First of all, a big thanks to Pam Uphoff for being our guest blogger yesterday. Great post, Pam, and it started me thinking. One of my "escapes" when I can't focus on the writing or -- groan -- when I have hit that point in editing when I know if I have to read one more word of this book I wrote months ago, I'm going to go screaming into the night, is to do a quick on-line genealogy hunt for my ancestors. Sounds simple, right? After all, in this day and age of computers and the internet, you can find just about anything.
Well, the problem is, as I search, I discover I come from a family of liars. Or at least the champions of stretching the truth. Growing up, I was told my great-grandfather left Pennsylvania for Colorado because he was Amish and had a great singing voice and he had to get away so he could sing. Well, no. That wasn't it at all. My great-grandfather was a newspaper man. He went to Colorado and opened his own paper and ran it for years before moving to Kansas and doing the same there. My great uncle, his eldest son, was the youngest linotype operator in the country at the time -- not the dashing World War I spy we'd always been told. But his brother, the "responsible" member of the family, was a businessman, head of the chamber of commerce, etc. What wasn't talked about was his secret. It's a very deep and dark secret and one I may be tossed out of the family for revealing.
I don't know if I dare say it -- My Uncle Herb was -- horror of horrors -- a writer.
Which brings me back to this past weekend. Uncle Herb's daughter and granddaughter were here visiting from Kansas. Clarice, Herb's daughter, is the family genealogist. We were talking and I got curious and did a quick search on the internet and discovered that the family secret is no longer, well, secret. It's there for the world to see if it looks. Listed in the Catalog of Copyright Entries by the Library of Congress are two entries for plays written by "Port Weatherly" and the revelation that Port is -- gasp -- Uncle Herb. It says so right there.
Oh the shame, the horror...the family secret is out. It was bad enough we had journalists in the family. But at least they ran the paper and edited the content. They didn't actually WRITE it. Well, they did, but it was so long ago we can forget it. Besides, those papers aren't really online so people can find them. But this is listed in OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS. What to do, what to do?
I wish I could say I was being completely facetious about this, but I'm not. Like many writers, many of my family simply don't understand the need we have to write. They don't understand that writing is something more than a hobby. It is a job and, for some of us, a need. If we don't write, we go a bit crazy because it is our outlet for frustration, fears, anger, etc. I'm one of the lucky ones -- sort of. My son knows about my writing and is in full support of it. My mother, on the other hand, is different. We have sort of a "don't ask, don't tell" understanding. She tries to act supportive, but the disapproval and the lack of understanding is there. So long ago we reached the unspoken agreement of just not talking about it.
What about the rest of you? Does writing seem to run in your family? Does your family support you as a writer or not? Do you talk to your family about writing? Curious minds want to know.