Supporting the Crazy

Sharing our non-human writing support last week was so much fun. Great pictures and great stories. This week we turn our attention to the people in our lives that support our writing who are not writers themselves. How do they put up with all our craziness? It can be a challenge.

I'm lucky to have wonderful writing buddies who understand the process and the desire for a saleable writing product, but, just as importantly, I also have people who have absolutely no clue what it's like to try to write and publish a novel. ( In fact, most of the people around me fall into this latter category--Thank God). When they do find out about my secret other life, they ask me questions like how? and why? Sometimes I know the answers. Sometimes not. They like to bring it up at cocktail parties and work meetings. They pull me out as an instant curiosity when the conversation dwindles, then everyone looks at me with brows furrowed like I'm the nearly extinct Purple Painted Geko of Timbuktu. Once discovered, I catch them narrowing their eyes at me, wondering if something they just said or did will end up in a chapter somewhere for strangers to read. I hate to tell them (and I usually don't), but it just might.

My father is one of these people. Don't get me wrong, he's a wonderful father, but the idea of making money with something you made up in your head is a completely foreign concept to him. He's a retired coach who now lives on ten acres in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Just as he always has, he works hard. He mows on his tractor, plants a garden to give away delicious sweet corn and vine ripened tomatoes to all his neighbors, goes to the Baptist church down the road on Sundays and Wednesdays and, in the heat of the Texas summer days, he comes inside to read books. Lots of books.

This past Father's Day I surprised my dad by showing up on his doorstep from my home in Colorado. I gave him a freshly printed out hardcopy of SKINNY, the book that just sold to Scholastic.
"Surprise!" I said.
He flipped through the pages and said, "That's all there is to it? Just 187 pages?"
"Just read the book," I said.
"I really think it needs to be longer. This book I bought from Walmart is 347 pages," he said.
"Just read it."
"What's it about?" He frowned down at the pages as he flipped through to the end.
"Just read the book, Dad," I said.
"What happens?" he asked.
"It's about an overweight girl that breaks a chair and then gets gastric bypass surgery."
"So it's about you?"
"It's fiction," I said. "Just read it."
"What's her name?"
"Ever," I said.
"What kind of name is that?" he asked.
"You'll understand if you read the book," I said.
"Am I in it?" he asked.
"It's fiction. I made it all up," I said.
"And they're going to pay you for that." He shook his head in amazement. "You know, if you make her name longer then the book would have more pages."
He grinned at me
"Happy Father's Day, Dad." I said.

He read the book in a day and a half. He told me how much he liked it the next time I talked to him on the phone.

"Thanks, Dad," I said. "By the way, the editor said she'd like me to make it longer."

"Ha!" He exclaimed. I could hear him smiling through the phone.


Donna, that dialogue is priceless! Your dad sounds a bit like mine, who will fixate on the most unimportant detail of my manuscript. And he always wants me to add more descriptions of food!

Thanks, Eve Marie. Glad to hear someone can relate :)

I can totally hear my dad doing the same thing. His big argument is that nobody pays him to go deer hunting, so why should I get paid to do my "hobby"?

Well, nobody's paying me to write. Yet. :)

LOL! That's awesome. I know someone just like him. ;)

Hysterical! (and I think the Gedo would make a great, muse-like pet)

How lucky you are for your Dad to read your work. The day my Dad passed, I was looking through his dresser, and found a draw full of keepsakes; cards from the grand-kids, drawings from the grand-kids, some keepsakes from vacations and a manila envelope with the first children's story I ever wrote as an adult. I recall giving him a copy to read, and he kept it. This keeps me going, keep me pursuing a goal that I know he believed in by saving my work! Dads rock!
Janis Seminara

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