Awhile back, I wrote a short story called Christmas Senses. It was just a little thing and something most people might not think was very worthwhile or “publishable”. I liked writing it though and it touched a nerve with me while I was doing it. The story is about a man who is blind and takes place on Christmas Day with his family. I decided to publish it though Create Space in print and in eBook. I put it out a little later than what I had planned which ended up being something like 2 weeks before Christmas.
Early last week before I went away for my weekend in Chicago I ordered 2 copies of Christmas Senses and 2 copies of my first novel Running Northwest. One of the copies of RNW was for a someone who ordered it and another was for a friend who bought the first edition, something I am very grateful for. One of the copies of Christmas Senses was for my 8-year-old niece. My first novel was too long and complicated for her to read at this point in her life. I thought she might like a copy of the much shorter Christmas Senses so her mom could read it to her and her and eventually she could read it on her own. Since then she was has been carrying it around with her like it was her own secret treasure. When I gave it to her, she looked at it and then saw my picture on the back cover and was like “Uncle Mikey, this has your picture on it” and tried her best to read what she could.
“I know kiddo because I wrote that,” I said to her.
Her eyes got huge. She knows I am a writer and knows that write books but she never actually saw one. Maybe she was not able to put two and two together I don’t know. Nevertheless, she said she was proud of me, which, coming from an 8 year old meant a lot.
Then something else interesting happened. Apparently, my dad who babysits my niece while her mom is at work happened to find it. A few days later dad and I were having coffee and out of nowhere, he says “I read your book”
I was confused…a little shocked and said “what book”. I was confused because my dad is not much of a reader unless it’s a kid’s book that he’s reading to my niece, a hunting magazine or a newspaper. He has not really expressed obvious interest in reading anything I write. It bothered me for a while prior to this especially when Running Northwest first came out. However, I understood it (heavy reading) just was not his thing and it was no slight on me….it’s just the way dad is.
“I read the little red book, with the dog on the cover,” he said answering my first question.
“Oh that’s cool, you read it too Kacey?” I asked
“No she was sleeping, I just read it alone,” he said.
I was shocked…completely shocked. So naturally, I asked, “what did you think,” but I wasn’t sure what to expect more than a simple grunt.
“It was good, you should have put me in it though,” He said.
Now, for anyone who does not know my dad (which is 98% you) you might be like what the hell, what is the big deal who gives a care If his dad read his book. My dad is one of those “men of few words types”. By him saying “it was good” was him actually saying a lot, and its probably something only I may get or maybe my sister. Dad has a hard time expressing emotion, always has and usually only tells me he loves me when I’m away on a trip…I assume this is because he thinks I might die.
To write something that would keep my dad’s attention for 25 or so pages is nearly impossible which is part of the reason I was so surprised. This is the same man who has only seen half of the second new Star Wars movie that he has on DVD, who cleans his shot and bow gun for hunting for fun and who takes 3 hours to do a 20-minute oil change….he is a master of taking his sweet as time lol.
For my dad to say “it was good” was the same for me as someone writing a 5-star, front-page review for Running Northwest in a newspaper like USA Today or something big. I know for many authors this is nowhere near the same and they may think I am FULL…OF…SHIT, but for me it really is a big deal. It was his way; the only way possible, perhaps for him really to express approval for my writing…that he understands and maybe even likes what I do.
It may never happen again, I could write five best-selling novels and he might not read single one. Especially since I am sure he is sitting in his recliner right now watching a re-run of 30-Rock while he is reading a newspaper that is at least a week old which was sitting next to him on the floor. I will take what I can get from dad…and appreciate it all the same. It is one of those little victories.