Friday, November 15, 2013

Seven things my family would say about my writing


I don’t often talk about my family on this blog. That’s partly because I wanted to keep it more or less professionally-focused and partly because I haven’t been in touch with my extended family since I escaped to Canada. They’re all very conservative and devoutly religious, so they didn’t like what I turned out to be.

But when I read 14 ways to tick off a writer yesterday, it reminded me of them, especially the part about asking when a book will hit the NYT bestseller list. I’m not sure my extended family is aware of the NYT bestseller list, since most of them live in rural Sri Lanka and/or don’t read any books except for the Bible, but at once I imagined what they would say if they knew about my novels.

1. “How can you write about people having intercourse? Who would read that?”

You can tell the mental image is of shifty-eyed men in long raincoats lining up for brown-paper-wrapped copies of the book.

2. “I asked my dentist if he had ever heard of you but he said no.”

3. “Have you thought of writing a book about Jesus?”

4. “How much money have you earned? …Why is that private?”

5. “My grandson knows how to get all these free electronic books from this website on the Internet. Such a smart boy, he doesn’t even have to pay for them! I must ask him if he has your book too.”

6. “Why didn’t they put your Singhalese name on the cover?”

7. “You know, my friend’s boss’s cousin’s daughter-in-law is a doctor.”

4 comments:

Loren said...

Writing a book about Jesus Christ? You could write a novel about how someone goes back in time in a time machine to try to meet him and then discovers that he was not what one would expect, but Michael Moorcock already did that one in Behold the Man.

Diane Carlisle said...

If you wrote a book about Jesus, the religious people will come after you like the townsfolk hunted down Frankenstein's monster. lol

I boil over at, "You know, I had an uncle who wrote a book once."


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

The line about the dentist jumped out at me. Family members really know how to deflate.

stephen swartz said...

Now I don't feel so bad about my family's reaction to my books. Thanks!

(The intercourse question...of course, nobody knows about that, not really, even after being married and having a child I remain innocent to my parents.)