See that gummy little pirate? Without him, I probably wouldn't be a writer.
I mean, before him, I blogged and did reviews and wrote snappy copy for brochures. But I never thought I was capable of writing an actual novel until he was about 9 months old.
And that's when I went crazy.
Why? Oh, lots of reasons. The constant demands of two children under three, the lack of sleep, the nighttime hallucinations.
That's right-- my first viable book was inspired by HALLUCINATIONS.
I was in the dark, trying to coax him to sleep, when I hallucinated that there were rats in the house who were actually tiny, magical, terrible people.
So I wrote it, because when you're so sleepy that you're hallucinating, sometimes you forget what is and is not possible. I had forgotten my limits. I had forgotten the fear of failing. I accepted that things were going to be messy and strange for a while, and that book became my path to sanity.
That's the book that attracted my agent, and that's the agent who sold my next book.
My son is almost four now, and I've written ten books since the day that picture was taken. I write when my children are asleep, when they're at school, when they're crouched under a blanket fort, watching Happy Feet on a portable DVD player. My writing may have grown out of a moment of weakness and, yes, madness. But it's become a career and part of my identity. Now, I don't know what I would do without it.
Everyone has a breaking point, and for me, it was lying awake at night beside a restless baby, crying on his bald little head, trying to figure out how to be a mother when I couldn't function as a person. Writing became my island, my escape. It gave me something to focus on outside of myself and my children and my family. I think everyone needs that island.
The next step will be writing a book my children can actually read, preferably something with a cover that doesn't include a half-naked dude.
And the dedication will read:
To my own favorite monsters, who started everything.
I helped make you, and then you helped make me. With thanks and love, Mom.