Friday, September 4, 2009

A Litttle Compitition Never Hurts

When I first admitted to my family at large that there was more to the hours I spent at the typewriter than a desire to improve my typing skills, my kids stood in awe of me.

“A writer? Really? Like books ‘n stuff?”

(I knew if I kept trying, I’d eventually earn their respect.)

But over the years, that glow of admiration waned. They were no longer so quick to tell their friends that I’m a writer, and the only time they asked for my autograph was when they needed a detention slip signed.

I suspected that they were starting to take me for granted, but that wasn’t the worse part of my fall from fame. They started thinking that anything I could do, they could do better.

“If you don’t watch out,” my oldest daughter told me one day, “I’ll write a book about what a rotten mother you are. It might even get published before your book does.”

I decided she should enroll in Tact 101 the next year in school.

Then my son brought his autobiography home from school and asked me where he should submit if for publication.

The final insult, however, came from my youngest daughter when she was in first grade. She came into my office one day after school, bearing her latest creation with pride, and informed me she was going to be a writer. “Just like you, Mom.”

The following is her story, word for word:

“You could tell they didn’t expect to meet a dinosaur with a boy on his back running down the street. At our door. My dinosaur stopped at the mat and carefully wiped his feet. I thought that was that (stet) But then what did he do? He took three steps. THE END


Maryann Miller started her professional career writing a humor column for a suburban Dallas newspaper where a version of this piece was first published. She is now the Managing Editor of and also does freelance editing. Her latest novels are One Small Victory and Play It Again, Sam.

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  1. Your daughter knew "stet" in the first grade? It's the editor in you, isn't it?

    That was a fun post. You know some day one of your kids will write about you and this is going in it, don't you? :-)

    Straight From Hel

  2. Thank's Helen. Actually the "stet" is the journalist in me. Any time we quote someone and their grammar is bad, we make sure the reader knows it wasn't our mistake. :-)

    And this piece may end up in the humorous memoir I'm writing. Not going to let my kids best me. :-)

  3. My oldest son got a poem published in a real book while he was in elementary school. He hates writing. Life's not fair.

  4. I have to say, that donosaur story has a great opening line :)

    Jon Gibbs

  5. Loved the story! Reminded me of The Paperbag Princess. Anyone hasn't read that is missing a treat!

  6. I think you mean "Competition", don't you?

    Interesting post. We all have a lot to learn don't we, not least from the smallest of our number.

    Blessings, Star


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