A book launch may require lift-off, but launching does not mean giving birth. 

Getting a book out into the world, it must be launched into orbit. A book wants to pass beyond your circle of friends and family to reach a wider audience. But first, a novel begs to be born.

Male authors often repeat a terrible fallacy. We have a tendency to talk about the labor of writing a novel and giving birth to a book.  

Publishing a book is nothing like the labor of birth. I watched my daughter being born and there is no comparison. I still exist in those moments. It’s not a memory, I close my eyes and it becomes the present . . . watching fear roil through the face of my daughter’s mother, feeling powerless to stop her pain. Serving only as a witness, and with the first cry of new life comes utter relief, only to learn that the life of a parent is a life of worry.    

Maybe pushing a book out is a great effort and at times painful, but comparable to birth?  About as similar as the space shuttle launch is to throwing a rock up into the air. 

But it may be similar in one way. The book launch was not done alone, all my friends and family helped carry the book into fruition. They stood around and watched me deliver. My family cried joyful tears as I passed it around the room at the book signing. Afterwards, we smoked cigars and hugged.  

And with the lift-off concluded this past weekend, I am now shedding the excess weight. The placenta of doubt has been left behind and the novel has a life of its own.  

See what I’ve done? Too many images of birth, yet I can’t help it.  Ever since Julia Alvarez told me when she saw my book for the first time, “I want to hold your baby.”  But men will never know the power of giving birth, which may be why we court death instead.  We compare any great personal accomplishment to the miracle of life. It’s a sad theft.

But I do feel lighter. As if I’ve delivered a heavy missive. Unburdened.