Pride and Joy
Posted on July 12, 2005 Posted by John Scalzi 3 Comments
(Posted by Laurel Halbany)
I thought it was de rigeur for children of writers to suffer the angst of their writer-parent’s shadow. (If they choose to be writers, of course, which is less a choice than you might expect.)
It’s never a problem I myself had; my parents are both educated, and intelligent, and I grew up in a house full of everything from archy and mehitabel to 1984. But they’re not writers and were never moved to write much beyond college. I had no so-you’re-so-and-so’s-kid! with which to contend. My struggles are my own, and I’ll never have to worry that I got the benefit of the doubt because of my Famous Parent. Nobody will eye anything I’ve written and wonder if it only got published because the senior Halbany wrote a series of best-selling novels, and nobody wanted to piss off his editors.
One of my children is turning out to be a writer. I was a little concerned that if my plodding efforts ever turned into publication, that she might have issues with being in my shadow. It’s becoming increasingly clear that I am in danger of having the shadow fall the other way.
Oh, sure, every parent whose kid can string three words together will probably tell you how creative they are, but remember, I have three; the other two are certainly talented, but none of their teachers pull me aside and tell me those children have an amazing gift. Relatives coo over their efforts, but Grandma has never quietly asked me if I’ve thought of sending them out for publication. None of them ever wrote a story that won an ABA online contest (and made me buy the prize mug from her). No, she’s not writing the Great American Novel–yet–but she might, rabbit, she might, given time and talent.
There’s a ten-year-old on my tail, and if I don’t get my writerly butt in gear, the angst is going to fall in the wrong direction.
Gah…. I love your 10 year old (okay, so I love all of your kids) but that is a scary concept. And way cool too.
if only judges could fire lawyers, maybe the world would be a better place.
A parable: My parents and a lot of their friends worked at NASA in Cleveland. Some time in the latter 80s, we watched Clue on TV, or maybe video. My Mom saw something that caught her eye, and she sat there mumbling and musing to herself for a bit. Just then an old family friend called, and she wandered off into the other room to talk on the phone, and I hear:
You’ll never guess who I saw in this movie I was watching with Bill. Harry Mull’s son!
We’re all already somebody-or-other’s kid.