Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another Conversation About Writing

Over Christmas, my mother spoke with me once again about this writing thing I sometimes do. My mother has the unquestionable faith of a child when it comes to my writing- she sees it a holy thing and believes it will one day save the world, no matter how many doubters are out there. Unfortunately, my writing’s biggest barrier is me and I am always quick to point out how misguided her faith is.

“You know, I showed your Christmas piece to my friends and they all said that you write so well,” she tells me in her lovingly lilting voice.

“Well, I'm glad you liked it,” I say sheepishly. I had sent my mother the piece simply because it expressed gratitude for the Christmases she and my father worked so hard to provide for me as a child, not as a sample of writing to show her friends like an A-laden report card.

“I really think you should write,” she says with that smile that makes me feel unworthy for having it bestowed on me.

“I do write,” I defend, “a lot.”

“But you know what I mean- you should write a novel.”

“I’ve written three. Every November I write another one.”

“But you should actually publish them,” she says, rolling her eyes at me.

“Ok, no- being a good writer, which I don’t think I am, first off, and being a published author are two entirely different things. I have no problem saying I’m going to keep writing but I hold no illusions about actually becoming a published author. Being a published author means being good enough to get an agent who actually thinks your story is marketable and getting published and-”

“But you can publish online now- they have those websites where you can publish your own book!”

“I know they do. But if even if I did do that no one would want buy it so it’d be a waste.”

“Oh, Beverly,” she says with that alarmingly familiar exasperated voice of hers. “You know you’re your own worst enemy?”

“I know, mom. I know.”

My mother’s ability to cut to the heart of the matter, carve it out and place it- still beating- on a golden platter in front me drives me mad.

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