve got a different fight entirely on our hands…and I fight dirty.

Books can hold up to the criticism!  Look at Shakespeare!  Look at Austin!  Books rock and it doesn’t matter if haters hate on them…let them hate.

Both are awesome. Both are precious.  But children are infinitely more so.

**After much eye-rolling… I want to add in a clarification here.  Somebody on twitter thinks I take this issue of people comparing books to babies ‘personally’ and she thinks it’s I take it as an attack on me because of the loss of my child.

Nah, I found it pretty stupid way before that and I’m fairly certain if anybody wanted to take the time to dig through yahoo groups or my blog before 2005, you could probably even find the proof of that. However, I’m too lazy to do it because it frankly doesn’t matter that much.

I’d also like to point out that I have a very dry, very sarcastic sense of humor.  Many of you who are familiar with my blog probably recognize where the humor is in this post.  If not, well, almost all of it is laughable because we’re talking about the comparisons between books and babies.

People, while I appreciate the kind words re: the loss of our little girl and while it’s still a wound, it’s also just a fact of life.  I’m pretty open about addressing things as I see them and that’s how this…I call it as I see it.  This isn’t a call for sympathy and in all honesty, I’d rather you not focus on it.  It makes it too easy for me to dwell on it and that’s not good for me.

To sum it up… here is my issue.  Too often, people use the phrase… books are the author’s babies and you shouldn’t ever say something negative.  That’s the thing… they use it to shut people up.  To keep them from voicing their opinion over fear of hurting somebody’s feelings.  Over a book.  That the author put out there for public consumption... the book is the author’s baby…you can’t say anything negative.

And to that, I go.  O.o Seriously?

11 thoughts on “PUH-LEEZE… stop it…BOOKS ARE NOT BABIES

  1. Jennifer Wilck

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! I’m sick of having to apologize to people who think I’m going to fall apart if they make an editing suggestion and I take it in stride. They look at me like I’m crazy.

    Sorry for your loss, though.

  2. Ria Boulay

    As a mom of 3 all I can say is THANK YOU! I can’t add anything more to this perfect post so I will leave it at that 🙂

  3. sooz

    I am sorry to hear of your loss. I can not imagine that pain. However, having had twins and a singleton, that is pain I can imagine!
    However, after this post, I may have the urge to put some Pampers on a few novels and place them in a bouncy seat…. LOL

  4. Diane

    You are so right! When someone says: your job comes first I say NO!!! My family comes first no matter what; yes I need my job to survive and yes I don’t take it lightly but if I get a phone call saying hubby or one of my kids is in the hospital, believe me I’ll get in my car and be there fast! They always and will always come first.

  5. Shiloh Walker Post author

    This isn’t so much about people putting books ahead of kids, guys…I truly hope no rational thinking adult would do that.

    Granted, my sense of humor is…admittedly, oddly. But this is more at’s about people who actually use this line to excuse or explain why they attack anybody who has a dissenting opinion about a book. That’s the argument that I see so often. And it’s…bleh. yep. That describes it. Bleh.

  6. Lynn R.

    You nailed it!!

    No, I’m not a mother, but I am an honourary aunt of 9, and a real aunt of 1, and I’ve been right there with the Moms of my honouraries through a lot of the pain, and I know I’m still just getting it second-hand.

    There is no way I could believe that someone’s books are their babies. The notion is simply ridiculous!!

    Later,

    Lynn

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