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Anonymous Success

Lately my parents have been saying things in regards to my creative side and dreams that leave me confused and a bit sad.

First, there was all this push for self-publishing, which I have no intentions of doing (because we all know how unsuccessful that can be). I want to believe my work is good enough to actually be published by a real publishing house, not just fall back after a few queries and self-publish because I think I know I’m good enough. I have no interest in self-publishing. Period.

Then, around Christmas, when briefly explaining my old book to my father he cut me off to ask why I wasn’t using a penname. The question struck me odd because why would I? I mean I’ve even already had conversations with my fiancé about the fact that if I’m published after we’re married, that I will still use my maiden name (Whisted) instead of my married name (Harris) because 1. Whisted is a lot more unusual than Harris and 2. It’s the end of the line for the Whisted name in our family. There are no boys to carry it on. I would have thought it’d make my family proud to see the Whisted name on a bookshelf.

Last weekend both of my parents approached me about ghost writing and how they’d read that it’s one of the best jobs for older people, bringing in an income around 200K a year to write books for others, without your name being attached. They seemed to love this idea, saying that who cares if you don’t get credit for it, 200K a year is worth it. All I kept thinking was: when did this dream career hold any monetary value? It’s not about the money it will bring in. Sure, I’d love to make enough to work from home and write books for the rest of my life, but if I can’t that doesn’t automatically persuade me to just give up the dream. It’s not about making it rich. When was it ever?

And then yesterday, after having another really successful photo shoot with my nephew on Monday, I asked my parents if they’d seen the pictures. First my father said that I have all these creative abilities that I hardly take advantage of (I’m sure the piano is included in that, as if I have an option to still play when I currently don’t have a piano). When I corrected him and said that I’ve actually been studying photography lately to improve my skills and actually giving thought to taking pictures of people other than my family since I’m getting so much better he said, “That's good,” but then followed it up with, “But it’d be better if you posted these pictures anonymously. You shouldn’t need to be credited for this.” What?!  Then the same comment was thrown at me in regards to my book. He wondered why I couldn’t just be satisfied with only my family enjoying it (which is just baffling in itself since none of them read my work). It really feels like they’re trying to talk me out of my dreams or something.

I am so confused right now. I’m trying to tell myself that there’s not some deeper meaning to this sudden push for anonymity in regards to my creativity, but honestly all it feels like is that my family will be ashamed having a tie to my name if/when I make it out in the world.

What does that say about me and the talents I think I have?

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