Friday, March 16, 2007

Parent Trap (the source of many a writer's angst)

Lots of editing done last night. I'm also working on a short story so my writing time is divided between the two at the moment.

I spoke with my dad last night. It was a stressful conversation for me as we had to ask for his help with paying for the newest van repairs ($350.00). At forty-one years old, it feels awful to have to looking for this kind of help, but I was concerned about taking more debt than we could pay. It was the first time in seventeen years that we've looked to him for any help with this kind of thing. He said yes, but in the background, I could feel his disappointment. He's a millionare--very good with money--not so good with people. Though he and I talk on the phone six or seven times a year, my sons know him as a picture on the wall and from the stories I've told them about his cowboy adventures. They've seen him maybe four times in their lives. After our last visit, we decided it was a waste of time to drive hundreds of miles to sit around his house and wait until late evening for him to return. He's only been to see us once. My sons don't know that he's made his children feel like we are less important to him than his job for most of our lives.

His response to my writing has always been "but can you make money at it"? And he does not understand why I pursue it, as I'm clearly not going to get rich doing it (everything he does revolves around money--even his hobbies are lucrative). I told him I'd sold a story recently (my biggest sale so far) and his response was "how much did you make"? I told him and he said, "That's all? All those hours of work and that's all you're getting?" I gave up explaining this to him a long time ago. I think I'll just wait until I hit the best seller list before I say anything to him again.


Julie Carter said...

How do I hear thee, let me count the ways.

Seriously, I could almost, almost have written that post. Almost. Close enough for me to understand exactly what you mean, regrettably.

Scotty said...

Sorry to hear that, Mary. It reinforces my own feelings about money which is basically, what's the point in having all that money if it means missing out on so much else in life? I'd rather be broke, happy, and have fulfilling relationships, than be rich and lonely(the parasites who usually hang around that kind of money notwithstanding), you know?

I'm a single parent who has made his share of mistakes when it comes to raising kids, but if there's one thing I've taught my kids, it's this:

while I expect you to make your own way in the world, even struggle for a while if need be - when you find yourself backed into a corner with nowhere else to go, call me and I'll help out, no guilt, no recriminations, no judgment passed - it's how you'll learn to prioritise matters of finance (and budget accordingly) as well as understanding the importance of family ties.

Mary O. Paddock said...

Julie--I think we're in good company. I don't know many writers or poets whose parents really get why they do what they do. Personally, I'd love to see my boys surpass me in this regard.

Scotty, it's funny you should say that, but with respect to my kids and my hopes for them, I deleted an entire paragraph from my post that said almost exactly the same thing.