In Praise of [My] Parents (why we write)

My proud poppa Robert Saulson, holding a copy of my first book "Solitude", which he kept by his bedside. Photo taken Dec. 30, 2012.

My proud poppa Robert Saulson, holding a copy of my first book “Solitude”, which he kept by his bedside. Photo taken Dec. 30, 2012.

While in the mainstream publishing, some authors may not dislike editors and be concerned about lack of control over the gutting of essential meaning from their works, in the ranks of self-publishing an editor holds a relationship to the author is the role of trusted ally.  There is a reason for that which is obvious to most: one of the most common criticisms for self-published works is uneven or non-existent line and copy editing. Self-published authors frequently have low, or no, budgets.  I am not going to defend my decision to publish my works with imperfect editing: okay, maybe I will defend it a little bit. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I self-published “Solitude” after learning that both of my parents had cancer diagnoses, because I cared more about things like my dad being able to brag that his daughter was an author, than just about anything else related to writing. I don’t regret my choice – my father passed away on January 3, 2013. One of the things he said to me about three months before he died was, “I am sorry I won’t be around to see your book made into a movie.” Not very far below the surface, I’m a girl who wants her parents approval. The secret is out.. so now you know.

Yet – as my books have developed an audience, and I feel I owe something to my readers, I am constantly trying to improve the quality of my work – both work that I have not yet completed, and work that is already published but could use perfecting.

Mom at Anne Rice's book signing a year ago today.

Mom at Anne Rice’s book signing a year ago today.

This is a pretty adorable photo from a year ago today – today is February 24, my mom’s birthday, and last year Anne Rice was in San Francisco signing “The Wolf Gift” at Books Inc. at Opera Plaza – so me, mom (Carolyn Saulson), dad (Robert Saulson) and Michael Lee Totten stood in a line all the way around the corner past Max’s waiting to get our books signed. My dad got so intimidated he actually took off on his scooter wheelchair thing and flew back home to Ellis Street (after standing in line for an hour saying he was going to tell Anne Rice how awesome his daughter-the-writer was because – you know, parents. Gotta love em). My mom actually went in there and handed Anne Rice copies of two of my books while she was signing our respective copies of the Wolf Gift – something I’d never have the courage to do (again parents, you gotta love ’em) and Anne Rice did sign my book with these words “Blessings on your work! Thanks for your books” so you know I have that book practically framed. Heck, I’m surprised that I didn’t get that tattooed on my arm or something. It was awesome. So a year later – my father of course is gone. And that makes me sad. I am glad to have this happy memory of the time my parents and I spent together last February, though.

Parents. You gotta love ’em.
I know I love mine.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on February 24, 2013.

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