My latest telephone conversation with my mother.
Mom: How’s the writing?
Me: Oh, you know… alright.
Mom: Tell me again dear, did you say the novel was autobiographical?
Me: No, it’s fiction, mom.
Mom: So how much of it is true? You can tell me.
Me: Not much, Not really. Not a lot.
Mom: None of the characters are based on real people?
Mom: Well that’s something. What is it about again?
Me: Well, the main character has faith issues. She’s smart and determined, but can’t find happiness. She doesn’t trust anyone. She’s funny and strong, but also sad. Some other stuff happens in between, but that’s the gist of it.
Mom: I don’t want to sound mean darling, but it sounds a little depressing. Can’t you add in some other things to spice it up? Remember that strange boy you were dating? He was fun. What was his name, Bradley? Bradford?
Mom: Why don’t you write about him.
Me: The book isn’t about me mom.
Mom: It sounds like you.
Me: Well it isn’t. Not really. I’m not that remote. Also, my main protagonist is pricklier and antisocial. I’m more of a people person.
Me: What’s that supposed to mean?
Mom: Nothing dear. Anyway, what’s the mother like?
Me: Whose mother?
Mom: The one in the book
Me: The mother dies early on.
Mom: What? Why?
Me: I told you it wasn’t autobiographical!
Mom: Mothers are important. Are you sure she shouldn’t have one? It might help her disposition.
Me: I’m pretty sure. If it makes you feel any better, the mother was tall and elegant: a sculptor with regal presence. Think Grace Kelly.
Mom: And what’s the father like?
Me: Quite sweet actually. An ordained reverend full of light and love. The flip side to his daughter and the overbearing mother.
Mom: Let me get this straight, dear — you kill off the beautiful mother but keep the annoying sunny priest for a father?
Me: Reverend, mom. And don’t say ‘sunny’ like that. He’s a good guy. An optimist.
Mom: That’s rich.
Me: Don’t worry, I kill him off too. She ends up all alone. An orphan with no one to love.
Mom: Well no wonder she doesn’t have any faith with you killing off both her parents.
Me: Mother, listen. This isn’t about me or you or dad. These are entirely made up characters. A little of me is in there of course, but the rest is fiction. FICTION.
Mom: You’re getting yourself all worked up.
Me: I’m not!!
Mom: I still don’t see why you had to kill off the mother.
Me: (under my breath) because she was annoying?
Mom: No one’s perfect dear.