Open Wounds

Macabre Eraser Eating and other Sundries

My son is writing a book – a page a day, he tells me, “If I write a page a day in a year I’ll have written a novel.”

Then a little while later he says, “If I write two pages a day – only two pages a day – I’ll write a novel in… ” I can see him doing the math in his head, “half a year.”

I nod. “It’s cool isn’t it?”

“Yes!”

He shows me his new page(s) every night. He doesn’t usually show me his writing for school so this is a new thing for me. When I’ve ask to see his school work in the past he’s usually said, “No.” I’ve had to search for his stories and essays in his work folders after it’s been handed back to him and placed somewhere in his overstocked and overflowing backpack. Or my wife has had to tell me where it was. She knows. She almost always gets to read his work.

He’s finding real joy in putting his pencil to his page. He sits at the table at night staring out the window with his pencil eraser between his teeth, chewing and thinking. Every once in a while his pencil moves down and across the page leaving text behind. I sit with my back to him at my computer doing my version of the exact same thing with electronic text. I don’t chew on an eraser – though I’m not against it if it helps to think. I usually sip tea.

When he’s finished he wants me to read it, “Right now.”

He stands next to me and places his book in my lap. He points at it. “Now.” He watches while I read it, his hands together in front of him. He cracks his knuckles one after the other rolling from one finger and hand to the next. I laugh out loud when the story is funny. He smiles when I do that.

“Who should I kill off?” he asks, placing his hand on my shoulder.

“Let me finish reading,” I say.

“I’m not going to kill off anyone,” he says. “Maybe just have one of them lose a foot or a hand.”

“Shh,” I say.

“Read it,” he responds.

It reminds me of so many writer’s that I know, including myself. “Tell me what you think?” He asks and I have to tell him now. When I give my work to someone to read I want the same thing, now, only as an adult trying to show that I have impulse control, that I can be patient, that time is of no importance to me – I say instead, “When you get the chance.” Or worse, “There’s no rush.” What that really means is, “Now.” Trust me. it means, “Pick up the manuscript and start reading now. And don’t stop until you’ve finished. Because I want to know what you think – if it’s any good and I want to know now. I’ve been inside my own head for over a year, written 235 pages, and need to know it’s been worth the effort so I can write another 100-200 pages more of my epic – though it’s not really an epic I just think of it that way. And if you make me wait a day or a week or – God help you – a month to get back to me I’ll have to exist in silent scream torture mode as every day I check me email to see if you’ve sent me a note that says, “I’m done.” ”

My son is quiet while I read the rest of the page. He sits on the arm of my work-chair, reading over my shoulder. He asks me, what do I think, with raised eyebrows when I close the book and look up.

Wonderful.

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2 responses

  1. You are so very lucky. Both my daughters write stories, but they refuse to let me read them. It makes me very sad.

    July 4, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    • I know. Usually I get to see nothing so I’m enjoying this while I have it.

      July 5, 2013 at 5:12 am

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