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The son also writes

Forgive me, readers. It’s been six years since my last confession, by which I mean a column for the Henrico Citizen.

I took some time off from column-writing to pen a novel, never believing it would be published. But the historical novel, entitled The Outer Banks House, was published by Crown in June of 2010.

I made the whole business look too easy, I’m afraid, for now my eleven-year-old son believes that he too will be a published author, most likely in the next couple of years.

My son has other grand visions for himself as well. He wants to be a professional tennis player when he grows up. He wants a pool in the big backyard of his big house and a menagerie of pets that I would never let him have.

I told him that authors don’t make very much money, barring those best-selling novelists like Stephen King and John Grisham. I told him I’ve thought of starting my own “Occupy Publishing House” movement, to try to draw attention to the 99 percent of published authors who don’t make enough to support even themselves, much less a family.

But my pep talks don’t seem to sway him away from the activity of writing.

My son spent a good part of his life watching me write my novel. He watched as I revised it for both my agent and for my editor. He was there when I opened the first delivery of hardback books from the publishing house. He often met my readers at book-signings and read a few of the e-mails I received.

Ah, the writing life. So glamorous.

I wouldn’t think that watching someone write would be very interesting. I might equate it with watching someone brush their teeth or cut their fingernails. But he must have found something intriguing about the process, for he now writes fiction pretty much any chance he gets.

“I’m going upstairs to write,” he’ll announce when he gets home from school, or from playing outside with friends, or from tennis practice. He writes more than I do these days, if you want to know the truth. Whole chapters, day after day after day. My son writes like he talks, which it to say, a lot.

I recently read the first chapter of a book that he’s writing about three young boys who stumble upon a forgotten zoo. I was amazed at his pacing, his use of dialogue, his subtle humor. And he has other ideas on the back-burner, including a children’s book about border collies (based upon our own crazy border collie Toby). He wants to write scripts for a kids’ Saturday Night Live.

I have secretly congratulated myself on having had such a marvelous effect on my first-born offspring. Because of me and my success, my son likes to write! It’s basic parenting knowledge: model the behaviors you wish to see in your children. Read so that your children will want to read, that kind of thing.

But perhaps it’s not me at all.

Perhaps a love of writing is a part of who he is. He doesn’t seem particularly interested in my (a published author’s!) feedback. He’s just content to write for the love of writing itself. It flows naturally from him, a gift from the gods.

I didn’t learn the passion for writing from my parents. But they showed me the value of hard work and persistence. They imparted the value of a good education. I chose the writing life on my own.

In the same vein, my son might one day be a published author, but I would never take the credit for such an accomplishment. It would be his passion and his hard work and persistence that brought about his success, certainly not mine.

Perhaps the only thing I’ve given my son is the courage to face the blank page, and the knowledge that there are readers out there, waiting on a well-told story.

Diann Ducharme is the author of The Outer Banks House and is a wife, mother of three children and owner of one border collie. Her column will appear in the second issue of the Henrico Citizen each month, and you may also find her at http://www.diannducharme.com where, she blogs about the writing life.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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Pull apart stuff you use every day and take a look inside at 2 p.m. at Gayton Library, 10600 Gayton Rd. For middle and high school students. For details, call… Full text

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