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I have a really cool writing buddy. I have several, really, but today you meet Dustin. You can read all the amazing turnings of her unique and wonderful brain at her blog  Oh, Dustin, but today she’s here with us. Look, right down there, there she is, writing away and what’s more so is her dad!  They are both finishing up their books for National Novel Writing Month

How cool is that! (It’s cool, trust me.) When she posted the picture this was the first thought I had,  “This would be fun if my dad and I could do this together too,” but that thought was followed by a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

Let me lay out some basics for you, before I really get into this any further. I love my dad. I love him and there are many things we do well together such as archery, horseback riding, making fun of other people, ganging up on other family members to prove a point, talking (daddy had his start as a salesman and I can talk my way into or out of pretty much anything; it’s sort of our super power.), and there are others, but you get my point. We connect, we bond, but sitting down things that require him to be quiet are not his strong suit and that is where we deviate from one another. That talking thing he does, he does better than I do, but I am able to internalize that power of spoken word and turn it into something else, written word. Words that tumble over a page and cover it in a blanket of  “other” that puts pictures in between the lines that move and dance and magically take you someplace you’ve never been.

Now, all of this got me thinking, “What would it be like to sit across a table from my dad, and begin the work of writing 50,000 words in 30 days or less?

Here is the theoretical first five minutes of that venture.

We sit down, each at our own side of a table, a wood table that is very square, and each of us arrange our computer  cords to hang off to our right. We both open a fresh, new, electric white word document and settle our fingers on our keyboards. I begin to write, not thinking about anything except the uncensored words sparking to life in the swirling center of all that is me and being organized into fragments, phrases, and sentences that are sent flowing down my spine and through my arms to the…

A foot kicks me in the shin, “How far are you? Whacha’ calling your book? Can I see it?”

I peer over my computer and straighten up from a slouch. Dad is sitting on the edge of his chair with his back straight and his fingers mockingly prim on the keyboard. I continue typing through the interruption though I do spare him a small amount of words and focus, “A paragraph in, dad, and it doesn’t have a title yet. There isn’t anything to really read, you should focus on your book.”

“How do you know what you’re writing if you don’t have a title,” he asks. “I don’t want to beat you just because you’re going about it wrong. What are you writing about? Is there magic in it? You like magic and beauty and the beast stuff, Is there a pony, you use to write about ponies.” he says. There have been no sounds of typing from his side of the table yet.

“No dad, there isn’t a pony,”

“You should add one, little girls love ponies. It can be a magic pony and there can be a talking clock.”

“This isn’t really a book for little kids, dad..a talking clock though, why?”

“Beauty and the Beast, there’s a talking clock in that.”

“I don’t know if there’s going to be any of that.”

“How can you write about Beauty and the Beast if there aren’t any talking clocks.”

I stop typing. “I’m not writing about…wait you know that Disney didn’t invent Beauty and the Beast right?”

“You better not call it that, Walt Disney will sue you.”

“Walt Disney died in the 60’s.”

“Mickey Mouse will sue you.”

“Okay dad,” I say, continuing to type. Dad may be right about the pony…maybe if I add a Celtic style water horse, the sort that tempts foolish people into riding on its back and the gallops off to the sea and drowns its victims…

“Let’s go get some coffee, you can’t write without coffee.”

I peer over the edge of my computer again. I look to my left. His coffee cup is empty. “I’ll just make you another pot, we have plenty of coffee here.”

“No, we need to get out and do something, it’ll get the brain juice flowing, maybe we can stop by red box and get a movie.”

“You know, dad, you don’t actually have to do this, it’s okay if you don’t want to,” I offer.

“Nope, I said I was doing this, I have the whole outline down already, I’m just organizing chapters now, where are you at? We need a break.” This is emphasized by both of his legs bouncing  rapidly under the table.

“It’s only been about three minutes since we started. You really don’t have to do this you know, I know it’s not a strong point…”

“I can do anything, and by the time you’re sleeping away all snug in your bed I’m going to be half way done, don’t you patronize me.”

“How about, we stop talking and start writing.”

“I told you, up here,” taps head again. “Don’t you want to know what I’m writing about?”

I put my hands in my lap. “What?”

“Synergy, it’s going to be all about the stuff normal people don’t ever think about, like all the little interconnected things that people don’t think matter, keep all the stuff in society from collapsing, it’s big in business, and you can’t own a business like I did and run an entity like our non-profit without picking up a few things.”

“Okay…so your book is about?”

“Synergy, how to think outside the box and really utilize one hundred and ten percent to give one hundred and twenty…”

“Dad, you can’t just type 90’s era business jargon. You’re not writing a 50,000 words motivational speech, you need a story.”

“I can write a story, worry about your own book.”

“I’m not worried, I think you might not understand…”

“Syntax, it’s all in the syntax.”

“I dare you to give me the definition of syntax.”

“Don’t order me around, I’m your father.” He focus on the computer screen.

“Okay then.” I go back to my work and decided if I have a death horse I might need a Selkie…”

“I”m hungry,” he announces.

“So eat”, I mutter, typing away.

“I’ll make us omelets, I bought a new egg pan, eggs are good for your brain, or yolks are…or the whites are, you can’t write without brain food.”

“Fish is brain food, dad,”

“I can fry fish in my egg pan, you don’t have to just cook eggs in it. I’m cooking all the time, your mom doesn’t have to lift a finger.” He crosses his arms and looks pleased with himself.

“That’s nice dad. Your synergy is waiting.” I say, and continue testing out names that sound like they would fit a Selkie.

“I can cook anything in an egg pan like this, it was expensive, but I got a great deal just because I ordered off of tv. You can get great deals there. You want to see how a master cooks with an egg pan?”

“Sure dad,” I mutter, not really paying attention.

“We have a whole turkey in the fridge, I bet my egg pan could cook that.” I stop and look up at him with a sigh, giving him my best, ‘I’m busy, are you really doing this?’ look. He leans forward and narrows his eyes, placing his crossed arms on the edge of the table. “I dare you to dare me to cook a whole turkey in an egg pan.”

I look down at the clock on my computer. Five minutes, we’ve been doing this for five minutes.

“How about we go get some coffee, dad,” I say, closing the computer. “and then I’m calling mom to see if there’s some medication you’re suppose to be taking that I don’t know about.”

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5 Comments

  1. Nice! I could totally see that happening as I read it 🙂

    • Thanks, Katie. I had to rewrite it multiple times to get it to really capture the entity that is my dad.

  2. That was so funny! Not for everyone, huh? My dad was actually schooling me while we were sitting there. I’m ahead of him in word count, but I must have a lot more hours into it because he was flying while I was fumbling.

    I get all of my literary nerdyness from him. When I was little he would read me The Old Man and the Sea and The Hatchet, and he would get a pad of paper and pen and write poetry with me. It’s so fun doing this with him now. He sends me blog posts and articles and quotes from other writes. We also have this nerdy thing going where we email haikus back and forth.

    It’s way fun. But you’re thing with your dad sounds way fun too 🙂

  3. You so nailed him! 🙂 Love it – too funny !!

    • Hmm, so let’s go have coffee BJ and multi task and write at the same time. You know writers have a way of exagerrating just a bit to make it more fun.. And PS, I,m taking all my medication plus red bull. 🙂 🙂


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