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He Wants His Cut

by Donna DeLoretto Brennan

As a mom, I love to hear the thoughts that pop in my kids’ minds and tumble out their mouths. As a writer, I love to share some of those sentiments and words with others.

For example, twelve years ago, our family flew to Salt Lake City for my niece’s wedding. My youngest three kids had never flown before and were especially excited. As the plane ascended into the sky, six-year-old Tim stared mesmerized out the window watching the buildings and other planes on the tarmac getting smaller and smaller until they disappeared. That soon appeared to be forgotten as he and his siblings played inflight games, gabbed with each other, and found other ways to keep themselves entertained.

More than five hours later, as our plane began to descend, Tim’s nose was again glued to the widow. He saw the buildings and planes on the ground getting bigger and bigger, and exclaimed, “What? All this time and we’re right back here?”

This made me smile, and I patiently explained that many airports look the same from the sky; this was indeed a different airport.

A couple of years later, a parenting magazine I subscribed to was looking for funny vacation stories (in 50 words or less). I wrote about Tim’s comment and sent it off to the editors. To my delight, they bought the short piece and paid me twenty-five dollars for it.

That night, I proudly shared my news with my family at dinner.

Eight-year-old Tim asked, “How much do I get?”


“You said they paid you twenty-five dollars. How much do I get?”

I tried to explain to him that that’s not the way it works. I wrote it. I sent in the story. I got paid.

His response? “But I said it. How much do I get?”

I sighed. Humor with a twinge of sarcasm is almost a second language in our house. I told him, “You’re eating dinner right now, aren’t you? That’s what you get.”

He didn’t like my answer, but he dropped the subject—for a while. That conversation took place almost ten years ago, yet every now and then he’ll bring it up. He tells me he’s still waiting for his cut.

Admittedly, I was tempted, all those years ago, to give him a few dollars to make him happy. But since so much of what I was writing at the time was based on interactions with my family, I figured I couldn’t afford to pay my kids every time they thought I got my idea from them. Especially since they seem to think everything I write is about them, even when it isn’t.

For instance, in one of my books the kids play soccer. All three of my boys played soccer from elementary school through high school. So my book must be about them. And one of my main characters in that same book is named Elizabeth. But that’s my daughter’s middle name. So it must be about her. And so on and so on.

I try to explain that most writers write from their experiences. I was a soccer mom; my main character is a soccer mom. And I like the name Elizabeth—that’s why I used it for my character and why it’s my daughter’s middle name. It really isn’t about them at all.

Yet now here I am, writing about my kids and what they’ve actually said or done. But I’m not getting paid for this post, so maybe I’ll make an exception this time and agree to split my earnings with them.


About the Author:

Donna DeLoretto Brennan was a technical writer for over ten years before becoming a computer programmer. Since leaving the corporate world after her twins were born, she’s had short stories, interviews, and nonfiction articles published online and in print magazines. She’s speaks at writing conferences and other events.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG). She’s served in various capacities on the GLVWG board, including several terms as Conference Chair. She’s always looking for opportunities to encourage others and to share what she’s learned.

Donna’s website is http://www.degunkinglife.com/.

Forget the Mess—It’s time for a Story!

by Donna DeLoretto Brennan

Forget the MessWhen life starts to fill with mindless chores and endless to-do lists, take a mini-break to relax and reenergize. This book contains six stories to help you forget about the dishes that need to be washed or the laundry that needs to be put away. Forget the mess for now, and enjoy a story. The mess will still be there, waiting for you, when the story is finished.

  • My Good Son – The son she remembers is missing; and who is this man calling her “Ma”?
  • Pretense – Sister-relationships can be complicated, especially if you’re afraid to tell the truth.
  • Another Day – Clara looks for a way—and a reason—to keep going.
  • Spectator – When watching other people’s lives is more interesting than living your own, maybe you need to take some action.
  • Taking Care of His Wife – Brad promised to take care of Megan forever—but he never said exactly how he would do that.
  • Love Your Frenimies – When Jesus said to love your neighbor, he couldn’t have meant Gina’s neighbor, Anna.


Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story is available in paperback form at Amazon. A kindle version will be available soon.