A Red State relative came to visit last week.
-Moon-shaped face; strong brows; growing her hair chin-length as a concession to Mom. She’d prefer to crop it. She wears a custom black do-rag. Custom shit-kicker suede lace-up boots. Cutoffs, two tanks showing about 2 inches of decolletage. She’s pulling off a ‘tude I call the Guiless Bad-Ass (strongly influenced by Anime and Hunger Games, I think).
-Speaks her own eccentric patois, a blend of baby talk and an upper-crust Brit educated in an outpost of Her Majesty’s far-flung empire. Sample syntax: “Father, what was the name of that wonderful gun you taught me to shoot?”
-Yes, she’s learning how to handle guns, and wants a permit to carry (allowed where she lives). She also wants a big-ass truck. She doesn’t like men (and women?) with weak handshakes. She parrots her mom’s lamentations on Obama, Biden and Nancy Pelosi.
-Home schooled by an adoring mom with strong anti-government opinions. Mom’s not only a helicopter mom, she’s a Hercules helicopter mom. However, I think the home-schooling has helped both mom and daughter. Mom’s learned tolerance and acceptance of her daughter’s gifts and eccentrities; daughter has been allowed to explore her unique personality.
-Despite her relative isolation, she keeps in with friends who seem to appreciate her.
-Because I’m a writer, she expected me to listen to her stories. I negotiated for three – she was really eager to tell them all. Each one was at least half-hour long. (When my kids were little and they saw a movie without me, they’d tell me the movie plot in meticulous detail. Just like her). I really made myself listen but it was kind of hard since they were summaries rather than narratives. I’m impressed with her interest in bigger philosophical issues and her attention to character motivation. Like me, she sometimes forgets the names of her minor characters. She wants to be published by Tor. More power to her!
-Favorite word during our visit: “predominately.” When I asked her how much of her third story she’d written down, she said, “It’s predominately unfinished.”
-My prayer for this girl: please stay strong, and sharp and brave. Keep reading, keep exploring, keep an open mind. Keep writing, no matter what distractions come your way (and they will!).
Written with affection–