My Eight-Year-Old Son on Junot Díaz: a transcription.

Sometimes, my kids will throw bits of the world at me – tiny nuggets of information hoarded and hidden for later, possibly aggressive, use. They are like squirrels gathering acorns for the sole purpose of hurling it at my head when I least expect it. For example, here’s a conversation, in its entirety, that I had with my son this weekend.

LEO: Mom. Is Junot Díaz a writer?

ME: (stares for a long time at my son, trying to figure out how the hell he knows who Junot Díaz is) Um. Yes?

LEO: Okay. (balls up hands into little triumphant fists) I knew it!

ME: Why the sudden interest in Junot Díaz?

LEO: Do you know him?

ME: Who?

LEO: Junot Díaz.

ME: No.

LEO: (looking truly sorry) Oh. That’s too bad.

And then he left the room. And I was mystified.

Five minutes later.

LEO: Did Junot Díaz write This Is How You Lose Her?

ME: Leo.

LEO: What?

ME: How do you know who Junot Díaz even is?

LEO: (a long-suffering expression) Everyone knows who Junot Díaz is. Gosh, mom.

(Five minutes later)

LEO: Mom. Who’s your favorite writer?

ME: No idea, honey. A lot of writers are my favorite writer.

LEO: Is Junot Díaz your favorite writer?

ME: (I am absolutely going nuts at this point) What is up with your recent Junot Diaz obsession?

LEO: (ignoring me) Junot Díaz is my favorite writer. I think he should be your favorite writer too. I think you should write like Junot Díaz and then you can be more famous.

ME: Hmmm. How do you mean.

LEO: On the first page of This Is How You Lose Her, there are three swear words. Three, mom. Real swears. In a book. A real book. 

ME: Who taught you to read, anyway? No more reading.

LEO: (ignoring me again) If you write like Junot Díaz, then you’ll probably get way more famous. Swears, mom. Real swears. In a book. I didn’t know it was allowed. And if you are more famous then I can have an Ipad.

ME: I see. Cogent arguments, my son. I’ll take them under advisement. And remind me to lock up the books.

LEO: You can’t lock up books mom. They’re escape artists. Everyone knows that.

Later, I was cleaning up his room and I found my copy of The Stand under the pile of hard-worn shorts and tee-shirts and socks. And The Arsonist’s Guide To Writer’s Homes in New England.

LEO: Mom. What does Arsonist mean?

ME: Someone who arranges flowers for a living.

LEO: Are you sure?

ME: It comes from the latin word arse, which means delicate flower.

LEO: I don’t think that’s right. Are you tricking me?

ME: Go to your room.

If the house catches on fire, I have only myself to blame. And also my son. Obviously, I instantly rid my house of any hint of Chuck Palahnuik from my house. And Clockwork Orange has to go. Mr. Burgess and Mr. Zola as well. And everything Russian. I can’t tell if my son is transfixed by grownuppy books because he wants to be like his parents, or if he is actually up to something.

What am I saying? This is Leo. He is clearly up to something. I must now plan for a book-free household. It is clearly my only option.

If I have more children, I am for sure not teaching them to read. And that’s final.


4 thoughts on “My Eight-Year-Old Son on Junot Díaz: a transcription.

  1. Arranges flowers? LOL.

    Trevor is way into the Total War game series, which is less about carnage, and more about strategy. Its the geek version of Stratego, if you remember than old board game. Most of our conversions revolve around the different types of heavy infantry, or how to properly use heavy calvary against light calvary. You know, educational things like that. But I do wonder if I’m going to get one of those calls from the school principal one day.

  2. Pingback: Blog - Alma Alexander: fantasy novelist

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