Listen to Me

I have been writing now for a few months and I am really enjoying this new experience. I am finding that I have lots of ideas and the stories come to me at the strangest of times, sometimes at night when I am supposed to be sleeping. I am having a ton of fun reinventing myself and writing about it as I go.

Once I had a few stories on paper I decided to get brave and share them with a few very trusted friends. I felt very insecure, which is not a feeling I enjoy in any way. I was conflicted because I was excited about what I was doing and I wanted to share it with others but I was unsure what they would think. I was writing about really personal stuff and well, it was kind of hard to describe to people. Finally, I just got brave and asked a few dear friends to read it and tell me what they thought.

They did and they really liked it. One friend told me she was very disappointed, disappointed when she got to the end and there were no more stories to read. “Wow” I thought, that is pretty cool, very high praise from someone I really admire literally. Everyone encouraged me to do more writing and to share with others.

I thought about it and in the meantime I kept writing. Finally a few weeks later I called my two college age kids and told them what I was up to and I asked them to read what I had written. This in itself was a strange experience but I took a deep breath and just did it.

When I asked my daughter to read what I was writing she immediately got nervous. “Mom, what are you writing, a sex book? She asked, I think very serious.

“Oh dear God NO! You just have to read it to understand it” I tried to defend myself and explain myself at the same time.

I waited very anxiously for her to get back to me. A week later she finally called. I was afraid she hated it and didn’t know how to tell me.

Instead she said she loved it and that I really had to keep writing. She told me she knew all that stories because she was a part of many of them but that she learned something new with each story. She explained that she knew that we did Christmas cookies every year and she had many memories of this holiday tradition but that she never really knew why we did it.

I realized I was holding my breath while she shared this with me. It really mattered to me what she and her brother thought. Wow.

She also told me she thought it would be a shame if I didn’t share this with others.

When I told her I had reservations about doing that because what I was writing about was very personal to all of us, she stopped me, and what she said to me shocked me. My daughter very clearly and adamantly said, “Mom, how many times have you told me with my music to just go for it. How many times? You know too, mom that if I don’t put my heart and soul into a song it isn’t worth listening to. It only works if I give it everything I have. This is just like that. This works because you are being honest and putting yourself out there, if you didn’t do that, if you just wrote about something it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t be worth reading. This is just like my music mom. You just have to do it.”

I felt like someone knocked the air out of my lungs. She was right. She had been listening to me all these years and she had come up with a perfect analogy. Her music could make me cry from its simple beauty but only if she completely put herself into the song and gave everything she had to give. Then it was magic. If she held back it was just another song.

A week or so later I told my son about my writing and asked him if he would read it.  “What are you doing Mom, writing your memoirs?” he asked squinting his eyes at me over his drink.

“No! Well, kind of, I guess you just have to read it, it is hard to explain.”  I answered.  Thankful that he at least did not think I was writing a sex book.  Dear Lord!

When I talked to my son he said he really enjoyed it and that he liked it very much.  I asked him if what I was writing about was too personal and I gave him the same list of concerns.  He said “bullshit mom.”  Ok, I guess we have a family vote!

It is an interesting thing when your child offers really good advice to you for the first time. Ok, I am trying to listen. I will keep writing, I will keep putting myself into everything I do heart and soul and I will give it everything I have to give. We’ll see what happens.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?’

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