My father passed away a little over a year and a half ago. He was a great man and an amazing dad. My Dad and I had a great relationship. My only regret is never sharing any of my writing with him. He asked a few times, but I was never ready. When he slipped into a coma I remember debating if I should sit by his bed and read my most recent novel to him ‘just in case’. In the end I decided against it because reading to him meant giving up, and I would never give up on him. Reading would have been admitting he wouldn’t wake up. He didn’t wake up, but my regret is not that I didn’t read to him then. My regret is that I never gave him the chance to read something of mine when he could have read it to himself.
My mother has always been curious about my writing. She asks about my NaNo novel each year, and has said many times she would love to read one. After Dad died I promised her I would let her read my novel if I submitted it to the local writing competition. This year I managed to get my YA Portal fantasy ready for submission. It wasn’t in perfect shape, but I wasn’t in it to win in. I wanted the comments that all entrants get. The first 20k (the part the judges read) was in good shape, and the rest was decent enough.
I joked with friends about how it was harder to hit send for the version I sent my mom than it was to submit for my first writing contest. I wasn’t really joking though. Not so deep down I knew Mom would love anything I wrote for the simple reason that it was me who wrote the words. She would easily see past the grammatical errors at the end, the possible plot holes, and the slow bits I didn’t have time to tighten up. But knowing something and feeling/seeing/believe something can be two very different things. Letting my mother read my writing was a big step. Letting someone read something you wrote isn’t just letting them see words on a page, it‘s letting them have a glimpse into your soul.
Mom emailed me yesterday. She is proud, amazed, and hooked on my novel. She doesn’t care that it is YA in a genre she doesn’t usually read. She cares that it was written by me, and maybe after all these years of waiting she understands how I put more than just a novel into her hands.
How did you feel the first time you shared your writing with someone? Have you ever let your family read something you wrote?