Collaborating on a Book with…

…my daughter, Katie! Yes, definitely on my bucket list. Katie and I make a great team, don’t we?

I remember telling my dad, once, that I would not work with computers. They’d been around all my life, and it wasn’t resistance to change or “newfangled technology” that made me edge away from them. It was simply that I associated them with unwieldy, bus-sized boxes full of boredom. I associated them with accounting and other dull forms of record-keeping. There was nothing about flipping bits on and off that excited the least little spark of interest.

I played with the punched out bits from punch cards before we knew they made dangerous confetti. I played games like Hamurabi, at school (seems one needs math skills not to starve hundreds to their deaths and be declared a national fink), on a PDP-something-or-other (I want to say 9, but maybe it was 11). Whatever. PD-Pete, we called it. I got to play with one of the first desktop computers – the TRS-80 – and typed up code copied from a book and stored it on cassette tapes. I played Lunar Lander and crashed my spaceship on the moon pretty consistently. “No, computers are your thing, Dad. I want no part of that. I’m going to be a writer.” While some women have a weakness for shoes, I can’t be turned loose with a credit card in an office supply store. I have thing for fountain pens and I’m not happy unless I’m surrounded by paper and books.

But in a strange twist of fate, I landed a job working with computers. I bought my first computer when I went back to law school. I learned to appreciate the relative speed of a PC keyboard and printer – and the joy of not having to redo everything over a single typo. I worked as a technical writer documenting computer hardware and software – for decades. And now I blog and work with social media. You’d think my PC was an extension of my fingertips.

I smiled to myself when my daughter would say things like, “No offense, but I don’t want to be a writer.” I would marvel at her musical inclinations and her athletic prowess, and wonder what strange and recessive genes her father and I passed along. I watched her sprinkle commas like confetti – her spelling impeccable from the start, but her punctuation seemingly designed to drive my inner editor to drink.

And yet – she ended up taking a job as editor of her college newspaper. She began to write thoughtfully crafted essays and term papers. She began to…blog. Professionally. She doesn’t have my attachment to a keyboard, though she types even faster, and with greater accuracy, than I do. No, she has a weird affinity for ancient technology – like paper. And she is an amazing writer.

Kids, just surrender to it. The universe will play little practical jokes on you all your life, and you can rail against it all you like – the road’s going to lead where it’s meant to lead. The universe is a poet and a jokester. Don’t blame your parents.




Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at For more information on her children's books, please visit

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25 Responses to “Collaborating on a Book with…”

  1. Rasheed Hooda

    Yup , no need fighting it.

    I was supposed to be a professor of Islamic history at the Harvard University. I came to America to study chemical engineering, and now, well it’s an unconventional life as a nomad.
    Rasheed Hooda recently posted…C is for ChangeMy Profile

  2. Mitch Mitchell

    Very interesting indeed. When I got my first computer, I didn’t want it. Mom kept saying to me “Computers are the way the world is going”; this was in 1986, and I just didn’t care. How things do change; sometimes our parents really do know what’s going on. 🙂
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Protecting Your Social Media Presence By Not Being StupidMy Profile

  3. Roland Yeomans

    Life has a way of nudging us onto paths we are not particularly interested in all right. In the early 90’s I felt barred from a fascinating world because I couldn’t afford a computer. Thankfully, that changed. Thanks for visiting my blog as you do!
    Roland Yeomans recently posted…C is for CORONET BLUE and what remains and what goes wrongMy Profile

  4. Nick Wilford says:

    Funny how that happens. It becomes second nature when it was once so alien to us.

  5. Rummuser says:

    I am Collaborating with a lot of has beens to live a Contented retired life.
    Rummuser recently posted…Chutki’s Choice!My Profile

  6. Sara C. Snider says:

    I like how both you and your daughter are doing things you didn’t think you’d do, and seem to be thriving at it. Life certainly does take interesting turns. Good luck with the collaboration, hopefully you’ll get to cross it off your list. 🙂

  7. Suzanne says:

    Lovely idea to write a book with your daughter 🙂 And computer’s – didn’t have them when I grew up, but I went for a job when I was 23 and it involved using a computer “Could I use a computer?” Of course says I! I got the job and had to go to work early every day to learn how to operate the blessed thing lol! x
    Suzanne recently posted…A – Z My Bucket List ‘D’My Profile

    • Yes, it was interesting back then – you didn’t have to have any proficiency with the silly thing, just a willingness to learn and the ability to “hit the ground running.” My parents always pointed out that if you could READ well, you could learn how to do just about anything you were interested in doing.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Collaborating on a Book with…My Profile

  8. Patricia Stoltey

    And that’s the truth! The best we can do is stay alert and stop resisting.
    Patricia Stoltey recently posted…The Colorado Gold Contest is now open for submissionsMy Profile

  9. Tarkabarka says:

    She sounds like an awesome lady! 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  10. Dave Michaud says:

    Loved reading this, especially your experience with a Trash-80 🙂

    I couldn’t be happier for you Holly, and Katie. Working with one of your children, because you want to is the best experience. Sometime during your collaboration, your daughter will correct you on some point and she’ll be right. You’ll get peeved for about a millesecond before you start laughing as the joy of parental pride washes over you.

  11. My mom has published four books. She’s working on more and I’m helping her edit them. I’d love for she and I to collaborate!

    My dad told me about punch cards from back in the day, and my brain short-circuited.

    • What has your mom written? I didn’t know she’d published four books, or that you were helping her to edit them! That’s awesome. You ARE collaborating. Though admittedly, it’s much more fun to co-write than to edit, at least for me. I told my daughter it’s a good thing we have compatible styles and I think she’s an awesome writer, because I’m a terrible editor. It’s not that I’m not good at editing, but that I try to REWRITE everything I edit. That’s not really doing another writer any favors, unless you know them well and their writing is strong enough not to trigger that urge. Katie and I have started on something, and it’s pretty amazing. But it’s HER TURN NOW…
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Hamilton PoolMy Profile

  12. Right now, my mom has only done non-fiction. She self published for print books and recently I went in and made her stuff available on Kindle. She’s a minister so three of the books are Christian-based and the fourth is a cookbook she did with her BFF.

    She wrote and published her first book before the ebook craze. She hustled to sell her books. I seriously have to give her props for that. Whenever she was preaching, or giving a talk or seminar, she would order a bunch of copies weeks before, Then she’d have a booth set up for whenever she was finished speaking. She would sell out every time. That was years ago.

    This time around, she’s writing fiction and she wants to do it under a pen name for various reasons. She’s writing a romance series and it’s pretty damn good but I’m biased lol.

    I’m so proud of my ma! 🙂

    Risa Pleasant – Author Page
    Mia Pleasant recently posted…3AMMy Profile

    • Aww. I love it that you’re proud of your mom! Slip me a copy when the romance series is published and I’ll pretend I have no idea who she is. 🙂
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Kauai, Kona, Kanapala, KilaueaMy Profile

    • Oh, that What Are You Afraid Of? book looks like something that’s desperately needed! I’ve never understood why any parent would rather their kids learned about sex from strangers – or the CHILDREN of strangers. And I KNOW that anyone who has kids knows they weren’t brought by the stork or found in a cabbage patch. Seems like the plain, honest facts and a little dose of “how would you feel if [mom/dad] had you but didn’t want to BE [mom/dad]” would go a long way towards kids making better choices.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Kauai, Kona, Kanapala, KilaueaMy Profile

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