My father reminds me to remain. When his mileage grows further than my eyes can reach, I press yellow post-it notes to borrowed walls to remind myself what to do.
Exist. Write. Nourish. Be kind. Be patient. Be present. BE.
When I ask my students why they write, a list of words unravel off their tongues reminding me how necessary it is to even question this process of documentation.
I write because it keeps me here.
My father is a novelist. I can say this now because he spent many years curving his back toward various computers, writing words down. Amidst the stress(es) of life, he found time to accumulate over 70,000 words into organized chapters and plot twists. A writer writes.
Each time we speak, he asks me how my writing is going. Am I sending work out? Am I broadening my audience? This check-in reminds me my purpose.
I remind my father that he keeps me here too. As a writer, I have grown accustomed to being so enclosed within my thoughts, it has created a distance inside me. I can reveal all my secrets on stage, but that is because they have already been written down. In person, I am zipped-up; this can be a lonely existence.
My father reminds me how I used to be. Before ______. And before _______.
When I was younger and my hair was yellow and soft, we used to listen to old radio shows, barter at garage sales and hoard other people’s junk. My body was less creased, less angry; there were far less stockpiles of scars on my skin. It’s difficult for me to recall that human that once was me.
My father reminds me that there is still happy in me; I just need to be open to rummaging a little.
I remind my father that there is still peace in him; he just needs to be open to some rummaging as well.