The mind works in mysterious ways. Last week, I was thinking about how social media is enabling us to share our most fragile moments; specifically, I was thinking about how girls and women are increasingly sharing personal thoughts coping and living with mental health issues and PTSD, exposing their raw scars and their fragile souls. I had a plan to write about it in my journal to explore it and see where it takes me. I opened my journal and wrote on the top of the page the word FRAGILE.
But what came out on paper is something completely different, and I am sharing it here with you not because I think it’s great writing; no. It’s only an exercise, a raw fragment that is not even self-contained. I’m sharing it with you to give you an example of the writing process. I have copied it here exactly as I wrote it longhand in my journal.
Well, childbirth. You know, what you watch in movies – the moment you give birth you forget the pain, because you fall in love with your baby immediately? Well, don’t let that fool you. It’s all one big lie. To keep women getting pregnant.
What they don’t tell you.
The messiness of the whole giving birth business.
The ugliness of it.
The cutting up of your vagina if the head is too big.
Then the sewing up – without any anesthesia, mind you – and you feeling the thread as it goes in, out, in, out.
But the messiest part is that bundle of a human that came out of you, smeared in all sorts of fluids. Then, to make mother-baby bond – they place this tiny human on your chest, with all these fluids covering the tiny body.
And then the little human poops on you. A brownish-green poop.
So, there you have it. Childbirth.
Sometimes, we have an idea, but we don’t write it down. We say, I’ll write it down later, after I’ve thought about it deeper. But what happens when we sit down to write longhand and in a free-form before we had the chance to fully digest the idea and plan a whole essay in our minds? Almost always, I’m surprised at what comes out, because it’s almost never what I have set to write originally. This usually happens when I write longhand as opposed to typing up on my word processor.
So what do I do with this fragment about childbirth? For now, I have a few directions. As my current novel-in-progress has several background female characters with different stories, I’m going to play around with this idea and see if I can integrate it into one of the character’s stories in some form or another. It will probably undergo massive editing. I might only use a couple of sentences from it, just to give the sense of the childbirth experience, maybe through a dialogue segment.
What about the original idea? For now, it’s written down in my journal as an idea for a piece of writing, maybe an essay. When the time is right, it will be there waiting for me, so I haven’t lost any ideas.
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