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Grandma Knows Best, But That’s Another Story

| Related | March 21, 2016

(My grandmother just learned that I’m a writer. She’s a former elementary school librarian with a love for reading all different genres and used to proofread work for the older students, so she’s clearly interested.)

Grandmother: “Sometime you should show me something you’ve written and I’ll let you know what I think of it.”

Me: “Okay… sure.”

Grandmother: “Make sure it’s a copy of it because I’ll probably write suggestions all over it.”

(Most of what I write isn’t really something I’d want to show to my grandmother, so I dig through everything I have until I find a notebook containing an adventure-themed short story I wrote right after high school. It’s not really my favorite thing I’ve ever written, but I can’t find anything else that I’d feel comfortable showing her, so I give her that. Next time I see her, she hands it back to me with a bunch of helpful suggestions and corrections written on it in red pen.)

Grandmother: “I liked it. I think it would make a cute children’s book. However, I think I liked the second story better.”

Me: “Wait, second story?”

(I look at the back of the notebook and am horrified to realize that it’s the same notebook I’d used to write the first several chapters of a violent, gory, and profanity-laden space opera that also happened to contain an explicit sex scene between a human and a very non-humanoid alien. I’d given up handwriting halfway through after a hand injury made it too hard for me and re-typed it all up on my laptop where I continue to refine it to this day, so I have forgotten that it was in there.)

Grandmother: “So I take it that I wasn’t supposed to read that one?”

Me: “No… No, you weren’t…”

Grandmother: “Oh… Well, if you ever feel comfortable showing me the rest, I’d like to know what happened to [Character].”

(She didn’t seem bothered, so eventually I worked up the courage to email her the rest, complete with the intact sex scenes that were re-written to be more realistic and less fanfiction-y. Though I’m more comfortable with it now, I don’t know what I should have been more horrified about, that I actually showed something like that to my grandmother, or that she actually loves it and is now my proofreader.)

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