Thursday, July 9, 2015

On Mothers & Fathers & the Authors They Raise

Tuesday was a challenging day. I saw a voice mail from my Dad but had no time to listen. Then the roses showed up with a note from my parents who'd just finished reading the advance reading copy of Harriet Wolf to each other aloud. It was a congratulations -- not on pub day but on the book itself. My parents don't send me flowers normally. This should be noted. 

I listened to the voice mail and it was my father -- his voice all choked up, telling me how much they love this book. 

I called. 

My mother answered. She said, "This isn't just my favorite book of yours. It's the best book I've ever read." 

I said, "Wait. Does this include Lee Smith?" 

She said, "Yes." 

I said, "Okay, I'm sending this book to Lee Smith and I'm telling her that it took me twenty books, but my mother says I've finally written something better than Fair and Tender Ladies." 

My mother agreed that I should do this. 

I added, "I'm also tracking down Anne Tyler and telling her the same thing, Pulitzer and all." 

My mother also conceded. Yes. Anne Tyler. 

I don't have the guts to ask my father about Vonnegut. But, still, the day had turned a corner. 

I know it's no great feat for a writer to say my Mommy and Daddy really love my book -- except sometimes it is.