The Book as Baby

em age fourEncouraged by my friend Janet (see her unfortunately neglected but still stellar blog, Deep Grace of Theory), I have been reading Cherishment: A Psychology of the Heartby Elisabeth Young-Bruehl and Faith Bethelard. After four hours this morning on my own manuscript (and about the same amount of time each morning this week–a record run of uninterrupted days for me), I came across this passage:

“The book made demands. It was a very greedy, eager baby, wanting our time and attention and thought, preoccupying us, getting into everything.” (26)

Heather Sellers, in her book, Chapter after Chaptermakes a similar observation. You have to reach this point with your book if you are ever going to finish it. You can’t put it down and go into another room and not return. You can’t leave the house or go on vacation and not take it with you. It’s your baby. You have to carry it with you. Young-Breuhl and Bethelard would say, You have to cherish it. Don’t say “no.” At least, don’t say no too many times. Think of it as a young, needy baby. Say yes to it.

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