KingMidget's Ramblings

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A Social Family

While I was at the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, participating in the Short Fiction Master Class, one of the other participants brought up the concept of a social family.  It was in the context of a story one of us had written and he was commenting on the group of individuals who made up the core of the story — none of them related, but providing to each other the love and comfort of a family.  Hence, a social family.  A couple of months before the workshop, I wrote a short story inspired by a prompt at We Drink Because We’re Poets.  Northville Five & Dime.  It was, at the time, nothing more than an effort to write a story that wasn’t the expected.  The prompt could lead very easily into a sexual romp.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I didn’t want the obvious.  So, I wrote about something different.  And I thought I was done.

Then I heard about MCWC and needed something to submit to be judged for the Master Class.  I submitted Northville and got in, which meant a dozen other people would be reading it and discussing it.

Then I started thinking about the story and realized there was much more to tell.  Actually, I knew that when I wrote the final line.  That wasn’t really the end.  There was story in Pete asking the girl to the dance.  There was story in the dance itself.  There was story in Pete’s parents.  There was story and more story.  One thing though was that I thought the young lady who worked at the Five & Dime would be making a graceful exit from the story and it would become about other characters.

Then the workshop participants, including Peter Orner, got ahold of it.  Peter was fascinated by that young lady.  He threw out the idea that there was the potential for a social family here.  The sisters and Pete — three wounded, scarred, troubled individuals who come together for the love and support they weren’t getting elsewhere.  He, along with others, was aghast at the idea that the Five & Dime employee would be disappearing.

So, she isn’t.  And I had an idea for how to continue with the story.  That first version was around 1,500 words.  I’m now approaching 6,000 words and I haven’t even got to the girl in the wheelchair.  Pete and Lily (the young lady has a name now) have a lot of damage to reveal.  I’m pretty sure this story will end up being 15,000-20,000 words and will be the first such story I publish on Kindle as a stand-alone short story/novella.

Which leads to another point that occurred to me when I woke up this morning at the ungodly time of 5:45 and started thinking of some of the posts from other bloggers I read last night.

I have a social family here on WordPress.  These are the people I’m attracted to here.  The ones who write about their wounds and scars, their struggles for balance, their revelations and reactions as they journey through life.  There is something we find in sharing those things here with, for the most part, people who are actually complete strangers, but who have become a part of our personal circle.  The support and camaraderie, the sharing of our life details and life adventures, even if we never meet is a huge part of the social contract.  So, that’s it.  Welcome to the table, social family.  Keep the dialogue going.

One question I’ve wanted to ask for a long time, but I think it finally fits here.  For my blogging friends — if you have spouses or significant others, do they read your blog?  What about children or parents?  I’d be curious to know.  Mine don’t.  Except for my father and a sister.


21 responses to “A Social Family

  1. Dom DiFrancesco August 24, 2013 at 6:58 am

    No one in my family reads anything I write. I have provided them the link, but to my knowledge they have never visited my blog or if they did maybe they hated it and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I have given my daughters, at times printed versions of some of my work to read and they said they liked it, but I don’t know that family members are the most objective critics to review one’s work. Great post sir.

    • kingmidget August 24, 2013 at 7:05 am

      Thank you. At some point I think I’m going to write something about what it means that “family” doesn’t bother to engage on the things we write/blog about.

  2. sknicholls August 24, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I am right there with you. I published a book that mothers are recommending to their daughters and my own daughter has not read it yet, “Life is just too busy.” She means to do it when things slow down…as if that will ever happen. My husband will read my my blog posts and sometimes the posts of others that I admire, but he doesn’t seek it out. I have to bring it to his attention. With my blog linked to facebook, my extended family sees them, but they rarely, if ever, comment, so I doubt if they actually read that stuff. I actually think I prefer it that way.

    • sknicholls August 24, 2013 at 7:30 am

      Oh yes, my daughter does read my blog and often comments on the comments that other people make on it. I think she likes it. She feels included in my writing that way.

    • kingmidget August 24, 2013 at 7:36 am

      I prefer it that way as well since it gives a bit more freedom to write. But that’s the dilemma I want to explore more.

  3. Charles Yallowitz August 24, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I think one of my friends reads mine and my wife tries. My dad reads only to see if I talk about him. For the most part, my blog is read by the friends I know only through a computer. Makes conversations with people over here rather difficult.

  4. Lilith Colbert August 24, 2013 at 8:06 am

    None of my family reads my blog. They, for the most part, think it’s a waste of time :/

  5. ioniamartin August 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

    This is an interesting idea. I fear the word social.

  6. runningtoherdreams August 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    No one in my family reads my blog….that I know of. They do know I have one and if they were interested they would ask for the link or search for it I suppose? As of yet no one has asked and I haven’t offered. As for the Mr. he doesn’t read it either. I too feel like there is a social aspect to blogging and I genuinely care about the people I interact with. 🙂

    • kingmidget August 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Fascinating. I’m convinced that we do this … Well, that’s a subject for another post. I’ll say this … No wait that goes too far, too. I just … Never mind. I think I just need to write the post.

  7. butimbeautiful August 25, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Some of my family do – a couple of sisters, I think, and occasionally a brother. My children don’t, thank god, unless I choose to show a post to them. My mum used to get a lot of laughs out of it, when she was alive. And the demon ex read it and wanted to submit a rebuttal – however I somehow never got around to posting it (it was extremely long, for one thing).

    • kingmidget August 25, 2013 at 6:30 am

      It’s interesting. So far I’ve got no responses from anybody indicating that their close family follows their blog that much. Your sisters is the closest thing. I’d love to see that rebuttal. Bet it’s classic.

  8. Anonymous August 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I think some family members wouldn’t follow a blogger, not out of lack of interest, but for what they think is a noble cause. Maybe they want to give you the privacy to talk about some very personal issues that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with them. Have you told them that you would like it if they followed you here?

    • kingmidget August 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      It’s not just the lack following here, it’s the lack of any interest in the kinds of conversations these thoughts or ideas could generate.

    • kingmidget August 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      There are those who want to write and think and talk about feelings and emotions, dreams and fears, love and hate, life and death, about all of it. And there are those who don’t want to.

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