I am a daughter of the cleverest woman in the world. The most capable, most multi-talented woman in the world. My mother can sew, cook, pickle, bake, preserve, paint, knit, embroider, crochet, write stories worth reading, give speeches that move you, weave, fashion design, sculpt, screenprint, dance ballet and tap, sing, ice skate, re-upholster a chair and make a three course meal worthy of serving to the Queen – using only a lettuce leaf, a can of herrings and a sniff of mint. (just to name a few of her skills). There is nothing my mother cannot create. Indeed, whenever I see something beautiful in a shop/art gallery/museum/a Vogue magazine – I know that my mum can make the same thing. With her eyes shut. And using only her left foot.
Yes, if I rewrote the dictionary, you would see my mum’s name under the definition of “Creative”. But you would also see it sidenoted under: impatient, exacting, and downright mean. Because – it is not easy to be a daughter of the cleverest woman in the world. (As at least three other women would tell you.) Nothing you do can ever be wonderful enough – because your mother has always done it all before. Waaaaay more wonderfully than you ever could. She is impossible to buy presents for because of course she’s made everything under the sun – so how could you hope to find her something she hasn’t already imagined? You’re trying to raise five children on a tight budget? HA – she ransomed her soul to bring up SIX ungrateful little beggars AND provided for everyone while her husband studied his way to a doctorate degree at Cornell University. ( See my dad’s certificate hanging up there on the wall? It should have my mum’s name printed on it. First. In bold type.) My mum holds each of her daughters up to a very high measuring rod because thats her name right up there at the top of the rod.
Which is why I have to put on my armor of self-confidence when I talk to her about my writing ‘career’. Because…
*When I get invited to speak at a Writer’s Conference, she says “why did they ask you for? Couldn’t they find any real writers?”
* She asks me how many hits Sleepless gets and then replies, “You got 700 visitors to your blog today? Well, that’s not very many is it? I mean how many people are there in the world and THATS ALL that want to read your blog?”
* She complains about having to sell my tsunami book in her store, “I only make a few dollars on each book you know. My stocking ‘Pacific Tsunami’ is not a very lucrative investment because its not as if its going to sell as fast as a real book.”
*I tell her TELESA is the first YA urban fantasy fiction book by a Samoan writer ( or any Pacific writer for that matter) and she says, “Ha, well that’s not necessarily something to be proud of is it?”
*She wants to know how many e-books have sold since release date and scoffs, “Oh that’s probably all your family and friends buying it.”(Never mind that I only have like two friends in the universe or that NO my family isnt buying it, because news flash…’Mum have you bought one?!’ No, I didnt think so…)
*She reads the glowing Amazon reviews and rolls her eyes, “What do they know about good books?”
My mum believes that it’s her job to keep us kids humble. Make sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground. “I dont want you children to get all ‘up-yourselves’. And besides, Im just pointing the facts for you in case you missed them.”
No, I am not worried that I will ever become one of those ‘puffed up’ prideful, gloating, self-loving overachievers that strut about, Yes, Im wonderful, thank you very much. Because I have my mum. And she’s keepin it real.
I would like to accept this award by first thanking my mother for always encouraging me to do better by using reverse psychology. And I want to assure her that none of my friends or family members were voters in the Academy Awards. Honest.