"...the Uncertainty Principle says something very simple: the act of measuring something changes the result of that measurement. Heisenberg showed that simultaneously determining both the position of an electron and the speed at which it is moving is impossible. If you can measure its speed accurately, that measurement will itself make its location wildly uncertain. And vice versa."
[Note: I am currently working on a book that examines how women make decisions about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. Regardless of the ultimate choice or the reasons for their dilemma, I'm interested in the cultural, religious, familial, medical, and societal influences that go into the process of making such a difficult decision in a short period of time]
Last week I avoided my book. I'd become stuck, not with the writing, but with where to go from here. I had completed the interviews but I'm not ready to write them yet - I have to let them sit together in my head. I need the stories and feelings to soak down into the pores of my brain so that I can honor them by feeling them wick down through my fingertips onto the keyboard. That leaves the facts. The statistics. The research.
I procrastinated last week, justifying it by telling myself I needed an agent or an editor to help me decide how much hard data to include. I don't want to taint the individual stories with black and white, numbers and percentages, but I have to provide some background. I put it off because I don't know how to get an editor. Don't know if I want an agent. Don't know who I can trust with this book that has been my passion for over a decade. I can't share this with just anyone.
Two days ago I jumped in to the research anyway, reasoning that I'd fill my head with the information and sort it out as it felt right. The process gave me energy, as it has from the beginning. I'm so frightened that I won't tell the stories right, that I won't be able to accurately convey the raw honesty entrusted to me by these courageous women I interviewed. The only balm is the actual work. I just have to get messy and see what happens.
The problem with statistics and measurements is that as soon as they are touched by human hands and hearts and agendas, they are skewed. I want so much to not have an agenda, some preconcieved notion that all readers must embrace by the time they reach the last page. My hope is that these stories will illuminate the struggle, the fear, the pain, and the joy of having the freedom to make a difficult choice for one's self regardless of the decision. I am excited about this book, but afraid that I can't do it justice. So for now, I'll just keep working and try to trust that the fire burning inside of me will point the way.