Thanksgiving’s closing in quickly. Enter the holiday season, with all the familial insanity it always brings.
I used to wish I had a normal family. You know, as a kid. Back when I thought there was such a thing. Cookies and group hugs and plush carpet and new pets and lame-o matching sweaters at Christmas. All that.
I didn’t think anyone else had drama at the house after school. I thought it was just us. I wanted to be Â a sitcom.
Families are neurotic and slightly disassembled, even at best. Always. I’ve (and you’ve) learned that. No one’s immune. Everybody has plenty of baggage.
Comes with that whole “breathing” thing we do.
One thing that pisses me off the most in mass market, poorly-written fiction is the standard happy family trope.
Doesn’t exist. Maybe mom’s a great cook and loves her kids and remembers to show it. Okay, fine. But she also has to have a DUI on her record or a mystery high school boyfriend or a weird plant festish. SOMETHING.
Those plastic, Pleasant-Valley parents don’t exist. Period. They’re all human. We’re all human. Our kids, who we try our hardest for, will also be human and fuck up in whole new ways.
It’s life, y’know. It’s how families are. They arrive in this world as troubled networks to begin with. They always have.
So why write one-dimensional, shiny-shiny family non-drama into print?
Don’t you hate books and stories where they’re ideal and not real?
Sounds to me like a scared child reaching, authoring characters he’d like to have grown up with. It’s sad, really.
Face your crap. Own it. Write it down, if you’re a writer. That’s your job. You don’t have to pretty it up. Just go with it.
Reality is just so much more—interesting.
And we’ll probably still respect you in the morning.