Past and Present

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 9:19AM

When I was fifteen I lived with my dad for a year. How delightfully strange it was to go from being raised by my truck driver abusive stepdad to living once more with my father, my first love and the artist of my childhood.

Dad wasn’t the neatest person in the world; his painting supplies were likely to turn up just about anywhere in the small apartment. Open any drawer, closet or cabinet and you’d find something pertaining to his artistic talent: a dried up tube of paint, a rolled up etching he’d never finished (which I always tried to finish for him in my imagination–though I fervently loved these rough drafts just the way they were in all their incompleteness).

Years after I moved out, Dad mentioned coming across some of the writings I’d left behind. Those were tumultuous years for me, for I had gone from the strict, sheltered world of my mother’s household to a place where no restrictions were put on me. My life became chaotic and scary. So when I moved out eventually, there’s no telling what I thought to take with me. I was in such a sorry state emotionally by then that it’s just possible I wouldn’t have put any value on my writings.

The writings Dad described:  did I really write them? It’s possible I copied them out of a book, as an example to myself of the kind of writer I wanted to be. When I suggested this possibility to Dad he adamantly disagreed.

“You wrote this stuff,” he assured me, his keen eyes twinkling with fatherly pride. “You have your own writing style, I spotted it right off the bat. Beautiful stuff, just beautiful. Why don’t you send your stuff in? Get it published?”

I felt nearly as uncomfortable under the weight of his praise as I’d once felt mortified under the weight of my stepdad’s mocking of my writing dreams. Why did I feel so embarrassed to have someone compliment my writing? Was it because I’d never before (except once in a blue moon in an English class) heard anything positive about my talent?

Being an artist himself, Dad wouldn’t have flattered me about my talent. In fact he probably would have told me straight out if he thought I had none.  So did that mean I really did write the stuff he said I left behind, and was it really that good?

Excitement builds as I revel in my utter audacity at giving myself permission to pursue my writing dreams above all else. That’s why this little stroll down memory lane, I suppose. I’ve so few good memories of my growing up years that this memory of Dad’s pride in my writing really stands out.

I’ve a little corner of my basement outfitted for my writing sessions. At a garage sale a few weeks ago I picked up an Ikea bamboo carpet which I put under my writing table. How cozy to write my heart out while the washer agitates and the dryer gives out the pleasant scent of Downy! Though the basement is painted an ugly color (I don’t even know what to call it), it’s good to not have the distractions I’d be contending with if my writing environment were ‘just so.’

Writing is something which spans my earliest years all the way to my present day nana self. How delicious to have something which has lasted decades, something no one can rob me of.

How delicious to write.


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Reader Comments (3)

I hope you don’t give that up. You are so talented. You’re right– no one can take it from you, but you can throw it away. I hope you don’t. July 8, 2009 |

Unregistered Commenter


“How delicious to have something which has lasted decades…”

Yes you can write. And you have some wonderful turns of phrases.

Kate July 18, 2009 |

Unregistered Commenter


Thank you, Tricia! I’m determined not to give up . . . July 18, 2009 |

Registered Commenter


One thought on “Past and Present

  1. Even back then the writer within was being congratulated on her ability, her God given gift, please continue to use it to the best of your ability, to do any less would be a shame.


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