Just the other day someone asked me what it was like to be a “professional” writer. That same day I was asked if I would ever have a “real job”.
This coincides with the news of the “Great Resignation”, also known as the “Big Quit”. We’re told this is a growing trend, with employees resigning with a sort of “life’s too short for this” statement.
I started writing over two decades ago. I worked from home for decades before the pandemic made it necessary. Journalism majors are taught to “write what you know.” As it turns out, I know kids, goats, spoiled dogs, old houses and their subsequent “little charm attacks,” and I know how to be married to the most patient man alive. The last one is pretty easy.
Parenthood was also quite easy. We were blessed with two pretty easygoing babies who grew into amazing adults – sometimes because of and sometimes despite our best efforts.
The thing about writing about your life and the people closest to you is that you have to be aware of what’s allowed and what’s not. Erma Bombeck once famously said, “I found out a long time ago that the only people you could write about and who wouldn’t get bad mail might be Adolf Hitler.” That sounds about right.
I decided early on not to write anything about other people that I wouldn’t want to read about myself. This works pretty well, despite the fact that I’m a total jerk. I tend to just admit that so we all know what we’re working with. I suspect I’m getting into situations that more savvy people would have avoided. I just can’t resist.
It’s not that uncommon today, but I remember a time when people thought blogging or writing about your kids would mentally mess them up or lead to them being kidnapped. I can see these dots. I can now report with absolute confidence that BoyWonder and GirlWonder do not appear to be damaged or broken. I’ve also left a clear paper trail, very helpful, in case this is the case.
I’ve long said that you don’t need to spend years in therapy trying to come to terms with your childhood. I wrote everything down in black and white. MISTAKES WERE MADE. If you’re ever in a life situation with BoyWonder and find him taking care of laundry, dirty dishes and shoes, I’m sorry – so, so sorry.
I’m proud to say he’s blossomed into the man his peers seek for powerful life advice. He is also the man who sips his drink FROM A VASE instead of washing a glass. After all, life is about being adaptable.
GirlWonder is now a wife and a very patient dog mom. She juggles law school and stints abroad with being a supportive military wife. I couldn’t be prouder of her. Still waiting for What To Expect When You’re Expecting To Be The Parent of Adult Children to be released.
I feel like we’ve done pretty well with our build-your-own-humans, no-experience-necessary projects up to this point. However, I am still learning how to care for and feed a son-in-law and (future) daughter-in-law. I do not know anything! Were you properly warned about what it would be like to join Team Seabolt? There probably should have been some kind of seminar.
Mr. Wonderful continues to be the most patient man. I suspect he doesn’t always read my columns. (Slacker!) He’s gotten really good at nodding in public when people refer to him, though. Then he comes home and says, “Where’s the newspaper? What did you say about me?”
My closest friends know that despite the risks involved in being close friends with a dopey writer, I will never break their trust. What happens in the book club stays in the book club – or as our adult offspring call us: “Cake Club”.
However, they were all excited to pick out aliases, just in case. So “Kate”, “Sam” and “Verda”, rest assured that your secrets are safe with me. Your cake, not so much.
I am surrounded by a truly amazing family and many wonderful friends. I don’t want to stop. There is no greater gift than home and family. Two things I’ve been writing about for decades.
“Write what you know” indeed. I have a career of creativity and fan mail. My family is happy and healthy and it is unlikely that anyone will need therapy. I know people send me real snail mail, emails, and “I’ll read you first” comments. Each of these comments and compliments makes my day.
I know I continue to be blessed to do what I love with those I love. I pray that you all feel the same way.
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