Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Biggest Fan, My Dad...

Now, there's nothing inherently special about a parent being unequivocally bias toward one's child's abilities. Legends are made of fierce stage moms of mediocre talent everywhere. Perhaps because of this, I take for granted my father's genuine enthusiasm for my work.

Here is a typical telephone conversation I've had with my dad:

"I need a copy of that essay on ironing."

"Why, Dad?" I finally got smart enough to ask.

"Because Judy at the bank wants to read it."

While part of me is touched that my passion and efforts regularly surface in my father's daily tasks, the other part of me treads lightly. I try to explain that Judy at the bank really doesn't want to read my essay, that Judy at the bank finds my father charming and genuinely approves of his allegience to his daughter.

He takes this to mean that I have no self-confidence as a writer. He is offended that I don't think he has the ability to recognize quality writing. I don't believe this. My father has good taste. He also, as all good father's do, has a blind spot when it comes to his children.

So I've spent a fair amount of energy trying to resist this kind of attention from my father, as though accepting it somehow dimishes my credibility. Until I realized that there are many people who don't have this kind of support, who spend their whole lives soliciting their parent's approval. And so I surrendered to it. And it feels pretty good.

Just the other night, I'd dropped by my parents' to help my mom out with some tasks as she is still recovering from a broken leg (and who, also, it should be noted, is a proud supporter and good sport about being portrayed in print...) Dad walked in the door with a plastic grocery bag hooked over his arm. When I went to tell him that the new (614) magazine in which I had an article was out, he pointed to the bag. "I've got about seven copies already," and proceeded to stack them on the table.

A few days later he told me he had had lunch at Columbus Brewing Company. While waiting on a table, he saw two business men with (614)'s tucked underneath their arms being seated. He waited for them to get settled, approached them, and said, "Page 24," tapping the cover. He said he waited for them to finally turn the page, and continued, "My daughter wrote that."

I'd be a fool to not fully embrace this kind of support.

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