here in Dallas. Not the end-all hootenanny of hootenannies, I realize, but baby steps, I tell you. More stuff coming, too, so stay tuned. My plan to eventually install Schuyler as the Cyborg Queen of America is proceeding on schedule. Mwuh-ha-ha-ha...)
This week marked eighteen years since my father died. It wasn't exactly a sad anniversary; eighteen years is a long time, after all. It won't be long before I will have lived without him for longer than he was here, and not that much longer before I find myself having lived longer than he did. So I've had some time to come to terms with not just his death, but his life, and mine as well.
If you've read the book, you know better than others how many of my father's most egregious faults have become my own. I'm aware of them, and I've fallen prey to some but not all of them. I'm a better husband than my dad was, but not always by much (and fans of Chapter Seven know what I'm talking about), I'm a better diabetic by far, and while I have my father's temper, I watch it constantly and at the very least vent it in ways that don't hurt anyone. I'd like to do better with that temper, but I remember just how afraid I always was of my dad when I was Schuyler's age, and I won't allow her to feel that same fear, ever.
It's one of the reasons I refuse to spank/beat/whatever-word-you-like my kid, and to be honest, it's the same reason I don't think anyone else should, either. Who has the temperament and self-control to be trusted never to cross the line between discipline and abuse? You? Are you sure about that? I'd want to be pretty sure myself, but that's just me.
(Sorry, tangent. Settling down now.)
I'm working on a new project, and what started off as a book about fatherhood is turning into something more personal, sort of a fatherhood memoir, from my perspective as a father but also as a son. There are still other stories I am including, such as Paul and Gage Wayment, and Joseph and Rolf Mengele. But it's my own perspective as the father of a broken but extraordinary child and the son of an abusive but complex father that I find myself wanting, or perhaps needing, to explore.
I'm forty years old, and I'm working on a second memoir. How narcissistic is that?
Will anyone want to read it? Well, obviously I hope so. We'll see. I wasn't sure anyone would want to read about seven years in the life of a mute child, either. There are plenty of inspirational warm fuzzy fatherhood books out there. I don't know that the world needs another Tim Russert book, and if it does, I think Tim's probably got that one covered.
Eighteen years ago, standing at my father's graveside, I thought that perhaps I hated him, and that he certainly hated me. Almost two decades later, I know that I don't, and probably never did, not for long, anyway. As to how he felt about me, I find myself not much closer to that answer. He took that one to the grave with him. Which is perhaps just as well.