Our Family Stories

When my parents first got married, my half-sister was six. All the time she would ask him for stories about when he was her age. She wanted to know all about him. My dad though, ever practical, had no desire to tell my sister the true stories of his youth. These were tales filled with disobeying parents, sneaking out of the house, freaking out babysitters and just generally getting in trouble.


Eventually he came up with the tales that developed what I think may be his secret super power- story telling. These are detailed, dramatic stories full of perilous situations and child heroes. My favorite might be the ones where his mother is pregnant with him. She is in the car driving somewhere, lost and my father realizes her confusion. He peeks out of her bellybutton (which is apparently more like a little skylight) and tells her which way to go. She listens and they get where they are supposed to! This story is an adorable and quintessential little bit of Dad- he’s the hero but also, a bit of a know it all.

This Easter we were able to bring these stories into the lives of my nieces. My mother emailed Dad requesting he clarify the details of his Easter story and he did one better- he wrote out the whole thing! For years I have been requesting this and it was an incredible treat to have. It was made better only by my oldest niece reading the story of how “Granddaddy” saved Easter aloud to all of us.


I never thought of my dad as a writer until recently. These stories have been with us for so long there were just part of a part of his goofiness we cherished as children. But now that he writes us infamously long emails about his travels, I can see it. Everything he writes is full. It’s sensory, it’s visual, it’s emotional. This is the way he describes a taxi ride but also, how his travels have impacted him. It’s all with the same intensity. I’m especially glad my nieces can experience this, even if their Granddaddy is thousands of miles away.


Do You Know That Click?

You have to write to be a writer. Not a novel concept but one that can be extremely hard to grasp at times. But how, why, what do I write?

I write at work in between phone calls when I should be replying to emails. I scribble on scrap paper and tiny overpriced notebooks. I type on my laptop on my couch, in the library, at the coffee shop sipping dollar beers.

I write to express. I write to free myself of the thoughts, emotions, confusing torrents of words that flood my being on a daily basis.

I write crap. Pages of crap. Years of crap, with the hope that I will find a gem. A thought or idea so worth sharing that I will be able to send it out into the world and it will be embraced by others who have been sitting, waiting to feel that click. You know that click, that audible click. It’s the moment when you know not only that you are not alone but someone has been able to express exactly what you have been feeling in a way that makes you feel both validated and poetic.

And one day someone will say, “She’s a writer.”