Mom, This Story Isn’t For You

I’ve been working on a few stories, the kind that are fantasy, the kind that happen only in my head. I’ve been trying to coax them out with six word poems, word exercises and caffeine overdoses.

Finally I felt the triumphant thrill of a story idea, that seemed good. An idea that I didn’t immediately hate nor did it seem overwrought, the kind of short story I thought, “Maybe this will sale.” Then I remembered my youngest brother, who I told stories to at bed time for years, who listens to my imagination and loves me.

So I asked him to read this story, even though it was the kind of story that would challenge him–make him think about issues he’d like to leave unthought.

Always supportive and loving, he said, “Yes, of course. Send the story.”

Then he reminded me that sometimes my mom likes to read my work, too. And suddenly this idea I had that seemed so possible was not worthy of sharing. “I don’t want mom to read this,” I said. My mom’s opinion of my work means something to me–a terrifying amount of meaning laced through with all kinds of insecurities and fears. When I write, there’s always the inner-critic that says, “Mom won’t like this language. Stop swearing,” or “Mom would totally hate that I’m talking about her again.”

Long ago I came to the conclusion that my friends are my audience and my mother is my editor.

But this story is too close to my heart to pass off to her. I don’t have the confidence to ask for mom-approval this time. I love hearing what my mom thinks of my published work. I need the backing of professional approval to say “Here Mom, read this.”

Today I am presented with a new challenge to write a story I love for my brother knowing it will be handed off to my mother before it’s print ready.

And what that story will be I don’t know, it’s certainly not the one I have.

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