With less than a week to go before my media panel in New York City, it occurred to me the other day that I don't actually have a very good idea what I'm going to say. That's fine, really. I'm sure I can wing it for the most part. But the obvious question is one that I'm not sure I have an answer for. Not an answer in words, anyway.
"Why am I writing this book? Why did I write about Schuyler in the first place?"
This book isn't the dreary Tragedy Dad book I was afraid it might be when I started. I mean, obviously parts of it are, but I've managed to strike a balance between shaking my angry fists at God and telling fart stories. But if there's a theme to my book (and God, I sure hope there is), it might be best summed up by the blurb on my agent's page (minus the parts about how swell I am):
Schuyler’s Monster is a beautifully written, poignant, humorous, touching and ultimately uplifting memoir of a special needs child who teaches a man full of self-doubt how to be the father she needs. (St Martin’s Press 2008)
From the very beginning, and not just in my writing but in everything I do for Schuyler, even when I fuck up, I do what I do because her story deserves to be told. I may not be able to do everything for her, or even all that much, but I can be her advocate, and I can tell her story.
One thing I don't want this book to be is the story of her disability. I mean, of course that's what it's about; the book isn't named after Schuyler, it's named for the devil in her head. That's the reality of her life, and perhaps cynically, the reality of selling her story to a publisher and to the world.
But if I do my job correctly, the Schuyler you come to know through my writing will be the one you see above. And as difficult as her life might be, now and particularly as she gets older, I still see that Schuyler most of all on any given day of our lives.
When you can laugh like that, talking seems less important somehow.