I was thrilled when my story ‘Now we are ten’ was chosen to be published in the issue of Sein & Werden by the same name. Sein & Werden is a fabulous surrealist/existentialist/expressionist publication that appeals to my philosophical leanings.
To read the story just head on over to Sein & Werden!
Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.
Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Sein & Werden before reading the notes.
About ‘Now we are ten’
Being as this was Sein & Werden’s tenth anniversary, they wanted stories entitled ‘Now we are ten’. Prompts are an interesting thing and I have a tentative relationship with them. Mostly I ignore them, but in the case of this magazine, I loved the call to arms for surrealists and I knew I must take up the challenge.
To be honest I’m not actually sure where this story came from exactly, it was one of those things that just sort of sprang from my forehead fully formed, but I do know the thought behind it (in hindsight at least). As I’ve gotten older there is a lot of talk of children around me. People having babies, people talking about whether Ben and I will ever have babies, Ben and I talking about whether Ben and I will ever have babies. The answer is no, we will never have babies. The reasons are too numerous to count. But this story alludes one of them.
I feel as though wanting children is a primordial response. Something that our monkey brains tell us we want. I have never been one to want to listen to my monkey brain though. I often notice people having babies for instinctual reasons, but there is also another reason I see sometimes that disturbs me: having babies to fill a void.
I wanted to explore the idea of making a child your entire life in order to have a life. Some people feel an emptiness and I get it; life is tough, lonely, harsh and absurd. But bringing a child into the world to give the parent’s life meaning has always seemed like worrisome proposition. In this story I hoped to convey the sense of the loss of self that occurs when the child, the centre of the parent’s life, grows up and goes out into the world. What is left of the parents? How can we make sure parents have full, rich lives of their own so they don’t get left in this position? I would hope people find their own meaning in life before trying to fill that void with a kid, because once the kid is gone they will simply be back to square one.