Day Six: On Mental Waterfalls and Parents

I’m sorry to have missed my post yesterday, but if it’s any encouragement, it’s because I literally could not stop writing. Sunday night, a leak sprung in the damn and every time I tried to lay down and go to sleep another idea popped into my head until by Monday morning I had a full-fledged mental waterfall. Wrote an entire chapter (plus a bit more) in one setting and sent it out to the Creative Factory (i.e. my best friend and special dude) for a bit of review.

Er… well. I didn’t write an entire chapter, but only because I kept thinking of more and more to add to it. I loved that feeling though. That’s probably the most exhilarating moment: Those sleepless nights when suddenly everything starts making sense. I hadn’t had that in a long time and I hope that my isolation is conducive to a few more.

It’s like for the first time since I started this project, I actually see a clear path to getting it done. God, I may actually do this. Like really.

So at that rate why didn’t I just hole myself up and write until my idea river ran dry? Wasn’t that the whole point of my pariah-based existence? That I could just write to my heart’s content? Well, there may be two people with who I haven’t been entirely honest about my current goings on, and of course, those are the people who are making it all possible: My Parents.

If the Creative Factory had called and asked me to drive back to New Orleans, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to tell either of them to get off my back and support me dammit! Yet, the real reason I haven’t had time to blog or finish that chapter is that my dad thinks I’m looking for jobs in Gainesville and had invited me to a lovely dinner of chicken parmesan at his house last night and my stepmother got me drunk on red wine. And why didn’t I write a single word until this today? It’s my mother’s birthday and, as she said this very evening, “Why can’t you help me set up my new Surface? It’s not like you have anything else to do?”

Now my parents know I’ve applied to Grad School to get my MFA in Creative Writing, but they seem to still think that my writing is a bad phase I’ll grow out of. They are very supportive, don’t get me wrong! Yet, I can summarize my current project for any stranger on the street, but if my parents ask, I clam up. I don’t want to hear their approval or disapproval. In fact, they very rarely, when they do hear of my projects, offer much disapproval, but they do continue to hint about getting a new career path. For years now, my mother has wanted me to become a librarian.

Is it that they are preparing me in case I don’t succeed?

My parents aren’t exactly living their dreams here. They live very solidly in “the real world” (whatever that is. I strongly believe the world is what you make it). My father spent the last 28 years supporting four children and a failed marriage by springing clearly guilty men from jail on technicalities, spending most of his time on his cell phone with clients or behind the wheels of whatever beat up caddy he could currently afford; or, later, supporting his new wife and her three daily bottles of wine. My mother has jumped from cubicle to cubicle until some supervisor somewhere realizes her job is completely reduntant and sends her back on the job search. So maybe a part of them just thinks I’m idealistically setting myself up for failure. But how can they judge failure so differently than their own offspring?

Because my idea of failure is not writing and writing and never making a cent. My idea of failure would be to never try.

Maybe the sad truth is that my parents haven’t gotten to do whatever they’ve wanted for so long that they can’t understand a person giving up their whole life in search of, let’s be real here, a pipe dream.

I don’t blame or hate my parents. I feel sad about the state of the world that these two brilliant minds have become too rutted in this kind of miserable society. I feel eternally indebted to them: their drudgery has become the platform for my naiveté.

And that’s why I am a bit ashamed of my writing when it comes to my parents. One day, if I hit the jackpot (because let’s be honest, even talent and determination can only get you so far), I can look at them proudly with a solid “See?” written on my face, but until then, writing under my parents judgementally supportive eyes is a bit… well… It’s a bit like standing up naked in front of your third grade class to give a book report.

So until the dedication page of my first book, this will be the closest I’ll get to sharing my writing with my mother.



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