Dad’s are Muses? Who knew?

Dad’s are there to inspire.

Read that again. I want to make sure it sinks in good and deep. I’m not saying it to be funny or to give myself an elevated position as a dad myself. I am simply stating a simple and undeniable fact. Before anyone tries to dispute me, give me a chance to make my case. Even by not being there, a father inspires his children by his actions. Whether death has ripped him from their lives or he’s just an asshat who has no business being anyone’s father, he has inspired his children to become the adults they will eventually grow into being. That’s for good and bad, people. So any guys out there, pay close attention to what I typed. If you believe you’re a better influence by not being in your children’s life, you just taught them that men have no other responsibility than being a piece-of-crap sperm donor.

Okay, my soapbox is done, because that isn’t what this blog is about. I just happened to hit a sour note and felt like saying something that so obviously needed to be said — even though it should NEVER HAVE TO BE said. Sadly for our society, it does.

If that isn’t what this blog is about, what is?

It’s about my dad, the greatest man I know. When I say a dad is there to inspire, I speak from experience. My dad gave his four sons and now his daughter the inspiration of being a role model each of us have aspired to become to our children and now for some of us our grandchildren. The first and foremost thing he taught us is that loving your kids supersedes everything else short of loving God in your life. It’s that love that defines every single memory I have of my father. I include those from today. My dad loves me, and it is the one thing I’ve never felt the need to question.  His every action reflects his love for all his children and grandchildren. Out of all the things I’ve learned by osmosis from being in his shadow, loving my family, and extended family is the greatest thing I’ve taken from him. Sometimes, that love isn’t easy.  Sometimes it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it’s always the greatest thing I’ll ever do.

My dad taught me that anything worth having is worth working to hold. This ranges from earthly things to education. You name it. You have to work to get it. As a kid I saw my dad leave before daylight only to drag in way after the sun came down to put a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. He’d do this seven days a week for months at a time. One of my earliest memories is coming downstairs and sitting in his lap so we could watch Bugs Bunny together on one rare Saturday he was off. That taught me that memories are big extravagant things. They’re moments captured in time, and it’s up to us to hold them inside us for all time.

Like I said to start this, dads are there to inspire us. He should be our first hero. Before Superman, Batman, or Luke Skywalker, our dads should be the standard all those other guys must strive to be. My Dad might not be able to leap a building in a single bound, but growing up I sure thought he could. That’s how it should be. I wish all kids had a dad like mine.

Maybe not exactly like mine, but the perfect dad for them. My dad taught me more than how to work for what I want, and how to pray to God for those things working won’t get. That’s a dad’s job. All kids are born with the best and worst of two parents. I’m sure I have a lot of his habits that irritate me. It’s  probably why they irritate me. But, I also have the best parts of him. The parts he showed me while sitting on his lap, or working beside me on my old PoS car. Over the years my dad gradually became my best friend. The man I turn to for all the answers, even when he doesn’t have them. Again, that’s how it should be. I pray my daughter sees enough of him inside me to have learned some of the lessons I imparted without meaning to. Some of those influences aren’t that great, but thankfully some are. When I see her with my grandson, I know she learned the valuable ones. The same ones I learned from my dad. Love your kids totally and with every fiber of your being, even when they are behaving like shits.

Just to tie all this into writing and literature, which as a writer I think I should do at some point. When I look back on my childhood, I always see me and Dad reading together. He, more than anyone, gave me a love for reading that encompassed everything from the Old West to the pulp heroes like Conan, and John Carter of Mars to books about World War II. I even remember him writing on his own book, so writing isn’t just something that popped up out of nowhere. It comes to me naturally.

On this Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad for making me not only the man I am today but the person I am still becoming. I want to thank him for the butt whuppings I deserved, and those he slipped in just because. Believe me, I deserved more than I got. I want to thank him for the shootouts at the Old West corrals and for the stars I flew to in my mind. While I’m there, for the wild jungles and swinging through the trees. Most of all, I want to thank him for the love he never stops showing and for teaching me that showing love doesn’t make you less of a man. It makes you a man worthy to be called a Dad.

 

Til next week, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Be an inspiration to not only your children but to all the kids who see you as an example of what a man should be.

Happy Reading!

Believe! Writers’ Commandment #1

Last week we talked about ‘So, you wanna be a writer?’. This week, I thought it only a natural progression to say, ‘So, I’m a writer?’, which should be closely followed by, ‘What the fudge now?’. That’s a question I tend to ask myself more times than I care to admit to myself or anyone. At times writing is the easiest thing in the world to do. I mean, the imagination just flows out of you and paints the video across the page. Then there’s the other times. The times when your brain, imagination, and the ends of your fingers are at World War III with each other. That’s when a ‘writer’ is most likely to become a ‘reader’. Before we get too far into this blog, I’m going to spell out my intent.

So, you wanna be a writer? Never give up on you!
A good many people have asked me, ‘What is the most important thing you need to have to be a writer?’. What I wrote up there is it. Huh? Confidence in yourself. Do I need to spell it out for you? Apparently I do, or I think I need to spell it out. Either way, here goes.

 

I’m going to start out clichéd but that doesn’t make it any less true. If anything, it gives total validation to my statement. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Can you answer that? Does your answer begin with the word Yes? If you said yes to those last two without using the word but anywhere in the answer, I think you’re well on your way to becoming a writer. It’s up to you to become an author. We discussed that last week, so let’s not get sidetracked. That’s what Facebook is for.

It is so easy to listen to friends tell you how great you are. It’s even easier when experts tell you you’re great. Thing is, if you don’t believe it– right there in your heart–when those same people become indifferent or just stop talking all you have is that doubting voice in your heart telling you how you weren’t that good to begin with. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you hit that point, you’re not an author, writer or reader. You’re someone who’s not sure who exactly they are. At this point you can do the easy thing and just give up, and tell people years later about how for a little while you were a writer but grew out of it. Yeah, you can do that and forever live with that dull ache of all the imaginary worlds that will never be told. The heroes and heroines inside you will never go forth and become role models for whoever reads their stories. How easy does that sound? Knowing you have lives inside you that will never be lived all because you believed in things but never yourself.

OR!

You can struggle to find that part inside you that unlocks the imagination “YOU” are forcing down to some deep pit. Because you are the only one who stands between you and becoming the writer you always dreamed of being. Believe in yourself. Believe that all the awesome you wish you had DOES reside within your heart. Let it out and become a vision for others either through your writing or by telling this similar story about how hard it was to write but you didn’t give in. You believed in yourself and let others do the same. Become a hero or heroine to someone who thinks they’re all alone in these feelings. They’re not. At times we all feel unworthy or empty inside. Sometimes that might even be the case, but you shouldn’t let that voice dictate your life or your dreams.
I’m going to say something right now that might sound crazy but I’m going to say it anyway. I believe in you. I have never met you and most likely I never will, in person at least, but I believe that you hold inside you the ability to make others live lives in worlds only you can create. I believe you can spark the wonder of true love, knights going forth to battle, wizards waging wars against evil untold, spaceships flying into the void of space and coming back with races we’ve never even considered possible, and most importantly I believe you can do whatever you want.

Why?

Because I have friends who believed enough in me to never let me give up. Every time I wanted to walk away or hide, they were there telling me to trust in myself. I know I said up there only you can believe in yourself. That’s true, but you shouldn’t stop listening to the people who love you while you search inside yourself for your own confidence. Just accept yourself first then walk out among the masses and say here is my story. Come along for the ride and let’s see what’s over that next hill.

Take that ride.

Me? I’m still going on my own journey. Maybe, sometime soon we’ll meet again and tell our stories over the campfires of our dreams. Until then, Happy Reading, and never stop believing in yourself.

Jmo