Greetings, WYMOP readers!
Some of you may have seen the message I posted to my Facebook writer’s page this afternoon. Just in case you missed it, it looked a lot like this:
Yup, as of this afternoon I had absolutely no idea what I’d be blogging about tonight. I thought about putting out a general call, you know, kind of a “Hey, out there on the Internet! What should I blog about today?” Then I took a look at the Internet, and quickly changed my mind: unless I wanted to post about cute kitties, whether or not Trump’s hair was feelin’ the Bern, or the strange petition going around trying to ban cute kitty posts, I wasn’t going to get a lot of help there.
Then I mentioned to a friend that I was stuck for a blog topic. “Well, Mother’s Day is coming up. Why not post something about your mom?”
“Ah,” I said, “everyone will be blogging about their moms this week! Thanks anyway, but I’ll think of something else.”
This brings us to today’s blog topic: Mom!
Back in February and March I did a couple of interviews about the book I had coming out, and at one point both interviewers asked me basically the same question: You write all this creepy stuff. How does your mother feel about all this?
—I just ran to the small office outside my room and took a look at the bookcases out there. I see Grisham, Lehane, and George R.R. Martin. There’s some Amy Tan, Steve Martini, Thomas Harlan, Stuart Woods, John Irving. There are lots of names I didn’t catch— it was just a quick scan. But one thing I did notice was the shelf where you can find Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft, and lots and lots of Stephen King.
These are not my books.
Someone must have bought and read them.
So yes, my mom has read just about everything I’ve ever written (there are a few things that no one shall ever see, and it’s a kindness for you all, trust me), and in fact there’s a shelf downstairs in her dining room with a dozen books featuring my work. It’s not every anthology I’ve ever had a story in, but she does have a couple down there that even I don’t have on the shelf. So as far as I know, my mommy is fine with what I write—with one somewhat notable exception.
I have a short story titled “Mutes,” which was released a few years ago, that I updated slightly and re-released back in February in my new book, Echoes of Darkness. When it originally came out it garnered a pretty strong response from some readers—for at least one or two, it’s their favorite thing I’ve ever written. But there’s one part . . . let’s see, how to go about this without being gross or having spoilers . . .
Okay, I usually don’t write gory gross stuff, but the main character in “Mutes” is an EMT—it’s kind of integral to the story—and so stuff happens at his job. He responds to an apartment house fire. Things happen.
We’ll leave it at that.
So I gave my mom “Mutes” to beta read—to read it over, looking for weaknesses before shopping it around to try to sell it—and after she read it she walked into my room.
“You read ‘Mutes’?” I said.
“Well? What did you think?”
“It’s good, but . . .”
“Well . . .” She made a face. I tried to prepare for my mommy telling me the suckitude was high. “Well,” she said, finally. “You know the part with the fire?”
“Yes,” I said.
“And the part with the little girl?”
“And her ear?”
“Yes,” I somehow managed not to scream.
“That right there,” she said, wincing a bit, “I think you went a little too far there. A little beyond reasonable bounds.” She handed the manuscript back to me with a tight little nod. “Yeah. A little far with that one.”
I waited until she’d walked of the room before shooting a double fist pump into the air. Woohoo! I screamed, in the vaults of my mind. I finally grossed out Mom!
So, for those who were wondering, yes, my mother reads my work. And yes, she’s okay with it—for the most part. And Mom (you know she’s going to read this, she’s my Mom for Christ’s sake!), I’m working on a novella at the moment I think you might like. I’ll talk to you about it when I’m done with it—I think I’m going just far enough with this one. But until then—and I know it's a little early, but:
Happy Mother’s Day!
I love you, Mom.
Talk to you later!
P.S. If you really want to see if I’m her fault or not, I’ll have to tell you about the first time I ever saw the movie version of Stephen King’s Carrie. What do you think, Mom?