Friday, May 11, 2012

Musings about Mother's Day

by Meredith Cole

When I started to think of who Lydia McKenzie from POSED FOR MURDER and DEAD IN THE WATER might hook up with--some kind of super hero--I drew a blank.

Most superheros have, let's face it, strange hang ups and psychological issues. You know who I'm talking about. They're usually out at night looking for trouble, not hooking up with hipsters, and they're often fashion impaired (Underwear worn on the outside of tights? Really?). Lydia would have no patience with that.

It's also extremely problematic to give your sleuth a kid. A PI running after a murderer while wearing a Baby Bjorn is just wrong. Everyone would worry about the kid getting hurt. And it makes your main character seem like a nutcase. Lydia isn't planning to have kids for years and years, and I don't think she should either. She's single, has no savings, and lives in a very small apartment. She's not ready.

So instead of imagining love children and hipster hookups, I instead started thinking about mothers and writing. It is almost Mother's Day, after all. When my son was three, someone asked him what I did for a job. "Mommy types," he told them.

A typist? Is that how he saw me? I immediately started picturing all the times when he tried to get my attention and I said "mmm-hmm" and continued trying to finish the scene I was writing as fast as I could. How neglectful was I? What was I teaching him?

Now that my son is older, he thinks it's pretty cool that I'm a writer. He loves to read. I know he'd prefer it if I wrote YA or comic books, but I'm sure someday he'll like mystery novels, too. But here's what I really hope he learns from seeing me "type":

Do what you love. Despite the fact that family members might prefer that you do something like write comic books, stick to what you love. And do that.

Even when you've got other things going on (parenthood, jobs, etc.) find a way to make time every day to do what you love.

Believe that you can have it all-- a happy family, a job you love, an amazing life--and you will. It may just look a little different then you thought it would be when you were twelve. But that's okay because you won't be twelve any longer.

And finally--be flexible. Some goals are unobtainable except for a small few. So if your goal is to sell as many books as James Patterson, be President of the United States or win a gold medal in the Olympics, you might want to scale it back a bit. How about you want to write books that others will enjoy? That's doable.

So happy (almost) mother's day to all of you! And happy writing (and typing).


August McLaughlin said...

You sound like a wonderful mom. Encouraging me to do what I love is probably the best gift my parents gave me. Hope you get spoiled rotten tomorrow. ;-)

Meredith Cole said...

Awww... Thanks August! Just finally getting back to email today (was busy getting spoiled yesterday...).