Emma at 12 1/2...

Given that my daughters started school on Tuesday, and my classes don't begin until Monday the 9th, I've booked a lot of lunch and coffee dates this week. Everyone I see wants to know how my girls are, and when I respond with the standard motherly groaning and eye-rolling (though they are actually fairly boring children), my friends always seem to think I mean the 18-year-olds. "Now, Emma. She's twelve, right?"

As one friend added, "Isn't she the good one?"

Listen up. Emma is twelve and a half. It seems as though it was only a month or so ago that I began congratulating myself on getting Annie and Pearl safely ushered through the rough waters of adolescence, when Emma began...acting different. She's always been strong-willed and loud, a natural enough function of being the youngest of three. But suddenly, she was pouty and sullen. She was yelling at me and at her dad. She was slamming doors and hiding in her room. We were fighting over the car radio.  

So I had a talk with ... not Emma (what good would that do?), but with myself. Hey, self, I said. Hang on tight!

Why am I telling you this? I think that raising teenagers and being a writer are very similar. My mantra with the girls has always been, "Keep them busy, and keep an eye on them." Oh, and, "Catch them doing something right," comes in a close second. Come to think of it, "If they read, don't worry too much about the rest of it," has also been a useful expression. (My unacademic threesome are all readers, one voraciously so.)

And my writing mantras fit in perfectly: Keep writing. Pay attention. Lots of terrible writing isn't a problem, so long as you find a little bit worth keeping. Read.


  1. That cat sure looks smug! He or she loves being loved by Emma. Puberty comes so fast, seems like you just get them potty trained and whoosh they are into puberty, mood swings and trying to break forth into their own life and away from yours. Parents go into shock wondering what happened and how did it happen so fast.


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