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  • Writer's pictureT.S. Curtis

Sharing my Writing with my Mom

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

In November of 2021, I passed a copy of the finished Ink & Crown to my mom. The first thing she did was get a highlighter, and she started to read.

If you had told 15 year old me that I would be giving my mom a copy of one of my stories, I would have laughed in your face. I love my mom more than anything in the world, but my mom has been a teacher for nearly 25 years, with two degrees, both of which had language and literature focuses. She reads extensively, in every genre, and if she was not so busy would probably be the kind of person to run a blog critiquing books. Above all, if she does not like something, she will tell you. There was no creative coddling in my house. When I came home with artwork or short stories that she didn't like, I would hear why and get a list of how they could improve. I joke sometimes that part of the reason I didn't pursue and English degree was so that she couldn't critique my academic work, though she still goes over the writing aspect of all my assignments.

The other side of this is that I honestly believed my mom had no interest in reading what I wrote. We've always been a fairly open family and I think I mentioned to her a few times in late middle school that I liked writing -- partly because I was getting in trouble for writing stories in the margins of my notebooks during class (I was still ahead of the class and hitting all As but apparently me writing stories quietly at my desk was distracting to other students), and I was lugging three notebooks with me on every family road trip. But I remember mentioning liking writing stories and somewhat getting brushed off, so I came to the conclusion that she did not have much interest.

I moved home at the start of the pandemic. I've spent a lot of the small bits of free time I have writing, and I've spent a lot of time with my parents. My mom finally told me that she was waiting for me to ask her to read my stuff, and I told her I was waiting for her to ask to read it. That I though she had no interest in my writing. I very nervously passed off a copy of my finished story Ink & Crown to her in November of 2021.

I checked in about once a week and always got the same 'I'm still reading' response. A month came and went and when I asked if she was actually reading it she told me she was...she was just taking lots of notes for me. I figured she hated it.

Early February, she handed me the pages back. When my mom told me that she really liked I&C and that she thought it was a good story, I was floored. I actually think I stopped breathing. She had about 12 pages of notes plus nearly every page had something highlighted to be fixed, and said it still needed at least two rounds of revisions before it was ready to be read by more people, but still. She liked it. I think a small part of 13-year-old-me who had figured she would never share her writing healed a bit in that moment. I went through her (probably) hundreds of notes and if it was anyone else I would have hated myself for how many notes it needed to be fixed, but because it was her, I was still just running on the high that she didn't hate it. Now, she's going through it again and when I finish my next story, she's asked to get the first draft.

I never in my life though my mom would be reading my work, let alone championing me and helping me query it. In a weird way, that was the biggest writing goal I needed to hit. She's found two more language teachers who want to read the final draft. She talks about it, and goes out of her way to suggest things to help me, and apparently even tells other people about my stories.

My mom read my book, and it's a big deal to me. I can't wait for her to read the next one.

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