About mom and stories and stuff

My mother, who is herself extremely artistic, who loves to read, and whose artistic opinion I value, has a long history of being completely uninterested in reading anything I’ve written. She may not be aware that she comes across this way; she probably thinks she’s been very supportive (as, in many areas {just not this one}, she has). But, seriously, the last thing I remember her reading of mine, with one exception I’ll mention in a moment, was a story I wrote in seventh grade… which she had to read because she was homeschooling me and it was an assignment. That would be almost twenty years ago.

The exception was a couple of pieces from my book when my parents bought a copy right after it came out. I believe this occurred because 1) they were short enough for her to read without making time for it, and 2) though she’s never stated as much, I think she’s one of those people that believes unpublished writing is worthless, and therefore because this was published work it was validated and she could deign to read it. Which is really ironic, for reasons I won’t get into at the moment, and also really obnoxious.

Aargh, I’m making her sound awful. I’m sure she doesn’t do this on purpose, or have any idea that she totally pushed me away, from a fairly early age, as far as writing is concerned. I remember a story I wrote near the end of middle school/beginning of high school that I tried for months and months to get her to read, and eventually gave up. She was probably just putting off reading it because she didn’t have time or whatever, but after that I didn’t bother trying to get her to read anything else.

The thing is, I believe I write quite well, and I would really like her to be aware of this. I feel like such a burden on my parents so much of the time, it would be nice to know that they (specifically my mom) know that I’m not a totally useless person. Besides this, artistic talent and expression is something I value extremely highly, and it makes me sad not to be sharing mine with my family — specifically, again, my mom, who, as I mentioned, is quite artistic herself.

And this brings us to the other side of this problem. Artistic expression is my religion, and therefore my religion and my mother’s religion coincide nicely in her Christian music composition. That is extremely convenient and something of a relief. However, it’s the only point of convergence; almost nothing I write these days fits with her religious beliefs.

I want to make it clear that when I say that, the phrase “I write things of which my mother wouldn’t approve” is eons away from being strong enough. I write things my mother would not be willing or even able to read all the way through. She would be offended, disgusted, and hurt by the things I write.

The reason I’m bringing this all up now is Plastic. I think it’s the best story I’ve written; I think it may remain the best story I’ve written for some time; I think (let’s not pull punches here) it’s extremely good. And I’m willing to believe that if I went to my mom and said, “Hey, I’ve written a story and it would mean a lot to me if you read it,” she would be willing to read it at some indeterminate point in the future when she’s not busy with X, Y, and Z. Maybe.

But do you realize what I would have to do to Plastic for her to read it? It wouldn’t be just a matter of taking out the swearing and the graphic sex (and, in fact, all sexual references). I’d have to change two of the guys into women so everyone was straight — which means I’d have to strike every reference to homosexuality, take out or change any part that was at all driven by that, find another reason for Heero to be at odds with his parents (since that’s a fairly important, if subtle, part of the story), and Poe knows what I’d do about two of the characters thinking the other two were dating. In other words, I would have to rewrite the thing completely, in ways that I would find offensive, disgusting, and hurtful.

The long and short of it is that I’m sad my artistic mom will never read my best story. My head has been living in the Plastic world for a year now, the story means a huge lot to me, and I can’t share it with her. It’s difficult to express just how disappointing this is.

I’m so bad at making my point in journal entries. Fortunately, if I just come close, I always know what I meant when I look back at the entry in later years. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write this all out for some time, and now I have. I love my mom. For reals. But it’s good to get this out.

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