Hello Sunday Viewers!
Ever read the acknowledgments section of your favorite novels? I do and I always find other authors thanking their parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, etc. Of course they also thank their agent, editor, publishing house, beta readers and fans as well, but family is always in there.
Mine will be in there too, because they’re supportive now, but they weren’t always that way.
My parents are the winning team kind of people. Basically they had two kids and they pitted us against each other. Never mind the four year gap between me and my brother, or our obvious differences. They pretty much wanted to raise show horses, children they could show off for all their shining accomplishments. Children they could brag about to their friends and other people in the community. Children that could give them social status because they’ve really done nothing with themselves.
My brother and I were expected to have the big goals. We couldn’t go one year without hearing how one of us would strike it rich and buy them a house in Arizona or New Mexico.
When I was a kid, I didn’t polish up. I was definitely not the award winning child that made her parents proud. No, I was the misfit, the one that got in trouble a lot, the one that didn’t do as she was told. I took off when I wanted to, came back late, moved out at eighteen, lied, stole, broke things, etc. etc. I was your typical patron for teenage angst.
My brother on the other hand was the hockey star. He began playing at the age of seven and was in double A by the time he was twelve. I stopped going to games when he turned eight. I really had no interest in sports. I was into music and writing and poetry and reading. All the things my brother wasn’t good at.
For a long time he was the golden boy. He had good grades, lots of friends, teachers liked him, coaches liked him. It seemed like everyone liked him. He was a likable guy.
I couldn’t stand him quite frankly.
And so while my parents were paying upwards of a thousand dollars a year on hockey equipment, league fees and whatever else they had to pay, they were subsequently ignoring me.
You see, I was eleven when my brother began playing hockey. That was when I wrote my first song. I wanted very badly to be a singer. There were plenty of local competitions, ways to get into the business, ways to be seen. They let me take singing lessons, but they didn’t let me compete. My mom actually told me that just because I was writing songs didn’t mean I would become the next big star. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, she used to say.
I began writing short stories at twelve, along with more songs. I printed them out and kept them in a green binder in my room. I’d take them out at silent reading time and other classmates would read them. Later on my mom scolded me for wasting paper and ink. They didn’t have money for it.
But they did have thousands of dollars for hockey.
My brother and I grew up. I sang vocal jazz in high school, he played hockey, basketball, even golf and trumpet. I know, my brother was a jock / band geek. I stopped writing stories and songs, stopped dreaming about being a singer. I stopped trying. I also began experimenting with my psychic abilities, which is a completely different story, but still a big part of my life. I pulled away from my parents. I had always been shunned in the first place, and even when they did try to include me, I shunned them back, just so they knew how it felt in the first place.
My brother decided to become a dentist when he was fourteen, not a hockey star. He wasn’t as good as the other boys.
I didn’t go to university or college. My mom said I probably couldn’t handle it, and I had no money. I had an almost full time job and savings, but I spent it on frivolous things. They helped my brother go to college when his turn was up. He didn’t like it and dropped out. All of a sudden he wasn’t big man on campus, everyone knowing his name, everyone loving him for the star he was going to be.
He didn’t become a dentist either.
I eventually went to school for metaphysics, two schools actually, and I received a double PhD in Metaphysical Science back in 2008. I stopped talking to my parents for awhile. I got married too, had kids, created my own supportive family.
One day in 2008 my Dad asked me to come over to pick up some documents. The conversation we had was priceless.
Me: So what’s my brother up to?
Dad: Oh you know, he’s working at the grocery store.
Me: Oh, no more university?
Dad: Nah, he didn’t want to continue it.
Me: Huh, that’s interesting.
Dad: Yeah well he’s doing just fine over there.
Me: Okay well I actually do have some news.
Dad: *questioning look*
Me: I just got my PhD in Metaphysical Science.
Dad: Oh, well good for you.
Me: Yeah, it’s awesome. *I fixed my gaze on him and laughed even though nothing was funny* Bet on the wrong kid huh?
Dad: *frowned and gave me that disappointed look* Yeah, I guess we did.
My brother now works for a company that has something to do with golf courses. He tried to become a police officer but that didn’t work out for him either. I’ve kept my parents updated about my life since then. My mom was the first person to read the first draft of Surrender. The story made her cry.
They may not have had any high hopes for me when I was a kid, but I’m the one that came out on top, and now they believe that I can do anything.
One day I’ll acknowledge that fact, although it might look something like, “Thanks mom and dad for never believing in me, but for being proud of me when I actually did accomplish something.”
What about you? How has your family affected your writing life?