Longreads is proud and excited to announce that one of our writers, Meaghan O’Connell, has sold a book to Little, Brown. We published Meaghan’s epic 14,248-word account of going into labor and giving birth, “A Birth Story,” last November, and it quickly became our most popular story of the year.
Meaghan shared the announcement with us, which was published in Publishers Marketplace:
A huge congrats to Meaghan! We’re looking forward to seeing And Now We Have Everything in bookstores.
I did not know who Leslie Jamison was before I read her essay “Empathy Exams” late one night at the pie shop that I use as an office when the library is closed. I was hungry, and it was dark out, and I was very pregnant and needed to get home. But I stayed in that uncomfortable chair and read it the whole way through, bursting with excitement. I G-chatted friends in all caps asking them if they’d read it. I Googled her, saw she had a book coming out, and floated home feeling like, “Yes, let’s do this. Let’s write some fucking personal essays, people!” I think Jamison, especially here, convinced or re-convinced a lot of people of the possibilities and the value of writing in the first person. Of course I think it’s horse shit that it takes a white lady with a veneer of intellectualism to make it okay, but I’ll take it where I can get it. Jamison, for her part, rises to the occasion. She certainly reminded me to hang onto the art of the thing, all the while going deeper, letting the problem of whatever you’re trying to do take up its own space. Read more…
It was Monday, June 2nd, and I was wide awake at 6 a.m. Maybe to some of you this hour doesn’t sound remarkable, but for me it was. It was the first day in a lifetime of six in the mornings, and I made the three-hour leap all in one go.
By this point, it was 10 days past my due date, and I had a very specific and recurring fantasy of being moved around town in a hammock flown by a helicopter. I wanted to be airlifted between boroughs.
When I told my fiancé, Dustin, this wish, he was quiet for a second. He had learned to reply to me with caution, but I imagine in this case he just couldn’t help himself.
“Like a whale?” he asked.
I laughed, standing on the curb somewhere. Actually yes, come to think of it: Like a whale.
On the morning of June 2nd I had been waking up “still pregnant” for quite some time—41 weeks and two days to be exact; 289 days. My mom was in town already, at an Airbnb rental a block away. Dustin was done with work. I was chugging raspberry red leaf tea, bouncing on a purple exercise ball whenever I could, shoving evening primrose oil pills up my vagina, paying $40 a pop at community acupuncture sessions I didn’t believe in, and doing something called “The Labor Dance.” The Dance (preferred shorthand) involves rubbing your belly in a clockwise direction—vigorously—and then getting as close to twerking as one can at 41 weeks pregnant.