Daddy’s Little Girl
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.
“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.
“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.