Has it really been six years since I lost my father?
It feels like just yesterday. And the pain, though not as sharp as it once was, is still acute.
At the beginning of the year, when I was making my annual "writing goals for the year" plan, I specifically mentioned that I would pull my novel Morning Son back out of the drawer, give it yet another read-through and re-write, and send it off to a publisher. It has been a couple of years since I last sent it out for consideration.
Although I normally write horror, this novel is a contemporary tale of a man's quest to lay his father's ashes to rest. I wrote it in an attempt to face what had been a fear that had plagued me for much of my life -- the fear of losing my father. So in many ways, there is an element of horror in the story. When I was younger, I remember waking in a cold sweat, tears in my eyes and practically screaming because I'd had a dream that my father had died. It seemed to be the most terrible thing that could happen. And so, what I often do with my fears is incorporate them into a story. Of course, despite it having been an exercise in facing my fears, the novel is ultimately about a son discovering a new love for his deceased father as he uncovers hidden family secrets and learns much more about the man, many things he never knew while his father was alive.
A couple of years ago, I blogged about working on the novel Morning Son while on Manitoulin Island with my dad and cousin. One afternoon I shared a bit of the novel in progress with him, and though we didn't often have lengthy in-depth discussions (we preferred to just hang out in each other's company; not much conversation. Either we were goofing around and telling each other jokes, or we were just somehow comfortable in the silence between us), that afternoon when I'd shared a scene from the novel with him was one of the most wonderfully intimate moments we'd had when I was an adult.
Of course, I blog regularly about my dad. How could I not?
Just a few days ago, I pulled Morning Son out of the filing cabinet where it has been resting, and started working at reading it again and making some notes for another re-write. Then I can send it off to publishers again.
The experience of working on this novel, which is, in many ways, a tribute to my dad, is almost like having him here again.
Another St. Patrick's Day and another beer tipped in celebration of the man I still miss so much.
I love you, Dad.