Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Food for Thought: When Your Kids Want to See

A while back I was in the end process of editing. This entailed reading through the manuscript to make sure I’d crossed all my “t”s and dotted all my lower case “j”s. A slog, to be sure. As I was staring at the screen like a zombie, my daughter sidled up and started to read along. Well, as much as she can. She’s still in the “core” words stage of reading. I.e. run, jump, dog, log, mommy, daddy, if, and, me…

Let me first say I am ecstatic that dear daughter is learning to read. Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I can’t wait for her to be able to snuggle down in a chair and pour through books upon books. Only…

Only this time it went something like this:

DD- “Mommy.”

Me –still in editing daze- “Huh.”

DD- “What’s that word mean?”

Me –changing “it” to “is” (damn it all, how did I miss that?) “What word?”

Tiny finger coming into view. “That one.”

Me- looking. And… NIPPLE. “Ah, uh…” Frantically scrolling… “Er…”

DD- “Can you read the page to me?”

Me- Shite! “Uhm. Not right now, sweets. I’ve got to fix something else.” Find. Some. Other, page!!! More nipples! Scroll! Scroll!

DD- “But I want to read your book.”

Flaming of face and at a loss for words, I distracted her with a viewing of Wonder Woman on YouTube. But it begs the question. When will I let my daughter read my stuff? Will I ever want her too? And what does it mean?

Am I ashamed of the sex and violence in my stories? No. Not at all.

Or am I? I don’t know if it would ever make me comfortable to have my children reading my stories. Or my mother, for that matter.

But sooner or later, my children will learn to read. Should I be published by that happy time, there isn’t much I can do to keep them away from my books. What will I do then? Tell them it’s a grown up book, I suppose. Eventually, though, that won’t fly. So what to do?

What do you all think? Do you mind having your parents, children, friends, neighbors read your work? If you ARE writing stories with mature themes, what will you do when your kids express interest in your stuff? And do you see this as a sign of shame? Or perhaps just the uncomfortable feeling of those closest to you delving a bit too deep into your psyche?


  1. Great story Kristen! :-) I *think* I would be okay with showing any such stuff to family (and if I had kids, waiting till they were old enough and then letting them read it), but I can just picture my mom saying something like "this scene is a bit gratuitous, are you sure you need them jumping into bed again so soon?"

  2. LOL! Ah, I can imagine the panic that gripped you, Kristen. :-) My Miss Five tries to read over my shoulder every now and then, and it's always when there's something gruesome or, ahem, spicy, happening on the page.

    I wouldn't mind the kids reading my work when they're older, but they're way too young for the subject matter right now. Friends I'm good with, too. As for parents ... oh, I'd LOVE to be a fly on the wall when my mum reads my book, just to see her reaction. She's only ever read a very tame short story of mine, about a young Victorian girl coming to appreciate her new home in Australia, and her only comment after reading was, "well, that was a bit depressing." (???!!!) I'd love to see what she makes of my story of murder, mutilation and revenge. (g)

  3. Ooh, Rachel, whatever happened to that short story?