If adolescents hailed eccentricities, it would be sufficient for mama or papa writers merely to postpone their gym time until their offspring, themselves, gave birth. However, reality, not wishful thinking, dictates teenage proclivities. Hence, the best an aspiring maternal or paternal sort can do is to glom to a keyboard or to sit on a sofa and cry.
I get the gist of word power. Accordingly, my espousing of rainbow-colored hedgehogs’ domestic woes remains more attractive to me than does my buying stock in facial tissues. So, ever since my younger daughter experienced menses, and my younger son began to tower over the rest of the family, I’ve been doodling weird poems, bizarro short fictions, slipstream essays, and odd dramas.
My balderdash gets lauded by like-minded parents. Few middle-aged literary peers fail to embrace my “subtle” descriptions of griffins ripping out the viscera of house cats or fail to welcome my other allusions to what many folk fantasize doing to their young. Vicarious violence allows us not to vivisection our sons and daughters at times when those children leave dishes stacked in our sinks, and it enables us to step over, instead of eliminating, their piles of increasingly rancid laundry.
Any texts that successfully anger, I mean arouse, the parental population, also commendably keep us away from prolicide. “Writing is experiential.” Words’ potency shines in situations in which alternate routes to familial serenity fail. It remains better, for instance, to clinch Komodo dragons’ dietary habits than to scream at our kids.
As such, intentionally and audaciously, some of my vignettes posit that: might is right, age is glory, and withholding allowance is sagacity. By inviting sentient concord from worldwide parental units, I’ve prevented countless cases of grounding and of lost Internet privileges.
We droopy-breasted or balding, potbellied care providers need to vacation away from annoyances like speckled toilets, holiday roasts “mistakenly” eaten as afterschool snacks, and “accidentally” borrowed gold jewelry. Plus, those intermittent calls, which we field from schools, concerning junior’s hitting of a friend, smoking a joint, or being, yet again, tardy with homework, are best mitigated after we read about chimeras or blue-tinted cockroaches. Far less corporal punishment gets actualized when we integrate life that way.
Specifically, memoirs that sing in alien tones can obfuscate family dynamics and, consequently, can help keep the murder rate down. Midlifers’ gray hair, joint problems, and sporadic contemplations of wearing purple, are as nothing relative to our adjudicating whether or not we ought to strangle our scions for skipping college entrance exams, getting a neighbor pregnant, selling knockoff designer purses, or engaging in other adolescent “rites of discovery.”
Granted, wads of prose, which rock sixty-five year-olds, make teens roll their eyes. Who cares? We audiences of half-cooked narrators can ill-afford to concern ourselves with popularity when more than the welfare of the next generation is at stake. Consider that entire branches of various governments have been upset when some person in power became incapacitated because his or her child: let their family’s python snack on a neighbor’s bulldog, offended the hired help, or sported with Mom or Dad’s favorite vehicle. Wonky writing, at such times, becomes a valuable nuclear deterrent.
For those reasons and more, I proudly create assemblages of words that cause parents to temporarily forget familial tribulations.** Bring on the banshees, the gelatinous wildebeests, and the two-headed grandmothers. Household peace is underrated.
* This posting originally appeared as KJ Hannah Greenberg. “The Need for Staid Midlifers to Write Bizarro Texts.” in Bewildering Stories. Dec. 2013. and is one of sixty-one essays about writing and the publishing industry assembled in KJ Hannah Greenberg. Tosh: Select Trash and Bosh of Creative Writing (Crooked Cat Books, Toulouse, France. 2017, Forthcoming).
** All of the actions described here were not necessarily engaged in by my children as teens. However, each of those dastardly deeds definitely was enacted by my offspring or by the offspring of my friends. facts remain stranger than fiction.