So, if you’re a writer or a child of six who just learned how to draw a clown, then you know the gut-wrenching horror of standing under a hangman’s noose AKA lying to a jury about double-parking so you could steal buy a candy bar AKA showing yourself work to someone and waiting for them to judge you it. I love myself work, so if you don’t love me it as well, you obviously kick puppies and crush joy everywhere by lying about how Santa isn’t real. Of course Santa’s real. Duh.

Imagine my terror when I showed my sister the first 100 pages of a fiction novel that I stressed was loosely based on our family, but not really. More it bore a slight resemblance like how boxer briefs look like boxers and briefs but aren’t either. They’re just underwear, original non-boxer, non-brief underwear. Keeping this undie dichotomy in mind, she reads me my story. I mentally bite my nails, and she finally looks up and says, “The brother in this is nothing like our brother,” and I’m thinking, “What part of loose don’t you get?” and she’s all “The part where you loosely resemble a writer,” and I’m all, “You never support me,” and she’s all, “What are you talking about? I changed your diapers. That’s love.” And the argument in my head ends because you can’t argue with someone who changed your diapers.

Fast forward a few years in which I never showed her my writing. You can see why. I mean, how much harsher could she get than, “The brother in this is nothing like our brother.” It’s like she tore me my story apart with a paper shredder and a spatula. Then, I write a novella for my Master’s project, and I’m really proud of it and the students and teachers are praising me and my sister’s like, “When do I get to read it?” and I’m thinking, “Uh, never. My ego story can’t take it” and she’s all “I’m really proud of you” which of course I interpret as thinly veiled censure. But then she actually comes to my project defense and beams with pride and cries (you’re not fooling anyone, sis, with your Machiavellian ways) and I’m emotionally blackmailed into giving her a copy of my project. Which sits on her shelf for two years. Unread. Luckily, I can interpret SILENCE, and I know she thinks me my work is crap, and I think, “You suck,” and she’s all “I feel like I’m eavesdropping because you ripped your soul out to write this” and I’m all, “Just wipe the blood off the pages and it’s like new. Legible even” and she puts it back on the shelf, and I say, “You told the kids that Santa doesn’t exist, didn’t you?” and she’s all, “Huh?”

Fast forward another couple years, and I write a novel. I tell her, “Look, I wrote a masterpiece!” and she reaches for the pages, and I gasp, “You don’t read it!” And she’s like, “Are you going to make me buy it in the store?” and I’m thinking, “That’s not a bad idea. Let’s run with that. I’ll write a really great dedication that would make you EVIL if you said anything negative like, you know, with your SILENCE.” And then I post Teaser Tuesdays on my blog, and she stealthily clicks on the link I emailed her and reads them and she’s all “You better give me a copy.” And I’m thinking, “No way in hell,” and she’s all, “Remember who changed your diapers. And gave you nieces and nephews. And it’s my pre-birthday” and I’m all “Damn it. I hate pre-birthdays.” So I give her a copy all nonchalant like because, as you know, I don’t care what she thinks. And I prepare myself for her criticism of me my work and wonder how many puppies she kicks every day. Probably seven. Maybe ten if they stray in her yard. Then this email arrives.

Subject: stoop!!

I have gotten lost in your book my time at the gym was not long enough and I will have to take more pages tomorrow 35 was not enough I can’t wait to get back to it!!  You are a lovely writer I am so proud of you!!!

At first I admire her fervent stand against punctuation and radical use of exclamation points. Then I sigh in relief, which of course, irritates me because how could she not love me my writing. Of course, I am indignant as any sane writer would be. Really, she owes me an apology. For her deafening SILENCES. And for kicking puppies.

UPDATE: My sister snuck in like a ninja and read this. She confirmed that she will continue to avert her eyes to punctuation AND capitalization. How can you be mad at someone with such off-their-rocker ideals?