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Daddy’s Little Girl

August 24, 2010

I totally take after him.

Friday after work I took my dad to his friend Matt’s garage. Each week they have a few beers and solve the mysteries and problems of the Universe. If I’m lucky I get to hang out with them for part of the process.

Well, this week — for some reason — it turned into an unwanted life-coaching session for me. (Probably because I was commenting on how tired I was after working so much overtime last week.) Well, they were encouraging me to work hard and “make hay while the sun shines” and stuff like that. Then Dad suggested that while I’m on vacation in NYC that I try to find a job.

I tried to nicely let him know that I didn’t think that was a good idea and then he was even more fervent about the idea. “They have lots of newspapers up there!” he said.

Now first of all, just based on the things I currently know about NYC, I do not want to live there. And an even more horrifying idea to me is trying to work there. I’m having a hard enough time making ends meet around here — I sure as heck don’t want to try this in the most competitive and expensive city in the world.

The truth is, I’m not all that ambitious and I don’t want to claw my way to the top of some corporate ladder. What’s more, I don’t really want to be in the newspaper business anymore. That’s right, I don’t want to be a journalist.

“What about magazines. There have to be tons of magazines around there,” Daddy said. Well that’s not a half bad idea. I like the idea of magazine work, but most of their work is freelance and they don’t have a lot of people on staff. Which I told them, but Daddy and Matt thought I was just making excuses.

“What about Michelle Malkin?” (I don’t know how that relates, but okay.)

“I don’t want to be Michelle Malkin — I don’t want her job.” (Besides, she already has it.)

This was astonishing news to the guys.

“Michelle Malkin is…she’s smart,” Matt said.

“Maybe she’s smarter than me,” I countered.

Again, “You’re just making excuses,” dad said.

“You need a plan,” Matt said.

“Well, I want to go to graduate school,” I said. “That’s my plan right now. I want to write and I think I want to be a college professor.”

That calmed them down for a second — until dad went off on all the authors out there who never went to grad school.

Great, I get to have this conversation again. I don’t know how those writers did it. I don’t know how Vince Flynn wrote a bestseller while he was selling insurance. Or any of the other examples my dad brought up.

I can barely keep my life together, my apartment clean and my bills paid while working full-time. I don’t know how those guys did it…maybe I’m lazy, but I don’t feel like I can do it. What’s more, even if I can do it I don’t want to spend 10 years doing it. I want to go do it now.

And I want help. I have tons of ideas and a few plotlines for books, movies plays — all sorts of things — in my head, but I have no idea how to get them out and make sense of them. I don’t even know where to start. I have ideas and I know I have skill. In fact, I have flair — talent even. But I still want help. I need help. So grad school is where I’m going to start.

Even if I don’t finish graduate school it seems like the only plausible way for me to take enough time off from the mundane bits of life to get a real good start on something great. Maybe I should have already done that — maybe I should have gotten something started (or even finished) while I was in undergrad but I didn’t. Hell, I didn’t even take a single creative writing class until I was a senior because I thought it was an impractical waste of time.

But you know what? I aced that class. In fact, I think I was better than the teacher. I was certainly better than all the other people in the class. And I wrote way more than was required for the class and way more than I had written the rest of my college career when I had reporting assignments.

Anyway, that’s my rant about graduate school and about my plan for my life. I don’t know how much of it I actually said to Daddy and Matt, but by the end I was kind of crying. I know Matt said something to the effect of — “at least you have a plan.”

Then they talked a little bit about children’s books and then we changed the subject.

So, yeah…I sort of have a plan. But I definitely have an amazing dad and I’m sort of a Daddy’s girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mom. But dad…well I think like him. I have his temper and I have his eyes. I’ve cried a lot about what I want to be when I grow up and some if it was because of Daddy. I don’t know why, but I really want him to be proud of me and what I accomplish with my life. I know that might not happen, but I would like it if it could.

Anyway, yesterday (after spending most of the day on my couch watching TV) I decided I had to get out and I went over to see Mom and dad and check my bank balance on the Internet. When I got there, Mom was at church and I found Daddy in his chair (as is usual on a Sunday afternoon) but he wasn’t just watching the James Bond movie that was on the TV. He was writing in a notebook too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do that — unless he was drawing something that he was going to be building. Like a bookshelf, or a cabinet. (He’s a carpenter, see?)

But this wasn’t a schematic, so I asked him what he was working on. I figured he’d say a letter to someone. But, he said, “I’m getting you started on a book.” I figured that was his way of telling me to mind my own business. I mean he was concentrating pretty hard and I was probably bugging him, so I just laughed and said, “Thanks old man. I always need ideas.”

Then I walked into the spare bedroom signed on to the Internet, checked my bank balance, wrote a terse blog, did a bit of shameless self-promotion via Facebook and then I reemerged when Mom came back from church. I went into the kitchen to talk to her. Normally when we go in there and start messing with food Daddy follows. But this time he stayed in his chair and kept writing.

“What are you doing James R?” Mom hollered through the doorway.

“I’m writing a book for Crystal,” he said. He must really be outlining a book for me, I thought. Which made me almost cry. In fact, I’m trying not to cry right now while I type this blog.

Mom asked me what the story was and I told her I didn’t have a clue what he was working on.

“It’s probably the story he told me about yesterday,” she said.

It turns out that on Saturday — after talking about me being a writer on Friday night — my dad came up with an idea for a series of children’s books. He has at least 10 characters figured out already and probably three books worth of plot in his head.

He said he’s going to give the ideas to me and I’m supposed to write the books, get them illustrated and published and make a bunch of money with them.

“And then I’ll use the money to take care of you when you’re old right?”

At that he shook his head with a little grin on his face and said, “Good trade,” and made the we’re even gesture.

“Good trade,” I said and returned the gesture.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 9:16 am

    Hi Crystal

    You say you don’t know how people write books while holding down fulltime jobs and dealing with alll the other luggage that comes with everyday life. Would you like an experience that’ll teach you a lot about writing, yourself as a writer and your ability to actually write in significant amounts despite having a life?

    Check out NaNoWriMo. It’s a movement?/activity?/phenomenom?/obsession in November where folks sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It teaches you lots about your ability to write on demand and in quantity, new things about you as a writer and on top of it, it’s great fun. No obligation, but odds are good that you’ll find yourself doing great things that you hadn’t believed possible

    They also have Script Frenzy, for writing scripts.

    It’s free and fun and causes you to grow as a writer quickly. Plus, you may get a novel out of it.

    Can’t wait until Nov? Try their book “No Plot, No Problem.”


    Good luck

    author of the soon to b published “Adventures in Plamistry”


    • August 24, 2010 9:26 am

      Thank you, Catherine. I have actually heard of “NaNoWriMo” But I have never participated. Maybe this year.


  2. August 24, 2010 9:24 am

    Just a thought; however, a thought from my own experience as a designer and writer for 23 years.
    Go to an industry that is hurting for good writers.

    Although it is print, there is equal platform online presence with Magazine publications.
    Look for publications that personally interest you. High gloss and massive produced. Hearst Corporation comes to mind. Regional social living magazines in such towns as Washington, DC, Maryland and even University Relations departments at colleges have a need. Correct me if I am wrong, it seems to me you would enjoy a peaceful and old traditional environment yet with scholastic challenge. If an area is going to challenge the pocketbook and other social aspects, why change that drastically. Make change; however, give it some vision and look at all the positives.


  3. August 24, 2010 9:38 am

    Maybe there are writers who wrote books while selling insurance bonds. But you’re not them and you’re not going to write what they did.

    You are you, and you are going to write whatever you want and whenever you want. Get people to respect the fact that the world is not full of clones who work alike. If it were, then boredom would lead us to hurl ourselves off cliffs.

    Good luck.


  4. Anubis permalink
    August 24, 2010 10:02 am


    Although this blog seems to be about your writing, what you want to do with it, and how you are going to learn the skills to achieve it, I think the actual issue is your relationship with your father. The theme that I saw here was not “how do I become a writer” or “how do I get my novel started”, but rather that you want your dad to be proud of you and what you are accomplishing in life.

    And it sounds to me like he already is. The discussion the three of you had in the garage was about two different things, you needing your dad to acknowledge that you knew what you wanted to do, and your dad wanting to help you get what you want in life. Of course, there is the constant underlying parental concern of “how is she going to make money doing this.”

    But it is clear to see your dad is proud of you. He is not telling you to get a job in a more financially stable career, he is offering suggestions on where you could use that talent. A talent he clearly recognizes. He may have been trying to suggest job ideas, but then he spends his Sunday writing out book ideas for you.

    A much as you see yourself as “Daddy’s Girl” he sees you as his “Little Girl”. But be happy. He isn’t trying to dictate what you do with your life, it seems he just that he wants to be a part of you achieving your dreams.


    • August 24, 2010 10:20 am

      I’ve never really felt supported by my dad as much as I would like because he’s very silent about things — which, paradoxically is his way of being supportive. He wants us to go our own way. I think he felt pressured not to do what he wanted when he was young and that was hard for him. A few months ago I made a special point of telling my parents that I was planning to go to grad school for creative writing and it was like pulling teeth to get dad to tell me what he thought. He said, “Well, if I had been better at school, I think that’s what I would have done.” Another Daddy’s girl moment.


  5. Jacqui permalink
    August 24, 2010 11:30 am

    From one “Daddy’s Girl” to another – the love and support of a Father is a gift beyond all measure! How wonderful that he worked so diligently to support your dreams in the form of handing over some ideas for you!

    I have had similar experiences with my own Father. . . what a precious gift – the love shared between Father and Daughter!


  6. August 24, 2010 12:11 pm

    May I suggest writing non fiction. It sells much better than fiction. You can and should self publish. While you are at it e books and audio books are easy and cheap to produce and most writers ignore them to their own peril.

    The only fiction market that is growing is romance novels. If you have any help I can help, and I can get you a 3 book contract with a major romance novel house.

    The grad school idea is a good one and becoming a professor. Gives you a living while you are writing.

    Why don’t you have a computer at home?

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilde


    • August 24, 2010 12:20 pm

      Are there any specific non-fiction themes and topics that are selling better than others? I have considered non-fiction. Self-publishing seems dicey to me. I think I could write a romance novel. I’ll have to consider that.

      I do have a computer at home…I don’t, however, have the Internet at home. It’s very expensive in my part of the country.


      • August 24, 2010 5:42 pm

        Relationships and solving relationship problems sell well. Any kind of self help book sells. I suggest that we chat on the phone or the IM because this subject is more involved than trading emails. As to the romance novels, the key is to have a series dreamed up. Publishers look for authors who have a series of books envivisioned.

        The particular romance publisher that I am referring to sends you on a book tour in first class, first class air fare, chaffeur driven limos, fist class hotels the works, a $2,500 clothing allowance. I can get you a 3 or 4 book deal. Straight romance, the same story with re-written love scenes that are much more sexually graphic, audio books and e books. This means an advance for each version of the book. Then you go on to write sequels to the book or in the same genre as the original book.

        Blessings on you and yours
        John Wilder


        • August 24, 2010 5:46 pm

          Well, it isn’t high art, but it does sounds better than my current means of acquiring compensation! I’ll have to contact you!


  7. Ghetto_Philosopher permalink
    August 24, 2010 2:22 pm

    You’re definitely, definitely a great writer. I know this because I read more than most people I know. I also read and have read everything from non fiction to fiction, from old school to new school and I’ll say this; if you ever publish a book, I’ll definitely pay for it and read it.

    Having said that, I am glad that you’re willing to go for what you want. It’s also great to see that your father did what he did as a show of support. Good luck with everything and meanwhile, I’ll keep reading the blog.


    • August 24, 2010 2:43 pm

      Thanks for the support! And if I ever have a book published I promise you will be able to read about it here!


  8. August 25, 2010 1:26 pm

    From what you wrote in your post, your dad sounds like he’s really proud of you already and just wants to encourage you in your writing. That’s pretty cool, for him to have so much faith in you and your abilities. I enjoy reading your blog – you’re a good writer!


  9. August 27, 2010 8:52 am

    That is incredibly sweet of your Dad! I second the suggestion of writing for NaNoWrimo, it’s a fun time if anything else. 🙂


  10. October 10, 2010 6:58 am

    Got to know of your site through The Psychology of Metal post on, by the way I left a comment a few minutes ago under the name of V.Ganesh and I’m the founder & owner of The Right Hand Path, do visit the site and the homepage is cool


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