Posted in Writing Life

*Draft 9 and Sewing

Two weeks ago, I started draft 9. The cuts are done, the joints smoothed out. Now I have several new chapters to write and some delicate fine tuning. Slow work.

This is why I’m blogging less often and late to comment (if at all) on other people’s blogs. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. Yesterday I jumped up in the middle of supper to run upstairs and write notes before I forgot what I was thinking. This morning I got off the ice and clumped over to the snackbar. There I borrowed a pen and wrote notes on a napkin, stuck it in my pocket and went back to skating.

But this afternoon, I was totally absorbed in sewing. Well, totally, except for helping one child with math homework and the other child with math and social studies. (I sent them upstairs to solicit help from A so I could sew obliviously for a while.)

I meant to make a scarf out of old clothes but the fabric had other plans. Instead it turned into a drawstring bag, which my younger daughter is now using to hold a magic wand and a pillow for one of her stuffies. I have to say that she designed the pillow herself, using her own magic brain and hand sewing while I made the bag.

Here is daughter (back view for safety) and the bag in our hallway:

And here’s a closer view of the bag and the pillow (she even made a pillow case for it).

In the change room after skating, I had a chat with a couple of women about my comfortable recreational skates. It turned out that one of the women, whose skating I’ve admired for several years (but whom I hadn’t recognized), interviewed me about eleven years ago when The River Midnight was published.

That was before children, before skating, before sewing and knitting, before we owned this house.

While sewing the pillow, my younger daughter had a conversation with me about her birth parents. I said that I’m sure they would be happy to know how much she is loved. Except that I had trouble finishing the sentence. I don’t cry over tragedy. I am experienced with stoicism. But this brought uncontrollable tears to my eyes: all of this, which came after my first novel was published, which I could not foresee, but was dreaming into being.

You can see it in The River Midnight, if you read the last chapter. The great-granddaughter of the midwife is praying with her husband, holding her children close. She is named as myself.

And I wrote that before I met A. The very summer before I met him. I wrote it a twenty hour drive from here, in the peace of the country, dreaming my life into being.

I had no idea. I wrote to myself over and over that summer: the path is clear. I didn’t know what it meant.

Here we are.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

9 thoughts on “*Draft 9 and Sewing

  1. Nine drafts and you’re still writing wholly new material… That’s dedication! (Although, as I’ve noted before, I do so much redrafting as I write that my ‘second draft’ may not resemble anyone else’s concept of a second draft.) Buying your books is on my January to-do list… I’ll be interested to reread your blog once I’ve read them. PS all children deserve no more or less than to be totally loved – and your love for yours always shines through your words 🙂

  2. I love this story…and I can understand the emotion inspired by your daughters questions. Whenever I think about my god-daughter’s birth mother in China, I get teary eyed. I wish she knew how happy her little one is.

  3. Rachel, I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. And absolutely yes every child deserves to cherished. The love I feel for my children eases the knowledge I personally have of what it’s like not to be.

    Litlove, I wonder if they will or if they’ll just roll their eyes, LOL. It’s hard to tell with kids.

    Dorothy, thanks, I am working hard and in the midst now of it feeling daunting. I expect that will pass when I move on from interviews to writing again.

    Di–I think that’s why I’m attracted to magical realism. It captures the wonders I can’t express with my feet on the ground.

    Beth, it’s both exciting and terrifying to see the end approaching!

  4. I AM going to read this one day. I asked for your books for Christmas, but I think not the right people soon enough.

    I love your daughter’s tights. So cute on her. And I’m totally impressed with all the sewing and designing!

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