Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Aww, Shucks...

Ironically, after my heartfelt piece examining lessons of parenting last night, this afternoon found me bringing my daughter home from school and having her absolutely, categorically refuse to follow the rules for homework that I was reiterating. She feels that she should have her iPod for homework time. I want her to put it in my room until all her homework for each day is done.

And she completely refused.

Deep breath.

With the lessons for last night fresh in my mind, I didn't get drawn any further into the power struggle. I stayed calm but firm and said, "I think we both need to take a break for now, and come back to this later when we can be calm. However, it is important to me that you understand that you will absolutely follow any rules I create, and that you simply do not have the right to refuse."

Then I came into the house and purposely came into a separate room. I know, I thought, I'll check for comments on my latest exercise. That should distract me.

And here is what I found. I'm in a better mood now.
I’ve said this before—your work is a pleasure to read. I’m generally not happy when someone has to drop out of a class, but in this case a dropout made room for you. That has made this class a real joy for me.

This piece has a lot to say about parenting, a lot to say about you, and a lot to say about life and how to handle things. Most readers will strongly identify with this piece, although those who are or have been parents are likely to respond the most. I recall moments in the past when my kids were still at home and I “lost it” when dealing with them. And you’re right—it’s always much better to handle things calmly but firmly. That’s a much better impression.

The incidents you share are presented clearly here, with a great deal of insight and honesty. Readers will absolutely like you for that. The connection between incidents is clear in the way you handled things, and it’s really a no-brainer to determine which approach worked best. These incidents were a lesson for you, and now also a lesson for anyone who reads this. You’ve given readers something to consider here, and that makes for very good memoir work.

The word choice is excellent, giving the narrative a nice, easy flow. This is good memoir, and you’re a strong, likable narrator. And you’ve used dialogue well to give the piece a nice balance. The short dialogue with the nurse is wonderful, and it shows the attitudes you were dealing with at the time. You hung in there without the meds, and I think that’s remarkable.

This is another exercise where I don’t have much to suggest. However, I did have a thought.

Once again, I’m happy you were a part of the class. I looked forward to reading your work each week, and I wasn’t disappointed. You’re a good writer, Marie.

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