17 January 2009

Book and untrusworthy belly

Last night was difficult.

I'd been cruising along, writing some very deep and involved writing with my favorite writer-friend, when my ten-month-old daughter started crying in her crib. Curious, I swept aside the fantasy of fiction to venture into the darkness where she lay. I felt her head and neck, as I always do to reassure her that she's not alone, and I felt wet.

She'd vomited in her sleep and rolled in it. Alarmed, I turned on the light, and pulled her out of that acidic mess (her sheets were oozing with it), and took her straight to the bathtub. She was shaking and crying, as if she didn't understand why her trusty belly had betrayed her. I washed her down with considerable difficulty and rolled her in two towels, holding her close to me.

Following that, she threw up five more times. No fever. No other symptoms; she even smiled when her father returned from his bi-weekly D&D game. She tried to play, and eventually, surrendered to the growing fatigue that was understandable at 2 am.

It brought back memories of when I was a little girl, and sick, and not knowing why. Dad was always there, smelling of fresh soap, rubbing my back, offering water after I was ill in the toilet. He was always there. And, I realized, so would I be for my baby. Things that would normally sicken me are brushed aside in favor in her welfare. Things I never knew I was capable, such as staying up until 4 am when I'd already put in a full day's work, only to be awakened at 7:30 am to start my next day, with or without sleep.

I started reading a book for real, Duma Key, by Stephen King. I don't know what it is about his work, but it always makes me think about the Way Things Work a little differently, even if for just a little while. This novel is no different, and I think I see what they mean by a writer only gets better and better as they age. His voice has gotten clearer, as he's tossed all ordinary rules out the window. To write an entire book in 90% interior dialogue is at the very least, a considerable feat. To make me believe in this character, to think I could fly out to the Florida Keys and Edgar Freemantle would be there, doing his daily walk down the beach, is unthinkable.

This, my friends, is what I'm talking about when I say be a real writer. Not just tell a story. Be a story. Be that man, feel that missing right arm itching and burning. See that canvas as you begin to paint a very clear picture of someone who has never existed.

The baby sleeps peacefully now, although she's shunned food today. I can imagine why. Everything is a potential recall of what came up last night. I'll curl up with my softcover book, hang out in Eddie's head, and keep my baby safe and warm.


Grégoire said...

I read Duma Key a couple of years ago. It was pretty interesting, as King's books go. I think they've got better with time (or perhaps I'm just less picky and pretentious about my reading material).

Unknown said...

You're not less picky. His voice has gotten clearer. I think even he admitted his tendency to overwrite things. I really admire how he can make the most mundane things in life remarkable.