Friday, November 30, 2012

Filled Under:


This is what I am hoping to use as the Prologue to my book. What do you all think? Do you understand what I am saying about the book being flawed because my memory is flawed? Do you think that the descriptions of the emotions I felt around my father are enough to establish what he meant to me as a child? I know that many of you read this blog, but few comment. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this one. 

…memory is at best, a faulty warpy reservoir.
John Steinbeck
I want you to know that this book is flawed because my memory is flawed. I never realized this until I started writing. Until my memories were words on the page that others could read and respond to with the age-old argument, “That’s not how it happened. I know. I was there.”
I can say honestly that I tried to stick to the truth as best I could, but sometimes, like you will see later in the book, my memory disagreed with the memories of others. What I have tried to do is balance my memories, with the stories I’d been told, while being honest about the distinction between the two. The reason I am telling you this is because, whether faulty or not, these are the memories and stories that have shaped my life. Like a storm in in Mason jar, my memories rattle around in my head, and this book is my attempt to make sense of them. This is the best I can do. I hope it is good enough. 
I learned a lot while writing this book, but most of all I learned that my father lived a squandered life. But this story is not about him. It’s about me. How much I loved Dad and how his absence impacted my life more than his presence ever could have. How I searched for someone to replace him, but couldn’t. How I longed for him to be in my life and yet feared I might one day follow his example.
Dad began abusing prescription drugs at thirty-eight years old. I was seven. My memories before that time are foggy at best, and I suppose that’s what made writing this book so challenge. How can you understand my loss without understanding what I had?
 When I think about the love I had for him, I have a difficult time pining down many happy stories from the time before his addiction. What I remember best are emotions. I remember feeling safe around him. I knew that he was there, ready to protect me. I remember feeling loved by him. I remember holding his calloused hand as we walked through the grocery store, or our chapel, or along the shores of the Provo River, feeling confident that he was there to lead me from A to B, and I assumed that his open hand would always be there. I remember his husky laugh that came from deep in his body. How it excited me, how I laughed along with him even though I didn’t know what we were laughing about. I remember the way his whiskers tickled my face when he hugged me on a Saturday, and how sweetly his aftershave smelled on weekdays before he left for work. When he tucked me in at night, I felt warmer, safer, better about everything. On his shoulders, I was the king, the tallest in the family, my view of the land was my view of the world, and I was ready to take it on. And when I sat on his scuffed leather work boot, and Dad struggled to hobble around the house, sliding his leg forward with a jerking motion, I felt the exhilaration of a rollercoaster. Leaping into his lap was as comforting as a warm bath, and waking him at night was not only acceptable, but welcomed, his weary eyes granting me the comfort I needed to fight off the monsters beneath my bed. He was my father; he was my guardian; he was my model for masculinity and family and God. He was everything I wanted to come home too and everything I wanted to become. 


Hattie Revis said...

I'm new, so forgive me if this is covered in a post that I haven't read yet, but is the book about what you went through with your Father and your book “This is why we can't have nice things one & the same? Or is this a different book?

Clint said...

Hattie: Wow! This is a really old post. This was from a book I wrote sometime ago, but couldn't publish. The book I have coming out is about being a dad now. This prolog is from a book about my father.