Sharing, and not.
Once upon a time, I was a little girl. No, it’s true. And this little girl, before it became apparent that I would spend my days speaking as though I was having a screen-test for a role on The Sopranos, asked my mother if I could use a curse word in a story I was writing.
She asked me which one. I whispered damn, feeling as though I might be swallowed up by the earth for saying such a thing to my mother. She said I could, but just once.
I remember writing the word in my precious notebook, and feeling powerful and horrified at once. No one saw those early stories, kept in spiral deals that I stashed under my bed and in various other hiding spots, but the word was there. I WROTE DAMN.
Years later, the summer I turned fourteen, I wrote my first bit of smut. It was nothing very risque, but given my strange paranoia that someone knew what I was doing, I was horrified with myself. In fact, to a degree, I still am. Note to self: find that notebook stashed at my parents’ house and burn it.
I’ve largely gotten over these worries. I curse like a sailor, and tend to forget my audience on a regular basis when telling a story in mixed company. I am terrible at realizing ratings are on movies and shows for a reason, and find myself realizing I probably shouldn’t have shown my kids this or that movie. They’re doing okay, promise. We’re saving money for the therapy.
Despite this, there is still a sliver of me that is absolutely terrified of my mother.
Now, an aside: my mother is awesome. She is a former teacher, and I learned at her knee how to curse, and how to smoke a cigarette and hold my liquor. Lest you think she’s a lush, she’s also well-read, bright, bitingly funny, with an encyclopedic knowledge of art history that still astounds me to this day. She is fun, and kind, and the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had.
That said? Good Lord, there are things I write that she should not read.
I am not ashamed of what I write, or what’s in my head. But where I can watch True Blood with her, I do not want to share some of my more… wanton writings. There is a line, and I don’t think I’m a prude for having one, or sparing my mother some of the details, about my life, and about my work. Where I won’t tell my mother about my sex life, I don’t really relish her reading some of the erotica submissions that have come out of my computer. If/when these pieces are published, I do hope she will be excited for me, will toast me with a glass of wine, and will solemnly swear to never, ever find a copy to read.
I love you, Mom. You’re amazing. But, really, some things will just remain known and not seen, a little like the Easter Bunny. You still get the chocolate.