I’ve written several times about my mother and her impact on my writing life while my beleaguered father gets so little attention–even though he was an equal force.
Well, the last time I visited him, back around the New Year, I decided to tell him I’d written a book. (I admitted to only one of the three. Sometimes secrets should be parcelled out slowly.) We were in the car (a place I am prone to confession) and I said as casually as I could, “Oh, by the way, Dad, I’ve written a book.” I was sitting in the backseat and unable to see his face–the way all proper confessions should be. His wife said something along the lines of, “Really? That’s neat. I wouldn’t have time to write a book. I got too much hosuework to do and the yard takes too much time–remind me to water the flowers when we get home–and I got to mop the floors. I haven’t mopped them since Monday.”
My dad was quiet and I can almost hear him worry that I’ve written about him and his second wife. He lives in fear that I will mention her. But I don’t actually like to cause my dad anxiety, and so I filled the silence with, “I know that saying you want to get a book published is a bit like saying you want to be a rock star, but anyway…that’s what I’ve been up to. Just thought I’d say.”
Finally he says, “You’ve written a book?”
“Oh. I guess it’s about something then.”
“Yeah. I guess it is.”
End of conversation. Neither a ringing and jubilant endorsement. Nor a vexed and terrified cease and desist order. The subject has not come up again and probably won’t.
So, how supportive are your parents? And does that matter?