My in-laws are about to descend for a four-day weekend. So my husband and I have been scrambling to get the house clean, pick up extra groceries, and all the usual in-law type preparations. Fresh tulips on the mantle, fresh lilacs on the coffee table, and all that.
But as usual, I’ve put off the most important tasks till last. My husband’s parents don’t know I write erotic romance, or that our entire family’s pagan. They’re old. My mother-in-law has heart trouble. My father in law has cancer. And as my teenage daughter said when she took her Teen Witch and Living Wicca books off her shelf earlier: “I’d better put these away before grandma and grandpa get here. Grandpa’s such a snoop, and although I feel so ick hiding my books, I don’t want to give them a heart attack or anything.”
Like my daughter, I’ll put away my books on paganism, as well as the erotic romance and erotica titles in my to-be-read pile, and the dry erase board by the computer which includes a hefty amount of information about my writing. Incriminating details such as book titles, and all that. And like my daughter, I’ll feel “ick” when I put things out of sight till after the visit.
That’s why I always leave the task till the last minute. And I wonder how bad it could really be to just come out and tell them what I write. Well, not the details, of course. No one from their generation really needs to know the gritty logistics of m/f/m ménages with double penetration, or the art of including m/m sex within the context of a ménage scene. But I wonder if their hearts might just be strong enough to handle the erotic romance bit. And wow, as for being pagan, it would sure be nice not to get Christmas cards every December.
But they’re old. And sick. And stressed. So instead, I’ll put away my incriminating dry erase board, and make sure the manuscript my husband’s reading for me is tucked securely into a drawer. I’ll put away my erotica titles, along with my dog-eared copy of Circle, Coven and Grove and any other books likely to make a pair of devout Catholics fear for their grandchildren’s souls. And I’ll remind myself that they live far away, and we only see them once a year.
But I’ll still feel ick, because I'm an open sort of person, and don't make a habit of hiding either what genre I write in, or my spiritual inclinations.
So what about all of you? Anyone have personal details they feel they can't (or shouldn't) share with relatives?