That Shockproof Shit Dectector

My teenage daughter got her first job on a payroll today. While she’s worked in our sugaring business from toddlerhood on, and babysat the neighbors’ little ones, this job marks her first foray into direct-deposit, need-your-social-security number employment. She’s excited; I’m proud of her, as always; but there’s also this tinge, for my very first time as a mother, that now she’s really heading into adulthood. Oh, I can’t help but think, now you’re among us, on this side.

She’s savvy and courageous in ways I never was as a teenager, and has what Hemingway described as “a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.” She has no intention of becoming a writer, but that characteristic, I’m sure, will serve her well.

Fortunately, life is slow. Telling me her news, in her yet-childishly careless way, she dropped ripe tomatoes on the kitchen floor, dashing my salsa dinner plans, and laughed hysterically.

While I’m thumbing through my marked-up Hemingway books, here’s more writerly advice:

Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it-don’t cheat with it.

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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