Every now and then in an interview or a Facebook comment, someone will ask me, "What do your parents think of what you write?" or "Are you embarrassed to have your parents read naughty scenes in your books?"
I answer quite honestly that my parents are two of my best beta readers, and that my mom cheerfully catches typos in my sex scenes without batting an eyelash. Since she's reluctant to get a Facebook account of her own, I've given Mom the password to mine. She jokingly refers to it as "our Facebook" and reads every word I write (probably cringing each time I post something on the far end of the risque spectrum, and cringing again when she sees her friends "like" the post).
A couple weeks ago, I got an adorable email from my mom that got me thinking about the funny little ways parents shape their children. In some ways, it answers the "what do your parents think?" question better than I ever could. Here's the note:
Your father and I are just sitting here on the beach. The fog finally lifted and it's very warm. I'm reading one of your books and relaxing. We just happened to hear a father tell a little girl,"you can't take your shirt off, you're a girl." Made me think of another time, when it was my own little girl, wanting to ride her bike without her shirt on. Sometimes you have to push back the old ways you are raised with/biases, and just let youngsters be themselves. Your father has always helped me to overcome some of the strong mores that I was raised with. Maybe that has something to do with your free-wheeling topics on your blog and in your books.
Now this is a pain to type on my cell.
Sent from my iPhone
|Yep, that's me. With no shirt. Riding a bike.|
The way they handled that says a lot about what awesome parents I have, and also partly explains why I grew up without a lot of the body-image issues that seemed to plague many of my peers. I was never made to feel there was anything shameful about the human body or the things it's capable of (with the possible exception of peeing standing up – that was frowned upon after several misguided attempts).
So to answer the questions about whether my parents are embarrassed by my sexual humor, or whether I'm embarrassed to have them read it – hell no.
I mean heck no.
Sorry, Mom. That's the first time I ever cursed, I swear.
As for the rest of you, what kinds of things did your parents do that shaped who you became as a person or a writer? For better or worse, are there things you can point to that molded your views of the world or yourself? Please share!