When someone asks me how many children I have, a small fanciful part of my mind hesitates.
For you see, I have three children who I have birthed from my body, but my novel…oh my novel, I have birthed from my mind and soul. Born from me as surely as any child of my flesh, it began, small at first, barely a flitting thought journeying across the surface of my mind until it implanted itself deep and refused to be dismissed. There, the idea gestated, building plot and character as my body once built sinew and bone.
Slowly, I worked away at it, helping it to quietly grow in the safe confines of my mind, belonging only to me, until one day, it was ready to emerge. Emerge it did, flowing forth from me as a stream of consciousness, a painful process that left me sore and tired, robbing me of sleep and consuming my life with the madness of creation. After months of difficult labour, I looked upon the face of my beautiful new child, gasping at its magnificence as I reveled in the completed story; the people, the plot, the emotions all there on the page as surely as they had once lived in my soul.
It was wondrously beautiful to me, in its mother’s eyes, but it was also misshapen, battered from its journey into the world. This was not its true face. It needed me still. My gentle hands worked to carefully smooth its lumps and bumps with nurturing caresses until, at last, I looked upon it and smiled with all the pride of a parent. It was perfect. At last, my child was ready to be shared with the world.
Joyfully, I paraded it around like a mother walking her tiny cherub in a pram, moving slowly past the neighbours so they could spy the beautiful angelic sleeping face of the baby in the buggy. “Have you read my new novel yet?” I crow to my friends and family, showing them my cover art eagerly. “Isn’t it beautiful?” I coo as my hands fondly play with the book edge.
How many children do I have? I have four children.
About the Writer: Hailing from the magnificent suburbs of Mississauga Ontario (Canada), Miriam Benarroch-Altman is a mother of three who regularly ponders the complexity of the human condition. A storyteller who craves connection, Miriam uses both images and words to draw readers into the labyrinth of her mind.