As an artist of things that aren’t exactly the most young-one-friendly, I’ve spent a large portion of my time telling my kids excitedly what it feels like to be an artist, while also holding them at an arms-length from the stuff I write. Yeah, I have that chapter book I wrote a few years back that I still haven’t figured out what to do with that they enjoyed, and sure, they’ve gotten to read little things here and there, but mostly, I just didn’t see my books as being something they’ve even get interested in, beyond the appropriateness of the content.
A few years ago, my eldest decided to pick one of my books off the bookshelf (we just so happened to actually have them on the shelf, which is surprising because I usually give them away nearly as quickly as I get them in), and then quickly made it through all of them. She immediately became my biggest fan, and that was pretty darn awesome. My most recent book, the one I’m in the midst of trying to get published, she loved so much when she read an early version that she’s already ready to read the re-written version just because she wants to see the differences. It’s possible I lucked out that she’s just young enough to not quite see my books as being embarrassing yet, but she’s been one of the biggest proponents for my books, working to try to get her book clubs in the schools to read them and just all around telling her friends about them.
Just last week, I came across my middle child reading my first novel, The Legend of Buddy Hero. I noticed he was reading the first version, a version I published before I realized how absolutely terrible it was and took it down, completely rewrote the thing several times, became part of a few writing communities, and overall became a completely different level of writer before finally publishing the real version. I told him he should really read the real version, something I then realized we didn’t have in the house (because of the aforementioned giving-away-of-my-books policy that I should probably reconsider for the sake of my wallet), so I went ahead and ordered a copy of that, as well as copies of the four other books of mine that we weren’t in possession of.
And they arrived today. And my kid who has been fighting the urge to continue his read of the version of the book he had been reading, ran out to the mailbox this morning (because the post office was early on the delivery today for some reason) and excitedly tore open the box, before asking if he could take the book to school today.
Because he’s ready.
And for all of the successes I’ve had with my writing (which aren’t that few!), the excitement of my kids over getting to read it might be the biggest thing for me.
So, I’m feeling pretty awesome today.