Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Writing Parent

I travel a lot for my work. Much of my writing is travel writing, and my history writing requires me to travel too, since Madrid doesn't have the research facilities I need. This means spending weeks away from my wife and kid, which is hard on me. It doesn't help that some people criticize me for being away from my son.

I've noticed two things about these criticisms:

1. They always come from people who aren't parents. People who have children feel the way I do--that's it's regrettable but necessary.

2. These folks don't criticize parents in other fields who have to travel. And there are a lot of workers who spend long periods away from home: businesspeople, truckers, soldiers, politicians, etc. My wife is a research scientist, and she has to go on lots of trips too, although not nearly as many as I do. She's never faced this criticism. It seems that the critics feel writing isn't a "real" profession and therefore my separation from my kid is voluntary.

Yeah, it will be tough on him having his parents traveling so much, but we always take turns so one of us is around. Plus he gets the bonus of growing up seeing us using the Hubble Space Telescope and writing books. If boring old farts like Mom and Dad can do such cool stuff, think what he'd be capable of? I'd rather have him be in that situation than growing up with a pair of office drones. Or with people who criticize what they don't understand.

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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