I don’t know where I’d be without my mother or my mentors. Actually, without my mother I probably wouldn’t exist or be the person I am if raised by someone else. My mentors have helped to shape my writing in some of the ways my mother has. Some might be thinking why I don’t blog about my mother. Why this is the first blog post I’m mentioning her when I’ve written about my father at least twice. Well, its because she supports me and my writing without questioning my goals. I tell her I want to be an editor and she says okay, not bringing up statistics or average salary. I tell her I’m writing a book and she asks to read the first drafts. This morning I caught her leaving for work with one of my revised stories tucked under her arm.
That’s a lie, I left the revisions out for her so she wouldn’t forget to take them to work. My mother, in a past life, must have been a copy editor.
So why are so many of my mentors against have my mother read my work?Many of my mentors believe that the parents of a writer should not read the drafts of their work. Instead, they should buy the book or short story like everyone else. As you can see, I continue to ignore this advice. I love my mentors and the lessons they teach. For now I’m focusing on my mother and why I let her read every single draft of every single story.
My mother should have been an English major but instead chose to be a Sociology major with a focus in something with inner city education. I can’t remember the proper term but she wanted to be a Social worker when she grew up. Her real dream was to join the military until her mother shut that idea down. No daughter of hers, she had five of them, would ever join the military. Including her youngest girl. If only grandma could see how many women were in the military today.
She’d probably still say no. Good for them but not for her children. That kinda deal.
So my mother thought her life would take her towards being a Social Worker but she would serve the government in other ways, meet my father since they had the same job and give birth to a beautiful English major that would steal all her books from her library.
This is my mother, an old photo of her because she likes to keep her current appearance hidden (she look exactly the same but refuses to rock the hairstyle. Little does she know she will have to for my wedding *maniacal laugh*) But come on, doesn’t she look like an English major? THAT POSE! THOSE GLASSES! English major. So why do I let her read all my drafts? Because she is a beast when it comes to copy editing, her true calling. She can spot a misspelled word, missing comma, fractured sentence, anything without missing a beat. She is also an excellent content editor which brings me to my next point.
Ever check out a writes search history on Google? Mine is not sparkling. The top results include Japanese internment camps, how long does it take to suffocate, what happens when a woman miscarries and how much heroine does it take to overdose? Cause for concern, another reason why parents might not make the best editors. However, now that I’m beginning to focus on the 60s, 70s and 80s, I thought I would keep it PG for the first draft an all the nitty gritty details in later.
My mother wasn’t having it. She handed back my short story and, written on the top of the page was, WHERE ARE ALL THE DRUGS? Can’t have the 60s, 70s and 80s without drugs, alcohol and cigarettes now can we? In one fowl swoop my mother turned two of my characters into addicts. A jazz teach addicted to heroine and a alcoholic father.
Thanks mom, those characters were probably going to have a good life until you came along. You never know who is going to be a bad influence on your characters. Stranger danger is real.
So I thoroughly disagree when my mentors say don’t let your parents read your work, at least with my mother. She does not believe every character is based on her. She knows I’m not addicted to drugs and cigarette smoke aggravates my allergies to the point my eyes swell so no point in worrying about that either. My mother is one of my most important mentors because she is able to separate my creativity from my personality. Now, she does get concerned when I start talking to myself but that’s another story.
This post is in response to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.