I have been writing, in amongst the daily mess of kids and a household and work. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I have been. The collection of essays I wanted to put out has grown, and of the twenty-five I want to include, all but seven have been drafted. There are fifteen unpublished essays in this collection (that’s where all my writing has been going) and ten of my favourites from this blog here, all of them following the first five years of pregnancy and motherhood in another language and culture.
This project has one through a few changes. Initially, I wanted to put out another collection of essays that dealt with what had begun to interest me with the birth of my first child: changing identity, the similarities between migration and motherhood, the distinct oddness of creating a family far from the one you come from. I considered pitching it to publishing houses and while putting together a proposal, had a friend look over it. She suggested changing the format into a narrative-driven memoir, which I then created a proposal for. I sent it out a few times, had it rejected the same number of times, and lying in bed one night realised: this wasn’t a narrative-driven memoir project. In creating a narrative, I had lost my voice. Back to essays. Essays are notoriously difficult to get published – now, no one wants to publish me anyway, so that’s not too much of a deterrent – so I knew that I’d be going through a self-publishing platform to get these out into the world. I tried a platform that is more like a combination of brick and mortar and self-publishing, but they didn’t want it either.
Rejection and writing are simply part of the same parcel. In many ways, rejection is a good thing: it helps hone a project, helps thicken your skin. It also forces you to verbalise, fully, unabashedly, why you write. So why do I write? The same reason I always have: therapy, making sense of it all, creating something beautiful or sad with a string of perfectly-placed words. Because you read it and then you write to me and say, ‘that is exactly how it feels.’ Because when I write it down, I get that feeling too.
I’ve always used this blog as a way of making myself write, keeping the muscle mildly fit. And in doing so, along the way, I have gathered a readership I am wildly grateful for. I am read and considered no matter how I write or how I publish and that is both a privilege and a fundament of this entire part of who I am.
So, bear with me. I am so close to finishing a collection of stand-alone essays about language and family and feeling foreign and navigating culture and birth simultaneously and raising my children on the other side of the planet. And when I am finished, they’ll need a beautiful cover and I’ll bind them somewhere and put them out in the world. See where they go.