Save The Champagne
“Denitza Blagev has a blog in the works,” I saw Lauren comment on Facebook, and until then it had not occurred to me to actually start one. We had talked about the possibility and I’ve enjoyed writing for a long time, but I took about a decade off. After medical school, I was so submerged in the intensity of medical training that I didn’t write at all. But it wasn’t really a problem of time. It was much more a problem of perspective. I was privy to the full spectrum of humanity, yet I didn’t have enough distance to say anything more than: these things happen. Then motherhood hit me, and it was another transformative experience. It was also one that rekindled the college friendship I had with Lauren, a friendship which grew over long, heartfelt transatlantic emails about the challenges and joys of the experience.
She started her blog some time before me, and I was so proud, because, well, I told her that she would write about motherhood from day one. I had a vision of Carrie Bradshaw’s “Sex and the City” tailored to “Children and Life,” but the “interweb” had changed so much since then, she didn’t even need a newspaper column.
“We are lucky we have blogs,” she said to me months later, when I was dejected about the worst kind of rejection – the one where you don’t hear back at all, until eventually it dawns on you that, no, the New York Times will not be publishing your wonderful, original, eloquent bloviation, and even worse, on second read, the piece you remembered as so spectacular, well… you can sort of see why. “It used to be, if no one picked up a piece, it just died,” she said. Well, she wrote, actually, but our multiple exchanges over texts, emails, and Facebook weave her voice through my life.
I write in a feverish “vomit on a page” sort of way and mostly, late at night, when everyone is sleeping, after the kids have been kissed, and then kissed again, for the last time. I need the quiet, but also the hours stretching ahead with no predefined end, and, always, the need to sleep offering an escape if the words don’t flow. The need to write has to eclipse this other, more basic physiologic need for sleep. I write long-winded essays and often discover what exactly it is I’m trying to say halfway through the 3,500 words. And Lauren reads them! I send them at night, when she is in the small hours of the morning in Glasgow, and by my morning, I wake up eager to see what she thought. “I LOVE it!” she may write, or “I like this, but you could…” It goes the other way, too. She is a brilliant writer, and I awaken to her essay “drafts,” which are fit for publication. We edit and shape each other’s pieces by our conversations. “You should write a post about this!” she might write back after a tirade, and offer the title, unearthing focus from the rant. “For your blog!” I might implore her on a topic.
She best understands the joys and disappointments of writing for me. The editor who wrote back “we do not accept unsolicited submissions at this time.” Ugh! But she also celebrates how a “No” that contains “very much” twice in the first sentence – once to describe enjoying the piece and once to thank me for submission – is a success! “Save the champagne for when you actually get published,” my husband might say, but until then, my reader, my friend, is always willing to celebrate.