So, I'm a writer these days - occasionally paid, sometimes read - when I can fit it in around laundry, ferrying kids to activities and the general duties that come with being a parent of three kids, that is. I once was a lawyer and the decision to leave lawyering to do writing was clearly not primarily an economic one (or at least not a good economic one) but was one reached with my wife when trying to sort out how best to look after our kids and have a good life. I'm still amazed that she supports me (in many sense of the word) in the decision to stay at home, be there for her and the kids while pursuing the dream of writing for real and dependable money some day.
That decision would not be supported by many and I still wake up in the middle of the night, with "What the hell were you thinking?!" screaming in my head. Even my 9 year old recently questioned my decision while I was editing a school paper he had written. Of course, he objected to me looking at it as he knew it meant more work for him, so I pointed out to him that I am a professional writer and editor who gets (irregularly) paid to do what I was doing for him. There was a pause as he digested my words and then asked - "So why don't you go back to being a lawyer?" Jerk.
Nonetheless, occasionally it pays off in other ways - like the time I found said jerk up on his bed reading a bunch of graphic novels. I asked him what he thought of them. Pretty good, he answered. I pressed for more details as to which he liked better and why. He sighed and looked at me. "Why?" he asked.
"Because I wrote those."
He was dumbstruck. "What? You WROTE these? How?" Certainly not an unqualified endorsement since he was amazed that I was capable of writing good stuff but, you know, I'll take it.
The most recent example of me being a writer (perhaps) influencing my kids is the new authorship of my 7 year old, whose prolificacy frankly astounds and shames me. He'll shout out from the other room, "I just finished another chapter! That's four today!", while I'm busy wasting time reading Facebook. He'll also insist on reading aloud his compositions. Sure, as an 'artist' and fellow writer I should support this but again, given his output I'd be listening to his stories all day, so I try and avoid it. He announced after shutting his notebook in satisfaction, "Maybe I'll be a writer when I grow up." This made me almost as happy as when last year he told me (when he discovered I could juggle), "Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a clown. We can be clowns together." Sniff.
Mind you, I am a little concerned about his potential foray into writing for a living. He should have some other skills to fall back on. He's a bit of a bruiser and is enrolled in French Immersion, so I've had the dream of him perhaps getting a rugby scholarship to a school in France where he could train to become a pastry chef, with a minor in clowning.
His writing actually might prove more commercial than mine. It usually begins with two guys who meet up and immediately embark on an adventure involving taking on bad guys and killing them in numerous ways. Yikes. I'm waiting on the call from the school psychologist.