“Should I publish this poem?”

A reader down the coast asked a touching question. She wrote a poem about her son’s addiction. She had obtained his permission to start submitting, and was interested in my take. After reading her piece, I asked her to consider several things:

  • When did you ask for permission?
  • How old was he when you asked?
  • Was it during an in-patient treatment stay?
  • Was he new to recovery?
  • Was he emotionally and financially dependent?
  • Is he emotionally and financially dependent now?

If the answer to any of these is yes, to publish before her child had the maturity to understand, really understand, the emotional impact of being published about would be taking advantage of a minor or dependent adult.


Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

2 thoughts on ““Should I publish this poem?””

  1. Assuming the son is an adult and a “recovered” addict, it seems it could only serve as part of the healing process. However, should one consider the motives of her having it published as opposed to simply having put pen to paper. We all know that once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.

    1. You make two excellent points, Happy Branch to the 6th. First: “consider the motives of her having it published as opposed to simply having put pen to paper.” In all our debate of “blogging about our children,” I noticed “writing” and “publishing” used interchangeably. I was hoping a reader would point out precisely what you did: parents who wish to explore the experience of raising a child would put pen to paper, as you say. Those who pursue publication seem to have a different agenda; one that I would argue is a better deal for themselves than for their chid.

      Which leads me to excellent point the second: ” .. serve as part of the healing process.” Yes. For the parent. I don’t think the poet contacted me with concerns over his or her own healing process. The poet expressed concern for the son.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful points, HB6. I hope you come back for more reading and discussion.

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