Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Date: April 26, 2017

Writer’s Life and an Announcement

I love being a writer. For as long as I can remember, this is what I wanted to do. Oh, it went through different variations. At one point, I wanted to write for Hollyweird (I was very young). At another, I wanted to follow the family tradition and become a journalist. Then I realized that I had, for as long as I could remember, made up stories, not just for my own entertainment but for that of my friends and family as well.

For a very long time, starting back in grade school, I wrote stories. They’d be called fanfic today. As I got older, I realized I could use my imagination and make up my own worlds and characters and write about them. I’ve blogged before about how my cousin Clarice, God rest her soul, encouraged me to do just that. She told me the story of her father, my Great-Uncle Herb, who wanted to be a playwright. He wrote two plays — she gave me one of them, one Uncle Herb labored over his typewriter to produce — and copyrighted them. But then life happened and he decided making sure his family had food on the table and a roof over their heads was more important. Even so, he never lost his love of writing and one part of him regretted that he hadn’t been able to pursue his dream.

Had he been born later, at a time where he could take advantage of the opportunities writers have to go indie, that might have been different. I don’t know. All I know is Clarice’s words stuck with me. Even as I slogged through jobs I hated, I always did my best to find time to write. Oh, it wasn’t every day but when I could scratch out the time, I did.

So let’s fast-forward to today. Writing and freelance editing are my main sources of income now. I love it. Sure, I bitch about editing from time to time but that’s when I’m having to edit my own work. I know very few authors who are good at editing and proofing their short stories and novels. You see, we know what is supposed to be on the page and our brain thinks it sees it. That’s why we have editors and proofreaders, not to mention beta readers, to help us out.

We know we’ve done our jobs when we start seeing reviews going up on Amazon or elsewhere and when we see comments on social media or get emails telling us how much someone has liked our work. We tend to worry — okay, obsess and fret and threaten to never write again for whatever reason — when the reviews are slow to come. It’s hard to remember that not everyone who buys our work is going to run out and review it.

So here’s the thing, folks, I’m looking for reviews. What I’m considering, as a way of not only jostling a few elbows in hopes of getting folks who have read my work to go post a review on Amazon but to also bring in a few new readers, is a giveaway. I’m still working out the details and will announce them in the next day or two. So, there is your reason to check back here from time to time. I have the basic idea in mind — post a review for one of my books, send me the link and I will send you a free copy of one of my other titles. But, as I said, I need to work out the details. So, more to come.

Until then, let a writer know you appreciate their work. Writers need virtual pats on the back too.

Sharing

The other day, I saw a story about a mother who told her child he didn’t have to share his toys with the other kids at the playground. I’ll admit, my first inclination was a knee-jerk one of “who does she think she is?”. Then I read the story and, not surprising, the headline had miscued what actual facts were. Color me not surprised.

The basic set up was that a mother took her young son to the park. Almost as soon as they arrived, a group of kids descended upon the child, wanting him to share his toys with them. That’s not so unusual. What the headline failed to note was that these were not kids he knew. They were strangers. So, when the little boy, obviously distressed at having to give up his toys to people he didn’t know, looked to his mother for guidance, she told him he didn’t have to share unless he wanted to.

There’s the key and what so many of those who are now criticizing the mother seem to overlook. She gave the child permission to wait until he was comfortable sharing with kids he didn’t know.

There’s something else I wondered that so many of the mother’s critics seem to have overlooked. Where were the parents of those kids wanting the little boy’s toys? Why weren’t they there making sure their children introduced themselves and perhaps offered the little boy their own toys to play with in exchange for playing with his?

But no. The criticism has all fallen on the mother who told her son he didn’t have to share with strangers if he didn’t feel comfortable doing so at that time.

I really hadn’t planned on blogging about this because it is so stupid, imo. The mother was well within her rights to tell her son he didn’t have to share with children he — and by implication she — didn’t know. But national media picked the story up and you would think this woman is the worst mother ever. This morning, on Good Morning America, they were going on and on about how wrong she had been in how she handled the situation (at least it seemed that way. I’ll admit, I do my best to tune the show out when my mother has it on)

Here’s the thing, if you are sitting in the park, enjoying a sandwich or cold drink and a stranger walks up and asks for what you are eating or drinking, would you give it to him? I’m not talking about someone who is obviously in distress and needs a helping hand. I’m talking someone much like you. They just happen to like what you have and want it.

Do you have any obligation to “share” your things with them?

Let’s take it a step further.

Say you have taken your drone out to the park. Are you going to let someone you don’t know play with it? What happens if they crash it or, worse in some ways, just leave with it?

How about your dog?

See where I’m going with this?

What this mother did was simple. She made her son feel less pressured to do something he wasn’t comfortable doing. I bet if we followed the story — something the media isn’t doing because there are more “exciting” things going on now — we would find that the kids are making friends with one another in subsequent visits to the park. They are sharing their toys and having fun. That’s what kids do — as long as adults don’t get involved. Which, unfortunately, is what happened here. Not with the mother initially saying her son didn’t have to share if he didn’t want to but with other parents condemning what she did and with the media picking up on it and attacking her.

As parents, our first duty is to make sure our kids are safe and cared for. That includes their mental and emotional well-being. This mother knew her son wasn’t comfortable and she did her best to diffuse the situation. Is it how any of us would have handled it? I don’t know. None of us do because we weren’t there and we didn’t see the look in that little boy’s eyes. We can guess and we can pontificate but we don’t know.

So, kudos to the mother for doing what she thought was best for her son. I hope that when they return to the park, the kids are allowed to get to know one another without the Big Brothers and Sisters of whatever getting involved.

For more, including the mother’s response to the dirty looks she got at the time, check this post.

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