It's that time again, the time a artists fear unless they were born & raised in an artists colony. A holiday that requires family face-time.



In my world family dinners are also known as "troll gatherings." Why do they always ask us atheists to say a prayer, then get pissed when we bow our heads and say "Dear Loki, thanks for nothing!"?


 
Maybe you celebrate the cosmic Jewish zombie, maybe you're more of the "let's eat ham and pretend bunnies lay eggs" variety, or maybe you get to enjoy the sheer deliciousness of Passover (oh gods, post-Seder Jewish brisket haunts my dreams), or maybe like me you're an atheist just out for a free meal of ham, biscuits, potatoes, and at east 2 vegetable casseroles oozing with cheese. No matter what your bent this weekend will bring us face to face with a writer's worst enemy: their family.

Make no mistake writers, this here is war. If you're a writer, and serious about it, chances are high that, like me, you're an introvert and a misanthrope. Eight-plus hours of face time with people who have almost no boundaries when it comes to embarrassing you... it's like the first few incursions on D-Day.



If you don't bottle up your emotions the end of the day should look like this


 
So, how do you survive it? You come armed! The Allies won on D-Day sheerly because they had more goddamn cannon fodder, er, troops, and that's how you win wars. Sorry, pacifists have sreudian flips when it comes to the names governments give soldiers. Your troops are your wits, so keep them about you!

First, make a game plan. If you're of the starving artist variety like me, avoid discussions of money at all costs. So note who is most likely to bring it up (usually your Dad or father figure, if you have one).What can distract him? In my case it's only two things: economics or cookies.  Unfortunately economics deals with money and is too close, so cookies it is. If my dad starts harping on me because I'm broke I just shove cookies at him. Crisis averted. For most of you, sports and cars are good ways to go. Can't beat the classics.



Of course your father may not be such a hard-ass. i recommend videos of people being injured or losing to him at a game as a distraction.

 

Whether or not you're a starving artist, there will come a moment when your "not living up to your potential" comes into discussion. This is usually the fault of the mother figure, if you've got one. I don't, so I get to avoid this, but most of my artistic friends can't, so I've learned a trick or two. Again, distraction! What do mothers care about more than your work? Your offspring! So if you have kids, whip 'em out. Ain't they cute? Look what they can do! Works every time. If you have no progeny she will be just as interested in your love life, for that person you're boffing could be the co-producer of their desired grand kids. Throw them under the wheel! Talk about their work, their accomplishments. Be sure to give them copious amounts of oral sex later as a thank you.

However, what if, like me, you're single? You're a writer, you know how to lie. That's all fiction is! It's gorgeous, wonderful, entertaining lies everyone knows is a lie, but you're a master of it. So ladies, tell your mom you're dating a doctor who...oh, fuck, they won't care beyond that. do say he's a new resident, as his having 0 time for you will be a convenient break-up excuse in 2 weeks. Men, tell your mom you're dating that good looking woman (who resembles your mother) with a good career who's dying to have children. Just make sure she has a really good career, for in two weeks that "she got transferred out of state" will be a great way to explain her lack of presence.



Or go for nuclear: find a dude like this, bring him home, and trust me, no one will pester you about writing or dating for the next five years.



So that takes care of the 2 enemies who do their most to passive-aggressively (or aggressively) make you feel like an idiot failure. Now, what about the other annoying types? The "I have a better idea than you" types typically found in siblings? Well, for that just smile and nod if you get caught in the trap, but avoid the trap whenever possible! When they ask what you're writing now just say "my tax return," and laugh, move on. If anyone persists after that pull out your cell phone which you've set to vibrate and fake a call until they move onto something else.

What about the patronizing assholes who like to quote statistics on how little most authors make, pr point out all the retards who write self-help or celebrity biography books and the the retards who read them? Typically these are cousins or in-laws. No matter who they are they deserve to be killed in a way that would make Caligula blush. Defeating them is tough; you have to know each and every one's weakness and poke at it. Point out how Chris's beloved car has been linked to impotence, or how pudgy Mary's looking. Or distract them with dazzle camouflage by giving them something else to talk about. This Easter I quit smoking & stopped drinking caffeine. That'll keep the jackanapes at bay. A new tattoo or radical hair style change also works well.




Show up like this and no one will bother you about your writing. They might commit you, however.


 
Now for master-level fighting, do the in-and-out. Show up 5 minutes before dinner is served & use the bathroom. At the table shove in as much food as you can constantly so you can only grunt and nod or shake your head in response. If they ever demand an answer get up to run to the bathroom or fake choking. Have your significant other pretend an emergency right after dessert (finish yours minutes before them) or arrange to have your best friend call with an emergency at an agreed upon time. No muss, no fuss, and done!

In short, my artist friends, these are the people who birthed you and raised you, maybe you love each other, but you don't have to like each other. And on holidays...it's warfare. Quit the Dr. Phil crap about getting along and recognize it for what it is. Warfare. No one knows how to deal properly with their role as son/daughter, mother or father, aunt or uncle etc as an adult. The older ones resent your status as an adult making you an equal and they want to cut you down to retain their feeling of power. It's war people, shoot to kill and dance on their graves. Pwn them, pwn them all!

Hey, I did warn you I'm a misanthrope. Did you think that meant cute & cuddly?



Happy Easter, people