by Lillian Csernica on June 10, 2015
My mother lives in a retirement community. There are lots of activities, from day trips to the monthly party for all the people who have a birthday in that particular month to a variety of classes and groups. This coming Saturday, the organizer of the Writers’ Group has invited a special guest speaker. Care to guess who that speaker might be?
That’s right. I will show up with my Shameless Self-Promotion Kit, talk a bit about my work, and then explain how the techniques of fiction are quite useful when writing a memoir.
I got over being nervous in front of an audience a long time ago. I joined my high school’s Speech and Debate Team as a sophomore, then competed on my college team. Attending conventions such as RadCon, Clockwork Alchemy, and BayCon as a guest speaker has kept my public speaking skills polished.
Now here’s the weird part. As I contemplate my presentation for this Writers’ Group, made up of people my mother knows and who all live in the same retirement community, I’m getting flashbacks to various moments in my childhood and teenage years when Mom wanted me to show off my latest accomplishment for neighbors or co-workers. My mother has always been an avid photographer, probably because she grew up helping my grandfather in his professional photography studio. This means Mom has a lot of blackmail material about me at age six dressed as a little gray mouse for a dance recital, or competing in swimming races during the summer when I was in grade school, or when I started working as a professional belly dancer.
So on Saturday I will stand up in front of my mother’s friends and tell them about my career as a professional writer. I’ll have copies of Ship of Dreams and some of the anthologies where my stories have appeared. My credentials are solid.
So why am I starting to feel nervous? Why do I have that old familiar feeling of wanting to make Mom proud of me? There’s nothing strange about that, of course. There is, however, a big difference between having that feeling when you’re six or sixteen, and feeling it when you’re pushing fifty. I know my mother is proud of me. That’s why the people where she lives know what I do for a living. And yet, part of me still wants to look out across the audience and see her sitting there, smiling and nodding.
Seeing my byline in print is great. Getting paid real money for it is even better. Still, there’s nothing like knowing I’ve made my mother proud of me.