Thursday, March 15, 2012

I’ve had the idea for this post for a while, but I am an idiot and didn’t realize my mother’s birthday would be the perfect time to post it. Here’s to getting it under the wire, Mama. And Happy 63rd.

After Sunday’s post, I’m pretty sure my dad’s fan club has gained a few members. Before it was made up of my family, my dad’s clients at his psychology practice, and my friend, Ken. Ken has never met my father but, as they share a name and a birthday, my Dad-Ken can do no wrong in my Friend-Ken’s eyes.

But instead of feeling proud about honoring my father on here, I’ve felt guilty about not honoring my mom. When I sent her Sunday’s post, I even accompanied it with this email:

Hi Mama,

Okay, here's the post. My readers will know how awesome you are too eventually :)


I don’t want you guys to think for one second that just because I happened to talk about my dad first on here, that means he’s in any way more supportive than my mother.

To tell the truth, it’s tough for me to talk about how supportive my mom is. It’s tough for me to do much of anything but stare at her in awe, wondering how I got to be so lucky.

I didn’t send her that blog before I posted it because it concerned my dad. I sent it to her because I send her everything I write. From college essays to book chapters to blog posts, Mom has always made the time to serve as my first pair of eyes.

One of the many times I confessed my worries and insecurities to her about my ability to make it as a writer, she answered: “People do make it as writers, and actors, and singers. A lot of people don’t. But who’s to say you won’t be one of the ones who does?”

So, yeah. It’s pretty safe to say that my parents are a pair of supportive badasses. That’s why I didn’t quite know how to respond when a college friend once commented, “I think my parents were too great for me to ever be a good writer.”

I think she was referring to the popular idea that a lot of people turn to writing (or any art form, really) as a way to work through unresolved childhood issues. But I still couldn’t help gaping in silence for a few moments. “Wow,” I finally said. “Yeah. I don’t feel that way at all.”

Even with their amazing support aside, I think having good parents made me a better writer. If there is one unifying theme in everything I’ve ever written; it’s that I write about loner girls searching for family. Some are searching for family in the conventional sense (my Fictionpress loves know what I’m talking about), while others are just looking for those tight bonds that signify family far better than DNA ever could.

If I had never experienced loving, open relationships with my parents, I’m not sure I would be anywhere near as good at developing those relationships between my characters. It’s easier for my heroines to accept that their mother and father figures want the best for them, since they know from my experience how that’s supposed to feel.

If you don’t get along with your parents, then by all means use any artistic means you can to work through it. But if you’re lucky like me, never let anyone make you feel like you’re not “tortured” enough to be a good writer. Be proud, and work to make your badass parents as proud of you as you are of them.


  1. I have to say, this post made me cry. You're definitely blessed with supportive parents. My mom is wonderful, in so many, many ways.. But... well, my mother has read something I wrote in the sixth grade, and a short story from a couple years ago. Writing as a "fun little hobby" that should be put away until after I'm a doctor just didn't cut it for me. I stopped posting stories up on fictionpress, but I miss the support that brought sometimes an awful lot.

    That got depressing awfully fast. What I was going for was.. I'm glad you have awesome parents that help you share awesome writing with the world.

    1. Thank you. Fictionpress was a vital source of support for me too. I think it's so great that there's this place where you can get unbiased feedback on your writing. Supportive or not, friends and family are always going to be a little biased one way or the other about your work.

  2. Hey Jilly ~ Thanks so much ~ no one's ever called me a badass before (by the way, the spell checker is complaining about badass I keep looking up at your post to make sure I spelled it right).
    You're a wonderful daughter and a terrific author. I'm sure I can speak for your dad and I and your sisters ~ we're all very proud of you. Love, Mom

    1. That is my birthday gift to you. Calling you a badass on the internet. Spell check doesn't recognize the word "velociraptor" either--we have a lot of disagreements, spell check and I.

      Thank you, Mama. For everything.

    2. You're welcome, Jilly.

  3. PS - I had to publish as Anonymous, because evidently I don't have the credentials for anything else!