I wrote “Smooth” as part of a collection I’m working on about Asian-American-ness. Actually, I workshopped it at the New England Young Writers’ Conference a few weeks ago; the conference required workshop pieces to be one page, max, or I probably would have expanded it.
Anyway, when I wrote it back in March, I was hunched (unhealthily, I guess) over my laptop, sitting cross legged on my bed, remembering when this actually happened (i.e, my mother touching my legs the first time I shaved). I meant to make it creepy, weird, because that’s how I felt—completely creeped out and weirded out.
My mother is lovely and I love her to death. The thing about my mom is that she has the purest of pure hearts and the most untainted, snowy innocence in the history of middle-aged women.
What unsettled me was that when I read “Smooth” out loud to my workshop group, some of the first comments were these: “I could really feel the love in this scene—the deep love your mom has for you.” “I kinda want to meet your mom…!”
Did I really fail so badly at the creepiness?
But they somehow saw my mom more clearly than I had.
More on my actual thoughts on shaving, later…