Bold Fortune

fortune favors the bold

Month: October, 2014

On being edited for publication…

by mollykl

Son j is a budding writer. He’s managed to achieve what I could not – he writes regularly. Currently he’s working on “The Legend of Bob”. Oh yes, and there is a part 1, 2 and as of today, 3. Son j loves his video games, particularly Minecraft and Terraria and so we also let him read books that are written for these. He gets them on his Kindle (yes my kid has a Kindle, insert your snarky comment nowhere thank you) and they are of roughly the same literary value as the trashy romance novels I buy from Amazon for 2.99 a pop. But he loves them. And he reads them. And, hey, if the kid is reading Percy Jackson, grades above his level, if he wants to read a crappy book as well I’m good with that.

The thing is, he got tired of reading what other people were writing and decided he could do better. Yesterday he took of his Legend of Bob stories to his afterschool program. He wanted to read it to everyone, but one of the staff had to read it first to make sure there was nothing objectionable in it.

Cut to 3:00 when I picked him up. The head of the program pulled me aside and told me about the story and said he couldn’t read it to the other kids because it had, and I’m quoting here, “objectionable language”. My first thought was, my being his mother, “great, he used the word fuck in a story”. But she elaborated, “the “k” word”.

Really? There’s a “k” word?

And then it kit me that she meant “killing”.

Well of course there’s a “k” word, there are zombies.

So I smiled politely, looked at son j and said, “wow, you finished your story!”

And when we got in the car I turned around and said,

“Congratulations j, you get to make the decision most writers don’t have to deal with until they reach publication: you can alter your story to get rid of what your audience doesn’t want to see, in this case the word “killing”, or you can stick to your guns and write what YOU want to, and lose readers. Either way, it’s completely your choice. You can decide, because you are in charge of your writing.”

He decided that he was going to stick to his story. Let me be clear: I was going to be proud of him regardless of what he chose, simply because it was his choice and he made it by himself.

But damn if I didn’t like that little 8-year old “fuck you if you don’t like my story as-is”.

When you’re pregnant people always give you advice about being the person you want your kid to look up to. How many say that sometimes you need to look up to your kid?

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Why?

by mollykl

I started this blog in February of 2009. Just about to finish grad school I was desperate to write something, anything! that didn’t have to do with system analysis or the Library of Congress classification schedule. I’d just built a website for a school assignment and husband J suggested that I start a blog. Since I fancy myself rather humourous I thought that would be a good idea.

Flash forward to 2014 and a couple of realizations:

1. Why don’t I just keep a journal? Because writing for a perceived audience keeps me more honest. I can lie to myself like nobody’s business, but knowing that what I write might be read (notice I said, “might be”) puts me on a leash.

2. Blogging is a self-indulgence. I’m going to go ahead and piss of some people by saying that 99.9%of the time it’s not real writing, not just mine but everyone’s. Writing contributes to the world, blogging contributes to one person’s ego.

3. I need to keep my audience in mind, but never, and I repeat never, write to them. I’ve done that a couple of times, and you know what? It haunts me. I feel like I betrayed myself.

4. Write what I want and if I want to pull my punches that’s my right to do so.

I started this blog to write and to have a reason to write something, anything, so long as words were making it on to paper (metaphorically). When I was writing and posting the most prolifically that was carrying over into writing more in ‘real life’ – poetry and stories. So, it seems, writing begets writing.  Once I’d tapered off blogging, so did the other writing. I don’t want to quit my job and be a full-time writer. I actually like the job I have (which has nothing to do with writing unless you count the snarky emails to the IT department), but I do like being able to write because it engages me, makes me think, and forces me to be creative. if writing a blog post will push that along, then so be it.

Here’s what I know now: I’m not a writer. I don’t have to write. Real writers have to write, and I just don’t.  I like to yes, but I don’t have to. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it to enjoy it. And possibly make you laugh in the meantime.