Monday, July 25, 2011

When The Cord Falls Off

Someday I swear I'm going to write again.  Just like someday I'm going back to work.  Although the latter is more from necessity than desire.  Believe me, I'm putting it off as long as possible.  My boy is 17 days old now, and his life force has sucked my energy.  I take back everything I ever said about overwhelmed parents.  Not that I would trade it for anything.  But it occurred to me the other day, when the remnants of Elliot's umbilical cord finally fell off, he had, in a way, graduated to new level of babyhood.

His new-newborn diapers were designed to avoid touching the cord.  No longer necessary.  With the cord gone, he could now get wet, and so he had his first bath.  His weight is increasing.  He's holding his head up more, at least trying to with some success.  Today, he looked at me cross-eyed a couple of times.  A sign he was trying to focus on me, perhaps?

My point is, passing the umbilical cord milestone lead to a great many new experiences.  I expect there will be plenty more, but I also thought about it in terms of writing. 

We writers start out just like newborns.  Perhaps not all, but most of us probably composed some pretty poor prose in the beginning.  We, too, needed our cords to fall off before we improved.  A writer's cord may come off in any number of ways and I'm far too sleep-deprived to list them all.  Perhaps it comes from a stinging first critique, or even better, a gushing-with-praise critique.  Or a first rejection letter.  Or, for the younger set, a certain grade in school.  Whatever form it takes, that first milestone ultimately teaches us to be better writers.

I've grown substantially as a writer, and I have the proof.  I've saved every horrible draft of every document I've ever written. Not just because I may have had a better idea way back when, but, delusional as I am, I envision the writing museum of the future, with my own wing and people agape over varying versions of my most famous works, finally made public.

Of course I have a ways to go.  And a bit more sleep may clear that nonsense from my head.  Still I've got an upcoming writer's cord moment, which I will announce in the near future.  After which, I, and my son, will continue to grow.

What about you?  When did your writer's cord fall off?


Regina said...

I think that this will be a long process for me as I slowly develop and grow as a writer. Great analogy.

Jeanne said...

OK so if you have a writer's cord, what was it attached to? That is what I want to know.
Is cutting the cord like cutting the apron strings? When the ms is ready to go out? Or for some people is it just letting other people read their work? Tough question.

April said...

Very cool analogy there! My cord fell off after I finished my first full-length (horrible) novel and read PLOT AND STRUCTURE. I learned so much from that book, so much I thought I knew but didn't. After reading that, the more and more I wrote, the better I got.

It's exciting to see you growing as a daddy, and I can't believe your baby's already 17 days old!

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you the Brilliant Writer Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

Go to and pick up your award.