What do you have in your someday box?
That thing that will happen someday.
When you’re rich enough, or smart enough, or skinny enough, or strong enough, or when you’ve got free time?
When the stars align, and the tide is right?
What’s in that box that you will magically open someday?
Mine's been stuffed away at the back of a closet collecting dust for probably 20 years.
A little voice saying "write, write, write," that I've mostly put on mute.
Part of the switch may have been due to what I call my "Come to Jesus on the John" moment.
Around Christmas time, we had finished processing that that nine-hundred-pound boar.
I was smoking meat on an outdoor smoker and testing it for doneness.
But not with a meat thermometer.
In hindsight, "What the bloody-hell-were-you thinking?" seems a fair enough question.
Anyways, it took about two days before the little vermin who crept out of hell and into my gut got going, but when they did, holy heck, did I shit. For five days straight. Like 25-30 times a day.
If you ever had to get completely undressed to go to the bathroom you might know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, no, you haven't "had that before". It went down down down and the flames they got higher. I started bringing my phone with me to the toilet in case I had to call 911.
It was a purifying experience. A deep cleanse. At some point in all that, through the pain and the visceralness of it all; I felt a shift. As though the stuff I was saying to me for so long - "the what would people think" and the "oh here comes a life of poverty, disappointment, and rejection" - didn't seem to matter anymore. I knew somewhere at 2 am, huddled over the toilet seat with the powers of Hades coming out of me that I was going to start putting my writing out there. I was going to take it more seriously.
It didn’t put me over the top as forceful as the conviction was. It didn’t give me the courage I needed to start for reals on the someday thing. I couldn't entirely open the box.
About a month later, I read the stories I have written for each of my five kids to a friend.
A fellow dad.
Now my wife has told me for a long while that mine are better than most other kids’ books on our shelves. But she’s paid to say that. So I didn’t have to listen. But this friend - he’s the type that can’t tell a lie if he tries (you might have one - and if you do, you should try to keep him). Well, I read a few to him - sort of trembling as I did as I was scared to have them see so much daylight - and he said,
“I get it. I haven’t seen stories like this. Where the dad matters, they’re good.”
Because he is such a lousy liar, I thought, “Hey, I might be onto something. It might be worth a go.” I was starting to unwrap the box but wasn’t quite ready to look at what was inside.
Bit by bit, I was working up to it.
The clincher came when I read "Hugs" by Robert Munsch to my two-year-old while putting him to sleep one night. The kid in the story tries a skunk, a porcupine, a snail, a gorilla, but then finds that a mommy hug is a just-right hug. Silas, the stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks cutie that he is, pipes up to correct the story and says, “no, a Daddy Hug is a just-right hug.”
“Fuck it, boys,” I says just then, “Let's ride.”
Not to him because he’s two, but pretty loud in my head.
It was time.
Dadding is about the best gig going.
We need more good dads in books and books about good dads.
I’m honoured to my core by all of you who have given positive feedback on this project. I know that you see it too - how kids and dads need stories where the dad matters.
Thank you!! To all who have supported the campaign so far - it means more than you know.
For all you who are thinking about it - someday. Might I be so bold to ask, “how about now?”
You could fund this project for all the kids wanting to see their dad represented in books.
For dads not feeling part of the story when it comes to raising kids, it might be good that you fund this project.
And because they’re pretty great books. And you’ll be able to get one of the first hundred printed, signed copies that you will be able to share with your kids, or a family with kids that you know; you just might want to fund this project.
Or perhaps it’s just because you like to see people opening their “someday box” and doing things that bring joy to them and those around them.
Whatever the reason, we’d all be ever so grateful if you would head on over to Kickstarter and join the campaign.