Who is my audience? As an author there is not a day that goes by that I am not asking myself this question. I have, I think come to a decision on it. My children’s books: the audience is fairly obvious. Children. I really write them for my daughter (and now my grandson). Which is why I believe that the third bedtime stories will be mid grade. The first two were stories written for her when she was small. The third started for a preteen. (And now she is helping me write it. She was suggesting ideas for the story and is looking forward to hear it when it is done. She refused me reading it until then.) But I write more than just children’s books.
My poetry I have always written for me. So do I really have an audience for it? Yes, and no. It is always going to be how I cope with the world… It is more that then it is written for a particular audience. That being said, the reason why I published it is because my coping mechanisms can possibly help someone else who may be in a bad place. Or not, I am not sure it matters there. My poetry is the clearest view inside of my soul. To tell the truth I publish it because I can. I have lost so much of my poetry over the years… This is the way of preserving it digitally so I will not lose anymore.
Last but not least, there is Serena’s stories. Anything that I write that is adult in nature will be published under Serena Mossgraves. Currently that seems to be horror. I am not sure if it all will be… I just know that I will not be doing erotica… It embarrasses me to write it. So I figure her audience will be adults, preferably who enjoy what I write.
All seems simple enough. I only hope that I am able to create a story that someone likes.
You claim love equality,
With words that
You still fail to understand,
I want nothing given from
A hesitant hand.
Tis not material
Items I desire,
Nor any attachments
Grand of wealth.
Reach for me just once
And tell me honestly,
That you are interested
To learn who I am,
Parenting isn’t about
wealth or greed,
Or the material
That you can give.
Knowing one well,
Ignoring the other is
Just seriously unkind.
Okay, this is not an easy thing for me to write. I am a firm believer in teaching children about their bodies and teaching consent. What that means is teaching a child that their bodies belong only to them. No forcing the child to give unwanted hugs, no ignoring discomfort with affection. Teach girls about what is natural for their bodies. Oh I realize that eventually most have to explain the whole puberty thing. But if you make no topic taboo, then if there is something wrong, your child is not afraid to speak up.
There are several reasons why this is a tough topic , and why it is such an important one. I was molested. He convinced me that no one would believe me. My mom was so uncomfortable with some topics that she couldn’t discuss them… Puberty was not a easy time (I was given a pamphlet and told to go to my room to read it.) So when I finally worked up the courage to speak, well he was right. I was not believed. So when I had my own daughter, I swore I would do things differently. I don’t allow anyone to force affection. We don’t have secrets. If she has a question about anything, I try to answer it. So at twelve years old, I had tried to run away from home three times. She feels safe. I was sexually active at twelve and pregnant at thirteen. She has said that she is not ready for a boyfriend and really is not wanting to have sex anytime soon. She is a smart and sensitive girl who is learning how to be sarcastic and funny, not as a defense mechanism like I did….but because she enjoys laughing. I have been told that I should be less open with her because people were uncomfortable with how honest I am with my twelve year old. I let her ask questions and I refuse to lie. I will not apologize for my doing what I felt was right for any of my children. Even if I fail at all else I do in life, I have a smart funny happy girl.
I have been learning a lot about who I am and who I have been simply by talking to my twelve year old daughter. She sees things in a very straight forward way. She asks questions about life and especially about the parts of human nature that often confuses her. Her questions are occasionally embarrassing and often thought provoking. For years I fumbled through life because I was more worried about how people saw me or the way people would react to me to allow myself the freedom of being completely comfortable in my own skin. I kept my secrets; My religion, my sexuality, my survival to myself.
Part of the reason was because I was afraid. I spoke of my abuse. I was called a liar. I was told I was crazy. A heart can only handle so many blows before it closes itself off. Then as I grew older, I found that I cared less. I surrounded myself with supporters who didn’t care about those things which seemed so bad before. That helped.
I lost the innocence my daughter has too soon. I grew cynical because I needed a defense. I still clung to my desires to be a dreamer, even as I lived in a world made of nightmares. I used the ability to read to bury myself in places where the pain was not mine. I used the ability to write to speak with impunity my fear and struggle. After all, my poems didn’t have to be what I was. At twelve, I tried to run away from home for the second time. For my daughter, home is where she is certain of the fact that she is loved. I am proud of that fact. She still has many of the issues I had in dealing with her peers. She is very mature for her age, so she doesn’t understand conversation topics that amuse them. Also she has the same lack of filter I do. If it is on her mind, she speaks it. Yet for all that we are alike, her mind is far quicker than mine. She has a brilliant sense of humor and more self confidence than I ever did.
In a time of such marvelous inventions coming out, I am appalled by how many are designed to protect women from assault. Now don’t misunderstand. I am not saying women should be raped. I am not saying that the inventions are bad. I merely am appalled by the need for such items. I am a survivor. So I taught my children personal space and responsibility. I taught my son to respect women. I taught my daughter that her body is hers, and no one has the right to touch her without her permission. Yet, I know that there are people out there who would anyway. It kills me to know that someday she will not be safe. I am allowed the sadness that the world is not a safe place. I asked her what she would do if someone tried to grab her, tried to force her to do things against her will, and my beautiful twelve year old girl said ” I will kick him in the leg, then the nuts and I will scream! ” While crass, it feels good to know she won’t be a easy target. She doesn’t separate. If it’s someone she knows who tries to force her to do things or a stranger. Her body is hers. And I have made sure she knew it. I cannot help wondering if more children of both genders were taught that concept how the statistics of sexual assault and abuse would be? After all abusers seduce. They convince the child that even though the child is not comfortable with what is being done, that it is something the abuser is allowed to do. I mourn the need for the devices to “prevent ” sexual assault because I believe that if as children we are taught not to do or allow certain behavior… well as adults it wouldn’t happen. At least not as often. The ones who did at that point would be seen as deviants. They would then be treated as the criminals that they are.
I am a poet first and a writer second. I just do better with poetry than I do with stories. I am not bad at stories, just better with poems. Now there is a reason I state that. My daughter came home and was asking about poetry. She has no patience with writing stories. So I was helping her with her poetry for English class. At this point I was tickled to find out that she enjoys writing poetry. Mind you I have had three children. My eldest has written one beautiful poem. Then he allowed his own self doubt to keep him from writing. My middle one (who due to situations I refuse to explain here was given up for adoption at birth ) writes wonderful poetry. I am so tickled that the three of them have shown such talent. It actually got me thinking. What do we pass on in our genetics? My children are all taller than I. None of them look exactly like me. My daughter looks the closest. There is personality traits that all of them possess that I have. So that leaves me curious. What do you think we pass on in our genetics?
Hmmm something I miss… cartoons. Saturday mornings with cereal and early morning cartoons. The cartoons of today really are subpar. I have tried to introduce my daughter to the cartoons of my childhood, but to be honest, it really saddens me that cartoons are no longer like that.