(There is a point to this rambling, so just hang in there. Bear with me).
Everyone thinks it’s a child’s preschool years that are the worst, which in a lot of respects it is. (I mean, the whole wiping bottoms thing totally sucked). But now I have a teenager and it’s a WHOLE different ball game. In some respects, I’d rather go back to wiping tushies than have to deal with puberty and hormones.
I swear I was never THAT bad as a teen. I was respectful, courteous, did my homework, kept my room spotless, and NEVER once questioned my parent’s authority or mass amounts of wisdom. And I never broke out crying for no good reason at all either.
Okay, I lie. But I was pretty good in comparison to a lot of teens out there.
Actually, my kid isn’t so bad. He’s pretty respectful to teachers, adults, and his friends’ parents. He’s courteous and kind (most of the time . . . brother and sister excluded). He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He still thinks girls have cooties and he hangs out with a pretty good group of kids.
So what’s my problem?
The kid drives me CRAZY with all his questions. Seriously. Question after question after question. I thought kids only did this when they were two, not when they’re almost fourteen! What the heck?
I actually had to tell him today, “That’s it. No more questions. You’re at your daily limit.”
Here’s the thing, little kids ask questions like: “Why’s the sky blue?” or “If I drop this egg, will it bounce?” or “How much do you love me, mommy?”
Teenagers ask questions like: “What does douche bag mean?” or “Can I have these twenty dollar bills in your purse to buy Mountain Dew for me and my buds?” or “So what kinda car are you gonna buy me when I start driving?” or “I have a ten page report due tomorrow in science, can you help me?” or “Why do I have to shower after gym?” or “Why do I have to make my bed? It’s only gonna get slept in tonight.” or “Danny’s parents are out of town and he wants me to hang out and have a sleep over, can I?” or “The principle didn’t call today, did he?”
It’s hunky-dory, I tell you. Like I said, a whole other ball game. To make matters worse, these questions are fired at me one right after another. Most of my answers are: “No”, “Never”, “Over my dead body”, and my favorite, “Because I said so.”
So what does this, if anything, have to do with writing?
(Drum roll, please)
Writers, just like moms of teenage boys, get asked a lot of annoying questions as well. (Ta-Da. See how I tied that in? Clever, huh?).
Now, don’t get me wrong. If a question is asked out of genuine interest, then no matter how bizarre the question, I really do try to answer it. But there are some questions that truly annoy me, no matter who is asking them. Here’s a few:
1) Oh, but hasn’t someone written a book just like that before? What’s his name? You know, the guy who made a kazillion dollars? It was really good too. (Well, thank you for crushing my soul and a year’s worth of work. Here’s the thing, usually my book ends up being NOTHING like the kazillionair’s book—which could be a good or bad thing for me—but the person who asked, now thinks I’m a hack).
2) Are you writing? (Usually asked while I’m smack dab in the middle of writing an intense scene and it’s going well. It’s usually followed by additional questions that then sucks away my creative mojo and the momentum is lost).
3) So why aren’t you published yet? (This is usually asked in a “you-must-suck” kind of tone. I usually respond with, “I thought you were going to try and lose 20 pounds by the first of the summer? What happened?).
4) I’m working on a little gem of my own. Do you think you could take a look at it for me, see what I can do to spruce it up? (No. When I’m looking at your little “gem” I’m having to take away from my own work. And I can tell you right now, almost every time I’ve said sure, I end up regretting it. The work usually needs a lot of help and then I’m left trying to find a kind way to tell them this without hurting their feelings. I hate being put in that position).
5) Is your novel any good? (Why no. My novel is crap, but thanks for asking you jerk!)
6) What’s your novel about again? (“Again” is the keyword. Insert feelings of failure right here).
For the most part, I love being asked about my work. I love it when people genuinely want to know how things are going because they want to see me succeed and celebrate my success with me. Maybe I’m the jerk for not being patient enough.
All I know, is that there are some questions, that when asked, make my teeth clench and my shoulders stiffen—just like the questions asked by my teenage son—and I just want to say, “Enough. No more questions. You’re at your daily limit.”
So what kind of questions do you get asked, and do they annoy or flatter? And if you think I’m being unfair, let me know that too. Honestly, I’m opened minded (unless I disagree with you, of course).