Meet Betsy Franco, Manic Pixie Dream Mom And/Or The Spirit Of Mother's Day

Illustration for article titled Meet Betsy Franco, Manic Pixie Dream Mom And/Or The Spirit Of Mother's Day

The ever-expanding resumé of notorious dilettante James Franco, today roughly the length of Infinite Jest, is pretty easy to explain: Adderall. Now we learn that it's actually his super-supportive mom Betsy. And Adderall.


A Stanford graduate, Betsy Franco has balanced a lifetime of creative projects with the practical elements of motherhood and financial stability, feathering a fun nest of artsy-fartsiness for her children:

"When they were little and they saw me working as a writer, they saw the possibility in doing something creative and making a living from it. It takes as much creativity to figure how to make a living as an artist as to be an artist in itself."

Her tactic was to transition from painter to YA and children's writer, penning over 80 titles and including her sons James, Tom and Dave in the process (Tom illustrates; James and Dave narrate her audiobooks). They were hothouse flowers from the start and she's a good sport about their fame. She seems pretty fucking cool and charming in this video talking about the demise of the family cat. ("That cat's shit was going to kill my new baby.")

"From the the day [James, Tom and Dave] were born they were creative, curious and unusual. We encouraged it at home. I don't think about failure and we didn't talk about it. The word ‘failure' isn't helpful in the realm of creativity. If I do something and it doesn't work I use it later on."

The reason this sounds familiar is because it epitomizes the whole Generation-Y-"You can do anything!" upbringing that everybody keeps yelling about because it's responsible for the large component of failed art/film/basketweaving school graduates of today. But it sure paid off for the Francos—Betsy still collaborates with her sons on projects, and is currently working with James on a screenplay.

I can see it now, Betsy warmly telling 5-year-old James over their large-scale paper-mâché installation, "You can do anything you set your mind to, whether it's attending NYU and attending Columbia and falling asleep at Columbia and writing a lukewarmly-received short story collection called Palo Alto and doing that weird Three's Company-themed performance art with Kalup Linzy and popping up in people's Facebook pictures with absolutely no context."


And he did! So let's just change "Mother's Day" to "National Betsy Franco Day" and get it over with.

'The Art Of Mothering: Author Betsy Franco Talks Creativity And Her Famous Sons' [Stylecaster]


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And this story is even better because her sons obviously adore her. Very little is more attractive than boys who love their mamas.