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My Father…the Cricket

Given my Mother’s Day dedication, I thought it only fitting to continue my praise on Father’s Day. People who have met my dad will probably agree that he is a hard man to describe. I can tell you, however, that he is my inspiration in many aspects of my life. For instance, his strength and dedication helped create the character Nicias in The Curse of Atlantis. My father is the only one I would want to stand by my side if I am in trouble. Advice? There is no one else. Nicias does not follow the crowd. He offers life changing advice and, while tough on the outside, his love is stronger than any challenge. He will fight to the death defending his family. I know, I know, this last piece is not realistic in comparison, but my father has “fought” for me in many other aspects of my life. As a teenager, I felt like the scared, insecure child that defines Pandora. I think the story of a father and daughter came due to the value I place on my own relationship. Many believe mothers should be close to their daughter, but I know it is just as important to have a strong relationship with my father.

Besides inspiring unforgettable characters, my father is my push through life. Geppetto had his conscience in the form of Jiminy Cricket. I have the same, only mine is a little louder and more forceful. This is good. Because for someone stubborn and content writing alone in a room all day, I need a kick into movement sometimes. The first kick was in the 7thgrade. I had been writing stories for my mother. I had just written a fifty page story about a killer who murders a prominent family and leaves behind a mystery. We were camping at the time I finished. I distinctly remember walking into the camper and seeing my father at the table reading. I don’t think I have ever seen my father read a book that wasn’t a textbook. English, I know, was not his favorite topic in high school. I, as the English major, had discussions with him about his lack of appreciation for Shakespeare. But, there he was reading my work and taking an interest in it. Why? Because he knew it was something that I loved.

After that point, my cricket was born. “Why don’t you publish?” He pushed me toward a woman writer who was a friend of a friend. He paid for creative writing classes she suggested. He even paid for and accompanied me to San Antonio for a writer’s conference where he talked to magazine editors and established contacts, trying to learn the mysterious business. When my first book was published, he was the first to place it in his office and sell it to clients. We even had a back and forth about who sold more books. I must admit that he is a far better salesman than I am. He helped set up newspaper interviews and even a TV appearance in Bisbee.

I don’t know if I would have seriously pushed for publication without him. I know I wouldn’t currently be pursuing the business without him. This is a cutthroat world. People come around proposing they know the best way to success. Others contradict everything someone else says. And, at least once a month, I hear or read from some author about how unlikely it is to be successful enough to make a living at the profession. I listen to this and marvel. I don’t know how other writers become NY Times bestsellers. I have to wonder if they have their own Jiminy Cricket kicking at their ear, telling them not to listen, to buck the system and force your way in if necessary. He looks out for me. Makes sure I don’t even consider giving up. People congratulate me on the things I have accomplished. I have come to accept their praise, but know, deep down, I would be nothing without the support of my family. Blood is truly thicker than water and I am lucky to have such an amazing support system behind me. I can only hope they will help me drive into dreams deemed unrealistic.