PARENTING AND WRITING
Richard O. Walker, Jr., M.D.
Serious writers complete their life’s work before their children become literate, lest the little mongrels read this work and offer unsolicited, unrestrained, and incising commentary. Writing undertaken after the onset of literacy should only be done under a pseudonym. Resourceful writers compose their works in Greek, or better yet, Latin, to avoid this unpleasant possibility.
Writing in crayon or pencil clearly involves the risk of enticing younger children who are already curious. Everything written after your child reaches the age of five must be done on a word processor, with the machine locked to prevent access. Any further writing done after these children reach the age of ten will necessarily require the addition of robust encoding and storage off-site.
For longer works, be advised that withholding your child’s ADHD medication may provide an effective deterrent. Limiting writing to the shower may sufficiently discourage little boys up to the age of puberty. After that, the bathroom is the last place you want to be caught writing.
Other strategies include buying your male heirs an X-Box at an early age, or purchasing cell phones for your daughters. Teenagers may require a convertible with a massive sound system or a steady stream of Old Navy gift cards.
Strongly consider a boarding school outside the country. Visit your children there at your discretion, but only allow them to visit your home state at grandma and grandpa’s home.
For those of you who succumb to a yearning to place your children at the top of your “revered critics” list, limit their access to random, disconnected paragraphs and insist that you will only receive editorials consisting of insightful comments legibly penned (with red ink) in the 1 inch margins of your manuscript.
Inform then that their responses should be snail-mailed to you no later than the fifth Thursday of the month following their review, and must include an SASE with sufficient return postage. These ploys work well for editors and agents, but may not be effective for your children, who are likely much brighter.
Should they persevere, try giving them only the mailing address of a deceased uncle. Always provide them with an erroneous zip code. Make it clear from the beginning that your work is an educational paper for an obscure journal that only deals with theories about the origins of botfly behavior. If your children are interested in this, send them to a prestigious university and allow them to complete your novel.
As a last resort, endeavor to divide your time between writing and attending to your children's needs, but remember, such practices are frowned upon in today’s competitive egocentric society.
In this case, you should strive to thoroughly exhaust them whenever you spend time together. A trampoline is a must. Consider poggo-sticks for each child, snowboards in the winter. Encourage them to wear kilts and enter into stone throwing competitions, or interest them in log rolling.
If all else fails, attempt to instill in them a genuine interest in writing and involve them in every aspect of your projects. Believing that you endorse this concept, they will have nothing to do with it.