Sunday, April 16, 2017

Kids off the street

This is not a picture of my old
boss Frank's hand. It's a picture
of  writers getting their
"kids off the street."
My first serious boss, Frank, used to say, when he was getting ready to shake up management for some reason, "Okay, kids off the street." 

Maybe he meant it was time to get those hooligans back in line. But I prefer to think he was getting ready to duel in front of the executive management saloon. 

"Kids off the street. This is going to get serious."
I don't get enough opportunities to use that fantastic expression. I search for them. 
It's challenging for me to write some perspective pieces and not feel I'm oversharing. As much as I love to write "worked for me" or "what I learned" stories, I hate oversharing. However, I know that insight you want to share often comes from experience you'd rather forget. You have to find the "sweet spot" (a term that will be featured in next week's pet peeves post). 

It doesn't always mean discussing the underwear of your life (parents, kids, husband, friends or anyone who done you wrong), but what you do choose, you have to write in full if you don't want your followers to be only blog hackers in India and family members who have loved you since your teeth were too big for your face.  
I see some writers do this as easily as they breathe. Not me. Mwriting leans toward the anodyne, a word I'm pretty sure I also learned from Frank.

Still. As life shows you more about what really affects people, and as you gain confidence in your skills to write about it, you can grow tired of being so close to the vest. 
Write real, or stay home, right?

You want those kids off the street so you can duel it out with the person in the way, which is writer-you.
I faced this recently when I wrote about the empty-nest marriage, which, in my opinion, rivals new parenthood and retirement in terms of shared events that can affect two participants differently. The empty nest marriage, for better or worse, is not the one you started with.  
Ask me how I know. 
For twenty-five percent of couples, the empty-nest marriage doesn't even occur at all. The kids leave Mom and Dad and Mom and Dad leave each other.    
For the other seventy-five percent,  the empty-nest marriage is a new town. It can change everything from the way you eat and entertain yourselves, to the type of conversations you'll have, to the friends you see more of because your kids no longer have to be in the same math class for you to find common ground. 
This topic is close to my heart because one of the finest things my husband and I have accomplished was to make our lives into a story of us again. But I appreciate it most because it didn't happen without our share of, as my daughter would say,  "honest moments." 

Those moments did not urge us back to the center of our old relationship, but to the middle of a new one. 
The new one  is better. We have more fun. We laugh more. We have new jokes. We go to Lowes together to buy plants. He talks to the dog to entertain me, and I do small things to make his life nicer. We both look younger. 

It's lovely.

But the happy ending wasn't what readers wanted to know about who contacted me after I wrote that piece. They wanted to know about those "honest moments."

What's my point? 

I have two.

Balance is everything. I mind my own business the way I don't let my undergarments show. But once in a while, someone will need to know you understand their discomfort because you've talked about your own. 

Someone will make you remember you have good reason for the thing or two you have to say. 

Someone will need you to get the kids off the street. 

You know who you are. Thank you, and you're welcome.

And second, if you really want to, you can find a way to use the expression: "Kids off the street," and you really will feel a little like a badass.

Ask me how I know.

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