Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Lesson in Angst

"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due." William R. Inge

We've all heard what a waste of energy it is to worry. Nine times out of ten, we agonize over things, which never transpire…

I've squandered countless amounts of energy myself over the past six months. Energy, I could've applied to writing, laughing, relaxing, or anything better than worrying what my 75-year-old mother would think of me when she discovered I penned erotic fiction.

So, I learned an important lesson last night: I am an idiot for not realizing this concept sooner.

My mother called yesterday evening, as she's prone to do whenever she gets a case of the lonelies, as she calls them. We exchanged, How's it goings and are you doing Okays, along with her inflicting her typical parental care: Have you lost any more weight? You're still smoking aren't you? And my all-time favorite, You still have a job, right?

Now, this is the point of our conversations (which is probably the reason my mother only calls when necessary), that Jack, my alter ego, is inclined to rear his ugly head…and he did.

My mother's words disappeared, and the tone of her voice became a blur. As I heard Jack's voice egging me on, I felt myself smirk. Hang up on the old biddy! he said.

"Jack, stop it!" My mind tried to shut him up, but to no avail.

Tell her you can't believe she's still breathing.

"Jack!!!" I screamed, but only realized I'd verbalized that thought after my mother asked me who I was talking to, and…Who in the hell is Jack?

Her question took a minute to sink in, but a minute was hardly enough time for my panic-stricken mind to recover. And, as I'm prone to do, I blurted out Jack's next instruction. "Uh…one of the kids asked me a question about a character in one of my books – His name is Jack." I told her.

He'd done it now. My mother proceeded to ask me if my writing was going well and if I'd anything published yet. I informed her, yes – and – no. Then she paused – a longer than normal pause for my mother, and I could envision her wheels churning.

See, my mother's one to beat around every bush a thousand times hoping you'll hand over the information without her having to ask – as she's done for over six months now, concerning my writing. I don't particularly feel any empathy for the fact that she feels asking a sign of weakness – my philosophy is, if you want something – you'd better ask for it. Yet, like any human, my mother can only stand being in the dark for so long…

As I sensed the light flick on inside her mind, I closed my eyes trying to calm my rapidly rising heart rate…I knew. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had known since day one, that sooner or later, my mother would ask to read my writing. For the last six months, I'd been hoping it'd be later than sooner.

Have you written anything interesting? Anything you think I'd like?

Oh boy – or was that, Oh man… "Would you like to hear my biography? You'd get a kick out of it – I've incorporated everything I've learned from you." I said, hoping she'd leave it at that…

She laughed so hard, it took me twenty minutes to finish the paragraph.

She thought your telling the world about your trust issues was funny? She really does need to get out more, Jack said. He had gotten me into enough trouble already and I was willing him into submission when my mother asked me what else I had written. I swore to myself, if my hands ever found Jack's neck...

What else could I do? I told her the truth. "You probably wouldn't appreciate the genre that I'm currently writing, mom. I mostly write erotic fiction, you know – stories with graphic depictions of sex – in my case, hot man-on-man sex."

Really? Do you have anything that's short you can read to me?

Gulp. Sweat. Shiver…Aha! I'd just written a 500-word Halloween flash for the Seven Wicked Writers contest, so I clicked, and clicked, and then clicked again to get to my entry on their web site. "This one is extremely mild compared to my usual style," I said, and then read it aloud. I recognized only a slight shudder when I recited, "The flesh of his naked torso searing as it contacted mine…"

Wow…Do you have anything else?

"Mom…" I could only imagine that wasn't a shudder I'd heard, and was declining when she asked that I at least tell her my storylines, and insisted on hearing about my characters. So, I began with my current WIP, We All Face Him, the first book in my JT Wolfe, PI Series. I went on to describe all my to-die-for men and each of their roles.

She commented on my genius (highly exaggerated, I can assure you), and then she waited. It didn't appear she'd tire anytime soon. So, I mentioned I'd written a story for a charitable cause, my story Ismael's Cry; and I told her about my geek story, Exposed that I'd submitted for another anthology.

Ooh, Nerds! Now, that's right up my alley!

"Mom?" She asked if I'd written anything besides men loving other men. "Well, I've attempted some Lesbian fiction that needs a lot of work. But, I've submitted a really good transgendered story; though it's pretty racy."

Of course, I first had to explain to her the meaning of the word, transgendered, and then she wanted to know if my story was about a he who felt he was a she or a she who…you get the point.

"It's called If I Were a Lady…It's about this transgendered, fifth grade teacher – a biological male, female teacher, who becomes the object of the new principal's affections – a very straight male principal…Who has a tendency to instigate wild sex in peculiar situations at any given moment. But, it's really a good illustration of how frustrating it is to be transgendered."

Well, where'd they do it? HOW'd they do it? Come on, I wanna hear it!

She may have been primed and ready to go by then, but after two hours with a phone to my ear, I had a crick in the neck and…I was going to bed.

You know, Bryl…I wouldn't mind reading about men screwing other men any day of the week, you're going to have to send me some…Can you?

"Uh…sure, as soon as I get published, I'll—"

Just don't send me your lesbian stories…I don't wanna read about women munching—


Despite all I thought I had learned last night, how pointless my worrying over if she'd approve of me and my writing, or not...As I think back on her eager acceptance, I can't help but wonder...Should I be worried??

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