Last Tuesday we all went over to visit Ma. We brought coloring pages and sat on the floor and looked at the tiny Christmas tree with multicolored lights and tiny angels. Ma likes angels. It’s never hard to choose a gift for her if you remember the angels.
Before we left, my husband said, “Don’t you want to tell your mom…” I gave him a dirty look and hit him with a pillow before he finished the sentence. He was asking about the book. He’s all proud of me and wants me to show myself off. But I can’t, not with Ma.
If anything, she’ll want to read the thing and as happy as I am with the outcome and as thrilled as I am with the anticipation of it all, I know my story isn’t for her. She won’t “get it.” Some people just require straightforward storytelling.
If I’m going to be completely honest with you, which I usually am in an attempt to destroy barriers and cast off annoying restraints, I’m not overly enthusiastic about my family reading most of the things I write. Everyone else in the world, fine. But family is…
There is absolutely no room for censorship or political correctness in a novel. Your job as a writer is to give us the truth about your characters – which may or may not have anything to do with you as a human being.
I qualify myself in certain circumstances, “Well, just, you know, it’s a story.” With anyone outside my family I’m a brave little writing anarchist armed with obscure plot devices and Freudian slips, but there, in Ma’s living room, I’m a fake.
And it’s stupid.
But if you want to know the real truth of it, most of the family won’t care. And that’s a hard thing for a loud-mouth writer to accept.