Did you ever wonder what the parents of erotic romance authors think? Do they read their child’s graphic bondage scenes or do they politely chose not to purchase their sultry books? How about the parents of horror writers? Do they wonder how they raised a child who could so graphically kill a character in their novel?
Well, I had a situation similar to this—okay, not that similar. I write YA, not sex scenes. But still, I recently published an essay in the anthology DEAR BULLY about my experience in middle school.
My mom read the essay. It was the first time she heard of me ever being bullied.
One of my friends recently described me as a “private person,” and I guess that’s one way of putting it. I don’t know exactly how I became that way, but apparently even at the age of 12, I could be tortured by my classmates and keep it to myself. I never told my parents. I never told my sister. I never told the school administrators.
And I have to say I was little nervous when this essay came out, because I knew my family was going to read it. And I knew there were going to be questions. And I did pause a few times and think, “do I really want to put this in?”
But you can’t write an essay, or a book, or a scene, solely for your parents. Otherwise, all our novels would read like after-school specials.
The best writing is the most honest writing. So if you have to break the news to your family that your so-called friends chased you down the hallways screaming obscenities in sixth grade, why not do it in a published book thousands will read?
In other news, I must give a little shout out to BU here, because when DEAR BULLY published, I submitted a “class note” to my alumni magazine. (Yes, I read my alumni magazine.) And yesterday, I got a letter from the dean of COM (College of Communication) congratulating me on the essay with a handwritten note at the end saying, “This publication can make a positive change in many young lives. –Tom.”
You know, because the dean and I are on a first-name basis. Seriously, though, how nice is that? I went to school with 16,000 undergrads and the dean took the time to acknowledge my little essay. Gotta love it.