I am thinking of writing an essay about my dad that digs deep into my memory of what was good about him, in addition to the usual stories I tell about what was not so great about him. Below are just a few rough draft paragraphs that may not end up in the essay. But this is how the process begins: with exploration.
The memory involves sunshine and youth, and when you say those two words together, sunshine and youth, you might think I’m getting at something glorious and happy. That wouldn’t be true. It’s the song and the sunshine, the way the sunshine slants at the intersection of Pleasant and Central Streets, just at the moment Rod Stewart sings through the car radio, “Maggie, I think I got something to say to you…” that I see him: my father.
This is all kind of fucked up because I don’t think my father spent any time at the intersection of Pleasant and Central, which isn’t the nicest part of town so he would have had no interest. Yet I see him. He’s walking down the street in the 4 p.m. sun, not at its height and not yet set. Once he existed in such a space, perhaps at a different intersection, perhaps in a different town, but he walked in a 4 o’clock sun.
My father has been dead for eight and a half years.
I’ve been reflecting on my own father as of late. It is probably because he has been gone 3 years, come September 3. With the remembrances come the good and the bad. Kind of like a family reunion, where the disruptive relatives show up as well as the warm and fuzzy ones. I’d rather just stick to the good ones, but the obnoxious uncle keeps stumbling into perfectly good conversations… you really can’t seem to avoid it. As much as I would like to forget all the bullshit, I remember that those less than stellar moments shaped my insanity and made me the nutcase I am today. I guess I should thank him. Everyone else can swear about him under their breath since they are stuck dealing with me. I’m sure he’s laughing his ass off.
It sounds as though we both had complicated relationships with our dads. I appreciate your reading this post. It wasn’t much, but it’s good to hear your thoughts, as always, Kris. Thank you.
I’m happy to see this post, and to know that you’ve begun. It’s also helpful to see your process of working to write about a complicated relationship. To want to consider the “good” as well as the “bad” is an indication of true creativity curiosity, and that’s about all we can ask from ourselves as we start a new piece of work. Good luck with the next paragraphs.
Thank you for reading, Erika, and for taking the time to reply. With this essay, I do hope to use my blog to walk myself through the process. It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything of substance. Hope you are doing well. xo