Whenever I hear writers talk about their kids, I go into immediate complex mode. They reminisce about the summer their 14-year old read nothing but Faulkner. Or laugh about the time their 5-year old embarrassed them with an audible yawn during their dissertation presentation. Or complain about how quickly their toddler goes through kale.
And I’m like: What if my kids fall into the Twilight-crowd equivalent once they learn how to read?! And: your 5-year old sat through your dissertation?!?! And: Kale? Really?! I hate you.
Then I take a deep breath. Because, as I’m always telling my own 5-year old, this is not a competition. My kids are awesome. As long as I keep feeding them and taking them to the library and hanging their artwork on the fridge, they’ll stumble into their own brand of Faulkner summers.
And when they do, I’ll obviously be on hand to brag about it.
I’m always regretting I didn’t have some kind of fanatical literature buff to have guided my reading education when I was younger. My mom—herself and avid reader—constantly tried pushing books on me but I shrugged them off. I thought everything my mom liked (oatmeal, talking to strangers in checkout lines, reading?!) was totally lame. Oopsie. So maybe what I actually regret is that I wasn’t open to having a literature-buff-guided education as a younger person.
In my adult effort to catch up, I’ve recently come across the New Yorker Fiction Podcast, where authors are invited to read and discuss stories from the magazine’s archives. It’s an absolute delight. So if you—like me in so many things—are late to this party, now you know. Merry Christmas to all!
P.S. As a starting off point, I highly recommend the Maile Meloy reads Laurie Colwin’s “Mr. Parker” podcast. My favorite so far.
P.P.S. I was looking for an old picture of my mom and I in matching one-piece puffed-sleeve floral jumpers to illustrate how I didn’t always think things she liked were lame. But the ol’ scrapbook is nowhere to be found. Rain check, folks. Because it’s a true vision of wonder.