Sunday, June 20, 2010
My dad died much too young, and it happened to be on a Father's Day. It devastated me and the rest of my (original) family which was already mired in a disaster of a different kind. I'm not going to get into any details, but it was a horrible time for us, and despite our valiant efforts to pull ourselves up and keep on marching, the combined events had a long range negative effect on all of our lives. I started writing as a form of therapy. It was my way of exorcising the demons of unfairness, cruelty, and devastation. It was good therapy, and as time helped heal, my writing somehow evolved into creating funny stories for kids. I guess humor is good therapy, too. This career I have is one I could never have predicted, and since things have turned out so well for me, I've had it pointed out to me that my successes in publishing (and consequently movies) would likely not have happened if I hadn't turned to writing because of the tragedies. In other words, I have my pain to thank for my happiness. I do think that hard times give a person empathy for others. I do think it makes us want to stop and help others, because we remember the people who took time to stop and help us. It makes us understand that the small things, the kind words, the just being there to listen are huge. And I do think that the way I write, the themes I choose, the characters I develop are rooted in the empathy I feel for others, and that that empathy is probably what makes my stories connect with my readers. So maybe there’s an argument to be made that I wouldn’t be here without the events of the past, but the simple truth is, I would trade all my successes to have a different outcome for my family. I’d give it all up to have my dad back.