An interview with the anonymous author of A Good Egg about “mother fudgers,” best friends and the vulnerability of writing in the Internet era.
What prompted you to write A Good Egg?
I wanted to write about what it’s like to use an egg donor for a few reasons. First of all, it was an amazing experience once I learned how to get out of my own way and stop trying to control every part of the process. I couldn’t be more in love with my daughter, and having her has changed my view on what it means to have a child. I’ve come to realize the mother-child love knows no bounds, and that includes genetics. Beyond love, however, I’m a little infuriated. Nowadays we often fudge the truth about how we had our babies after those prime fertility years. These mother fudgers include both women I know and celebrities I read about. I completely understand the need to protect the privacy of your child, but I believe that not telling other women what it is to use an egg donor—and inflating other’s hopes that they can easily get pregnant with IVF at, say, 42, 43 and beyond—gives many women false expectations. Thus they are going back for repeated fertility treatments when their chances of conceiving for each cycle have dropped under five percent. I wanted to do my small part to alleviate this waste of money and emotional and physical energy by telling my story, whether it leads to others using an egg donor or adopting. I want other women who are in a lot of pain to know that there are other options beyond IVF and that everything is going to be okay.
Have you ever experienced sexism as a woman writer? How so?
Good god, yes! I’m a working screenwriter, and I’ve had men sexually degrade me in the room. One repeatedly asked me if I could work some sexual terms into a pitch I was doing in front of half a dozen people– I’m not sure if it was to titillate him or humiliate me. Others have told me they love my more action-oriented writing but then question whether I can write more of the same because I’m a woman. I realize that makes absolutely no sense but it happens all the time. And of course for my entire writing career – be it magazines, books, or films — I’ve been paid less than my male counterparts.
When did you first decide you were a writer?
I went for a job interview at Details magazine when they had their offices in Soho. I walked in, felt the energy, and thought, I have to have this.
What advice do you have for an aspiring writer who is just starting out?
Write. You’d be amazed how many people ask me how they can become a writer, but don’t actually write anything. Writers block doesn’t exist. Writers write. They work. It’s a job. Treat it like one and you can cross the number one thing you need to do off your list.
Do you have an imaginary reader you write for? Who is it?
I do, it’s my best friend, and she’s a great writer in her own right. I know the piece is working if she calls me and tells me she got chills. If she doesn’t call, well, it’s time to rewrite.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken in your writing?
Because this piece involves how I conceived my baby I admit I’m a little scared about what people might say in the comments section. I’ve found those to be brutal but I guess it goes with the job. In other words, in the Internet age everything we writers write feels like a tremendous risk.
Is there anything that you consider *too* personal include in your work?
Usually if I’m a little uncomfortable, I know the piece is worth writing. That means I have something to say that isn’t conventional experience.
Do you have an e-reader? When do you like to read on a device?
I have an iPad. I love holding a book, but I love that I can read a sample more. I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t read books I don’t like – there are just too many great things to read. This way, I don’t pay for novels I’ll realize aren’t my thing after thirty or so pages.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m beginning a novel, rewriting a script and writing a television pilot. In other words, I’m losing my mind.