As a novelist, my office is filled with books and manuscripts and galleys and cover designs. And Buddha statues. And a few saint statues. And an altar. And candles. It's a place I meditate, a place that speaks to my spirit.
I try to raise my kids with a sense of compassion. I try to raise them to be spiritual . . . and to have a strong sense of social justice for the homeless, the poor, the marginalized. I have taken them to Washington to protest on the Mall, and I have brought them into some pretty impoverished areas to work with me. They have seen me teach English to immigrants at our kitchen table, and they have seen my Significant Other go through his own closet to give the clothes he wears to a few homeless who used to live in a parking lot near where he worked.
I presume Demon Baby will eventually absorb these lessons. But for now, he is about shooting things, fighting things with swords . . . about monsters and violence.
Yesterday, he and I gardened. We tended the flowers. I had him set out the seedlings. "Let the sunshine kiss them," I told him.
"They are kissing sunshine," he told me.
But then, as is inevitable with him, he found a stick. "This is a SHOOTING GUN! POW! BAM! POW!"
We don't watch violent TV. I watch him and wonder, WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? Why does he make his way through the world fighting instead of kissing sunshine?
But then he finds worms in the garden and carefully lifts them and deposits them on my lilies of the valley. And I think . . . as long as I am breathing, there is hope this little guy will see the world my way. A peaceful way.
It is my mission to tame the Demon within.