Good afternoon all!
So The Boy has always been a good student. Honestly, the kid is bright. Suddenly, last semester, his grades started slipping big time. Now granted, he's in the advanced college classes. And he's never been one to stretch himself, especially if he doesn't like the teacher.
Still, the kid is really, really smart. And we could not figure out why his grades were sliding. Yes, we asked all the big questions, sex, drugs, alcohol...and then we realized something:
The kid loves music. He's buried himself deep in the music world.
I'm not talking about how I buried myself in marching band and piano practice. No, The Boy is full on a music person and since we live so close to Milwaukee, which is a music town, don't be fooled by the beer consumption, he's been able to attend a lot of concerts. A LOT OF CONCERTS.
He told me the other day that he really didn't want to go to college, but that he'd probably have to since we demanded it. This was a big change from a year ago when he said he was going because he couldn't wait to have the dorm experience. Now, at 17, he's far more independent. The battles we've had with him aren't about picking his socks or eating his vegetables, because he does neither. The battles we've had lately have been more along the lines of our view that he needs permission to do certain things and his view that he's perfectly capable of doing them, that informing us should be enough.
I'm telling you all this because it's been an eye opener for me. My boy, the one I was certain was going to get an academic scholarship to a Big 10 school, may not even go to a traditional college. And, after a long time of thinking and praying about it, I realize that it's okay. His dreams are not the problem. I'm the one who had to adjust my dreams for him.
He's a good kid. He doesn't do the sex or drugs or alcohol thing. He keeps curfew. (He chafes under it, but he keeps it.) His grades, while not spectacular, are at a level that most parents would be pleased with. And he's managed his schedule for a couple of years now with minimal help from us. He doesn't often ask for money, and when he does, he offers to work it off with chores. But his whole goal is not extracurricular stuff at school. It's going to concerts at the Rave in Milwaukee.
There's a point here, believe me. As writers, we have the same problems with our characters, don't we? We're writing along, figuring our characters are going one way and they simply won't go that way. We sit there and stare at the blank page or screen and wonder why the characters won't behave. It's not the characters' fault. It's the writer's problem.
We as writers have to let our characters talk to us. Better yet, we as writers have to listen when our characters speak. I had a completely different ending in mind for "Dream in Color." But Ramona, dear Ramona, stomped and yelled and howled in my head until I couldn't ignore her, and now, today, the book is better for it.
I'm currently sitting on a major writer's block. I have two characters that like each other so much, they simply refuse to sit still for any back story. This one may just turn into erotica yet! :) I realized, after about ten false starts, that I have to sit down, and be quiet, and let my characters talk to me.
Maybe my son won't find the cure for cancer. Maybe instead, he helps write or produce the song that brings this world peace. I guess I'm going to be okay with that.
And maybe my characters don't want a deep, meaningful backstory. Maybe they just want sex.
I guess I'm going to have to work it out somehow, right?