Sunday, May 13, 2012

Memories of Mom (Or "How I Was Forced to Write About Monkeys, and Am Now An Author")

            (I realize this post is coming really early. But the time zone settings are all messed up on my profile, and it's taking more brain-power than I have to sort it out. So this'll just be a really early post.)
            Let’s face it. In one way or another, our mothers are at the root of everything we do. Now, I’m not saying this in some cheap pop psych way, but fundamentally, without mothers, we wouldn’t do anything that we do.

            At the most basic level, they gave birth to us. We need to be born, obviously. But then, in many cases, they raise us. They teach us. As if it wasn’t enough that we literally fed off of them for nine months, and then caused hours of excruciating pain and hard work, they then spent a great majority of the next eighteen-ish (rough approximation, obviously) years putting up with us.

            Seriously. Mothers are awesome. They deserve much more than a day of recognition.

            So, that is why I’m writing this post. To honor the complete awesomeness that is my mother. Not only is she pretty much the most amazing mother in the history of ever (I know many of you will disagree, but really, you’re just biased), she’s also pretty much the most significant reason I write.

            I don’t think she knows this. But let me prove my point.

            ::Cues nostalgic music::

            I don’t even remember what grade I was in, honestly. It was one of the early ones. I was sitting in what was then our school room, and is now our play room (an obvious improvement).

            It was time for English, and I was sitting in my throne of dorkiness, which most people refer to as a desk. Mom and I had already identified the subject and predicate of a few sentences on those pages from the A Beka curriculum, and I felt pretty darn good about it.

            And then, horror of all horrors, she placed a blank sheet of paper before me. I looked at her expectantly, waiting for directions. She held the A Beka book before her and read, “Write a ten sentence story about monkeys,” and closed the book.

            I stared. Surely there were more directions! I couldn’t possibly be expected to come up with ten whole sentences on my own, could I? That was outrageous!

            So I asked, “But what am I supposed to write?”

            “Whatever you want,” came the reply.

            And, literally, I dissolved into tears. I completely freaked out.

            I spent probably fifteen minutes of my life begging my mother to give me instructions. And then I tried bargaining.

            “At least let it be about people!” I cried, sprawled quite dramatically across the couch, downstairs.

            Yes, this was a multi-floor crisis.

            Mom remained firm. Loving, of course, but firm. And I’m pretty sure she was suppressing laughter, but then again, I was sobbing, so I’m not sure how reliable that memory is.

            So eventually, succumbing to the inevitable, I wrote the story, about a teenage monkey who decided to steal the whole village’s bananas one night, as an act of rebellion. And, naturally, sweeping the emotional crisis of a few minutes before from my mind, I was rather proud.

            That’s my earliest memory of any brush with creative writing of any form. I’d say I’ve come a long way, if not in writing quality, at least in my willing embrace of the insanity. (But hopefully the writing’s improved. At least a little.)

            Then came the ill-fated attempts at mystery novels, inspired by my love for the Hardy Boys series. Mom listened to every idea, every sentence I threw together. She even managed to smile when I forced her to look at the illustrations I had provided, but thankfully I gave up on that fairly quickly.

            Those are my earliest memories, and as you can see, my mother was involved every step of the way. Now, fast-forward a few years.

            My senior year was pretty spectacular, for many reasons, one of the more significant being the fact that Mom had, in lieu of a traditional grammar course, allowed me to write my novel, and let that count as Grammar, Writing, and Vocab. Because of that, I finally got down and dirty with my first significant writing project, the now-abandoned Darkness Falls.

            I think it’s pretty safe to say that my Mom is the reason I write. Obviously something such as this is more complex than such a reductionist explanation can capture, but I think it makes my point nicely.

            So…I’d like to thank you, Mom. I don’t even know if you’ll end up reading this.

            But thanks.

So, this is my story. What about all of you? How did your mother affect your writing, or your desire to write? 

1 comment:

  1. My mom read to me, which is a fairly common (yet extremely important) motivating factor, but the main way she helped me was by teaching me to type at the unusually young age of six or seven. Because I made Ds in penmanship each time a report card came out, the ability to use a typewriter liberated me and allowed me to get ideas on paper faster and more effortlessly than I ever thought possible. I simply wouldn't have the positive view of writing that I have today without that.