“What Do We Care?”

Oh, my dad.

Here’s why I love him. I was having a shitty day and I thought, “Well, this day can’t get much worse, I might as well call him up and tell him about the book.” And so I did.

And I said that it wasn’t autobiographical, but I was afraid people might take it as such and, well, the main character is raped by her Sunday School teacher and obviously I was not and he interrupted me to say “You have to write about what you know and you know about being a Methodist minister’s kid. Write your story how your story needs to be written.”

And I said, “Yes, but I just don’t want you to read it and think I hated my life” and he said, “What do we care?”

And I laughed in relief.

“We’re old,” he went on. “Your life is your life. Even if you hated it, it’s not our place to try to make you tell it different.”

“Aw, Dad, I love you.”

“Plus, you sound pretty confident we’re going to read it. Not if it’s any longer than your last one!”

And then he told me he was going to send me a story he wrote for me before my brother was born, so when I was one or two, about a little bird who wakes up to discover she’s a girl.

And I laughed and said I hope he’d left more good stuff like that in my subconscious, because I’m hoping to write more books, since I don’t remember that story at all, but here I am writing about girls who change into birds.

8 thoughts on ““What Do We Care?”

  1. I know! I about drove off the road. I don’t remember the story at all, but I feel like it must be in there, rattling around, right?

    I mean, that’s a pretty big coincidence.

  2. That’s wonderful!

    The library waiting list peristalsis finally brought me Deathless, and I am reading it after what you wrote about it, and birds are turning into men all over the place, whether or not people see them do it. So this is just a lovely recurrant image. (I personally would like to become a crow. But that’s just me.)

  3. Man, I’m glad this turned out this way. Soooo glad. Your dad can surprise me, you know?

    I think it was good to wait until May to tell him, though. This way you’ve got more of the other world on your side.

  4. You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about it, especially because of the disaster of Easter and I think he was just kind of relieved to be facing an old parent task–reminding your grown-up child that she has this and taking some credit for it (ha!).

    I forget that he is actually very skilled at some complicated facets of parenthood.

    And, ha! You know who’s not hearing about me writing a book about fucking the Devil? Any dead Methodists in my family.

    Holy shit.

    They would come back from the grave to raise a ruckus either of outrage or laughter. I’d never get any sleep.

  5. oh what a RELIEF. i have said a hundred times i can’t publish anything until after my parents are gone for this very reason. maybe i am also fretting for nothing.

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