Hello fellow wanderers through this thicket we call life,
I was responding to some really great interview questions posed to me by my publisher and it took me down an introspective path.
I rarely go down paths like these.
I was asked about parenthood.
Some psychology article recently said that we always look at everything to do with parenting/parenthood from the point of view of our child-selves. Starting with the judgements we place on our own parents (from your point of view, not from the point of view of, say, their best friends who count you among your parents’ accomplishments).
What a thorny issue this is.
I wonder if this is part of the wisdom of grandparents (feel free to chime in, those of you who are grandparents) - that eventually you stop thinking that being a parent is different from being a child. (After all, both are actually relational but we consider them individualized states of being and when you become either one, you’ve never done the role before and you can only learn it by the experience of doing.)
Did I once have an internal idolized ideal-parent I wished my parents had been? Do I still? Certainly after having my own kids there was a conceptual “perfect mom” image that I constantly battled. (TBH: still battle.) Our judgement of our parents is pretty harsh. They could always have done better. And sadly, this idealized archetype, does transfer to us when we become parents — we tend to wish that we could have done better or at the very least wonder whether different choices would have been better—even while loving our kids with our whole hearts and accepting them, flaws and all!
Whether imposed upon me by media or religion or just some kind of internalized Freudian archetype, as a mom you have to measure up to this ghost paradigm or you have to make peace with yourself that you won’t ever measure up to her. Both of these things are hard to do when you are also trying to make sure your toddlers don’t go outside in subzero temperatures wearing only swimwear, and that they don’t electrocute themselves, plummet from balconies, or eat rocks. You might also long to be writing a novel during this time. There’s not a lot of space/time left for accosting your spectral stereotypes.
My guess is that the same thing happens for dads. Or possibly their inner ghost is just some kind of sparkling-shadow-mirror-image of their own dad with all the neglect and indifference taken out and replaced by technicolor laughing fun-dad days and also loads of disposable cash.
In any event, I welcome you to read and share the interview that inspired my thought-meanderings. It went to places I have rarely gone.
Now it is less than a week to my book’s release date — here’s the link if you still need to preorder it!
I can tell you that I’m thinking hard about a launch party for A FLASH OF DARKNESS, though it will be in May or early June. I’m super-excited - a dream-author will engage me in conversation for your viewing pleasure, and I need to find a place amazing enough to show my appreciation for his time and talent!
Here’s what’s funny. This collection isn’t even out and I’m already dreaming of what I want to do with the next book.
Also, I had a precipitous idea while responding to a comment on social media. I might actually do it - a short while after the book is out I’m thinking of hosting an online book discussion where anyone who has read the book and has questions about the writing or any of the stories can come on and talk with me about it. We can also just talk about Kafka. I recommend this Kafka story. It’s my favorite. (It is not about Gregor Samsa, it’s about art and making art and being appreciated for your art).
Random Final Thought:
Hey, whaddya know, this weekend is also both Passover & Easter! Oh and of course also the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup starts today. For those who celebrate, it’s held in Sweetwater, TX, but get this - the biggest rattlesnake population in the US isn’t in Texas or Arizona or any of the desert states - it is in South Carolina!
Me, I’ll stick to Easter eggs. And springtime bunnies.
WHAT?!? THAT IS FANTASTIC. Thank you for sharing that with me. I'm enthralled!
All of that writing from 8:00-1:00 has paid off.