I find that novels are just like children: we conceive them with much passion; we nourish them during their gestation with tender love; and when the stork finally arrives, we give them birth with pain and joy. Then we polish them, with infinite patience and perseverance, preparing them for the real world – a task that could take years! Finally, when the time comes, we bless them and say our goodbyes.
That last step is definitely the most difficult for me. It makes me sad and apprehensive to let my novels go, which is why I often keep writing chapters that add nothing to the story (and that my editor almost always takes out). I proloooooong and avoid the last period as much as I can. My boyfriend Gabo (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) has always said that novels are never finished but simply abandoned. He is so right! And perhaps that is the problem; I, being the typical Latino mother, simply cannot abandon my children – neither the ones made of paper, nor the ones made of bone and flesh. If you don’t believe me, ask my daughters-in-law. Luckily for me, they both have Latina hearts. So they understand.
I have a feeling, however, that this, the third time, will be easier for me to let go. I now realize that each novel has its own destiny; that each brings about important lessons, a fun adventure that must continue with you, my readers, and without me, the author. I also understand that when a child leaves the nest, it means that another child is coming. Yes. I am perpetually pregnant. I have a huge, happy belly, full of stories and novels to write.
To tell the truth, this time around I feel more curiosity than apprehension. I am dying to know what will happen with this novel. Her oldest sister found a publisher right away and got married. Her middle sister went far with prestigious awards, which got the attention of matchmakers. They came quickly, eager to find her good suitors. But this daughter’s beauty is unique. And she is fiercely independent. She was not willing to change her looks to conform to anybody’s idea of beauty. Today she is happily exploring the world on her own terms, without ties, and in the company of those who do appreciate her gifts.
We shall see what happens with the youngest child. She has been a blast! My Oaxacan adventure – she is dressed in her colorful huipil and has a sweet temperament, sweeter than the foam of whipped hot chocolate. I shall miss her but I will not be sad, for guess what? The stork has prematurely delivered a handful of babies – children's stories! A bunch of bilingual, little brats! They are happy, innocent and busy, so busy they wear me out… The good news is that I will NEVER have to let them go. They come in a series, one right after another, jumping and cracking POP!, like popcorn.
I find that children’s stories are just like grandchildren: simply delicious.