Writers in the family?
Recently my son signed up for a novel-writing class. He’s a great writer and an insightful person, and yet I did have this nightmare image of that argument we once had in Sam’s Club rising up in Chapter 3. Of course, my first novel, The Fiction Class, was about a woman with a difficult relationship with her mother. And the woman teaches a writing class. Clears throat. Anyway, that all led me to wonder if any of my fellow Miss Demeanors had writers in the family, and this is what they said: Robin: My mother was a journalist but it was my father who taught me family is fair game. He was in the advertising department of a national retailer and featured my brother and I in a couple of print campaigns for toys and clothing when we were toddlers. We worked cheap – we each got a stuffed animal. Paula: All my kids are writers. I wrote a memoir called Fixing Freddie (Adams Media, 2010) in which they all appeared. So payback is only a question of time…. Cate: My grandfather was a journalist and non fiction author. He inspired me to write. I would be happy to have other writers in the family though, so far, the English majors have all gone into business. Michele: My father had a master’s in English long before most people went past their bachelor’s degree. He worked under Admiral Halsey in the Navy promoting Victory at Sea, which led to a long career in television advertising. Privately, he longed to be writer. A few years ago, I found a short romance story he had submitted to a woman’s magazine under my mother’s name! I let him read the first few chapters of my first (unpublished) book. I was nervous about his reaction, but he only beamed at me and said, “I knew you had it in you, kid.” I wish he’d been around to see my books on the shelf. Two out of three of my children write, but focus on other careers. Tracee: My father writes all the time, but as a hobby while practicing medicine. I think that he never had the free time to consider publishing, but kept on writing because he couldn’t stop that! As for including real life…. undisguised real life would be hard for me because I come from a very very private family. A memoir might be too red hot to handle. Now, mix things up and call it fiction… where everyone can pretend it really is only fiction? Why not! Alison: Love all your stories! No journalists or professional writers in my family, but my brother is a supremely keen observer (and wrote beautiful poetry once upon a time). We’re extremely close, but I have no doubt he could describe me–accurately–in ways that would make me squirm. Fortunately for me, I don’t think a memoir is in his future any time soon. Alexia: No, I don’t. I’m the only writer and only physician. Susan, again: I realized that I left out my Aunt Lee. She was a reporter in Mexico City during the 1960s and she was a great inspiration. Also, my niece Jamie is a writer. And my oldest son is a reporter for the New Haven Independent. So I guess there are a lot of writers in my family!