It's the day before Thanksgiving, but my mind is on Friday, only not because of the shopping. On the 23rd, my mother will turn 89. She doesn't need anything--except out of the nursing home she's in while her broken ankle heals. I was going to buy her a plant, but my niece beat me to the punch. Last weekend, I finished moving her out of her assisted living apartment because once she's out of the nursing home, she'll have to go to a foster home--one of the 'benefits' of dementia means she needs more care.
While packing up, I came across stacks and stacks of photographs she'd taken over the years along with many other items from the past ranging from ancestors' death certificates to newspaper clippings. Yesterday the light bulb went off. I'm going to compile several scrapbooks filled with what was always precious to her, the family historian. How much of the material will have meaning for now I don't know, but as I emailed my sister, eventually we'll have those scrapbooks as reminders of our mother's passions.
That's what got me thinking about roots, specifically the roots of my writing. These days I'm doing mostly erotica which I'm sure Mother and my grandparents would find incomprehendable. Before her mind decided to go someplace safe and serene, I let her read my first erotica. Suffice to say, I'm glad she doesn't remember it. I know my conservative teacher mother didn't approve or understand why I was drawn to erotica, but now that I think about it, I'm amending what I said about my grandparents' reaction, specifically my grandfather. Homer Eon Flindt was murdered at age 34 when my mother was six, but I've long felt close to him. Why? He was a writer, specifically a writer of science fiction and fantasy, much of it appearing in the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 30s. He also had a couple of books published as well as some 30 movie treatments (forerunners of screenplays), not a bad accomplishment for the busy father of three who also ran a shoe repair shop with his brother. I've read most of his work and am in awe of his intellect. His mind took him on journeys far beyond the science of his day to distant planets My mind doesn't do what his did, but I thank him for what creativity he did give me.
My writing roots: from him, most certainly but also from my mother who was my teacher through elementary school and encouraged my writing creativity and my teacher grandmother who always give me and my sister books for our birthdays and Christmas. Books were my joy, my escape, my passion. They still are.
So Mother, Nana, and Grandpa, those 50 plus books I've written are because of you. It's an insane business, one filled with financial insecurity and sleepless nights spent in conversation with characters, a career where my closest friends are fellow writers I've met online and meeting a reader is a gift. Today's marketplace requires me to self-promote and when I do I pound the erotica drum in hopes of grabbing the attention of those illusive readers, but I'm not about about hot and heavy sex. I'm about a man who died too young and his widow and daughter who nurtured his gift in me throughout my childhood.