My dad liked to talk about science fiction stories he had read.
Usually, I thought up a great idea for a story and he would say,
“That one has been done before.”
I would feel disappointed, let down, and it would be difficult to keep listening
As he sipped his Black Coffee
And told me about another one of his favorite Sci-Fi Books

My dad wrote his own story once
And told me about it
He would take these coffee breaks at work and think up ideas
The problem was the stress of the 12 hour day was affecting his mood
He was depressed and it was affecting his writing

My dad explained how he’d written himself into a corner
“Things were different then. I was using a manual typewriter.”
“Once my story stopped, there was nothing for me to do.”

As an excited child
I asked
“But couldn’t you have backed up and rewritten it?”

Dad shook his head
“No, it was far too done to do anything about it.”
“I thought I was a writer once, but writers write.”

I thought about this for a moment
realizing my dad had accepted defeat too quickly
He never tried to write again
And continued to reread his favorite science fiction stories

My dad also had opinions about the great American writers
I’d say something like
“Hey dad, I just finished reading The Old Man and the Sea.
Boy, Hemingway sure knew how to describe the shadow of greatness in an old man.”
My dad looked at me with sad eyes,
“Hemingway blew his brains out with a shotgun,” he said.
“That man didn’t know how to write to save his life.”
“Now Robert Heinlein was a great writer until he became a pervert.”
“If you want to read something good, you should read Starship Troopers.”
“I have a copy of it in the back garage.” 


5 thoughts on “My Dad Wrote a Story Once

  1. ….and yet, he was also offering a perspective and teaching something very important; what it looks like to stop believing in that creative spark within. I am happy I read this reminder and thank you for writing it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have just discovered some of your work here, and I picked out this poem to read based upon the title. I especially like that part about your Dad writing himself into a corner because he was using a manual typewriter. I think I had something similar happen to me many (far too many) years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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