Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

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.

19 comments:

Pooja Dimba said...

Wow. That was really cool.
I like how you chose writing as your therapy. I do that a lot when i have a rough day, because the paper doesn't talk back like a parent.
This was a great blog post! :-)

Pooja Dimba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NewYorkAngel said...

I love my dad. I'm sorry that you're dad died when you were so young. He would've been proud of everything that you've accomplished in life. Writing is good therapy. I just don't like writing for ASSIGNMENTS. Those are the abslolute worse. And I looove humor and comedy. I know that they're the same thing but I still love it (them). It makes everything seem so bright and cheerful.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

PD & NYA: Thank you for the comments. My friend (and former student) also said that my dad would be proud of me. It made me all teary-eyed. It's a nice thought. So thank you.

Ayushi Sangoi (CLFL #1) said...

That is so sad that your dad died on father's day. i would be devastated if that happened to me. it is nice that you use writing as a therapy for your sadness. i like to write, just not for assignments. i hate doing that.
i love your humor and comedy books.
as of now, i am reading runaway again
next i will reread flipped and confessions of a serial kisser.
thanx - u are the best for being such a wonderful author
PS - hope the next book in sammy keyes is coming out soon because i am dying for it
cant wait for the ones after that to come out too
:-)

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thanks Ayushi. I agree about assignments. They frustrated me a lot in school. I didn't get that my teachers were trying to help me. I thought they were trying to torture me!! :-) SK&the Wedding Crasher will be out Oct 12. I'm working on #14. I think it may be (and you heard it hear first!) SK & the Night of Skulls. That's the working title, anyway.

Pooja Dimba said...

Whoa. The title for SK14 is really cool. Wow.
Thats really cool! Cant wait till October 12!

Optimistic4ever said...

I'm so sorry about your dad! I agree with NewYorkAngel. Your dad would be really proud of you. Can't wait for the newest Sammy Keyes.

NewYorkAngel said...

OMG! The Night of Skulls??!! One sec, I think my heart stopped beating. Wait...okay, I'm better now.

sammy4ever said...

wow, that was so inspirational, and heart breaking, and touching at the same time. i am so sorry for your loss. it really does seem unfair that your father had to die young and on Father's Day!
like people have already pointed out, he would be proud of your work.

Purple Monster said...

Like you, my dad died when I was younger. I was two years old. It's sad since I don't remember him that well, and I feel like I never had a dad. Like you, I also turn to writing.

Ali said...

Hi!!

Jinnyd said...

Writing is wonderful. For so many things. (sidenote: could it help improve shyness?)

But the people you love will always be with you in your memory--the rememberence of them keeps them alive inside of you. And plus memories are also good for many things.

xxCammyLoverxx said...

I realized I haven't commented here yet. And that's pretty sad, I'm sorry about your dad. When I hear about things like that it makes ne grateful and realize how easy I actually have it. You know when sometimes you gettha feeliggs that you have the worst life in the world? It's never true, I can name a million reasons I'm lucky to be me, and your writing for therapy really is probably the sane reason I write. For me, there is a reason for everything. I didn't just "start" a personal blog because I "wanted" one. I don't like Sammy Keyes for no good reason. I started my blog because I needed to write about everything somewhere, but for some reasons, writing journals frustrates me. I can't be content with no one else knowing how I feel, I need at least one more person to understand. And on my blog I write a LOT of personal things there, some things which I probably shouldn't, but then if I didn't pt everything it wouldt be as real to me... Probably the reason why I'm so "loyal" to that blog. (Over 140 posts..). And the main reason I prefer the Sammy/Casey pairing isn't just because I hink Casey is "cool". Okay, it's one of the reasons but it's also because it's just so much more realistic than, I don't know, a sparkly Edward Cullen who is all of a sudden "madly in love" with Bella the minute she moves in. One minute he's all, "Dont talk to me" and the next he is "I would die for you Bella". Besides the fact that he is a little too perfect. There is only so much perfectness one can deal with. The reason I like the Cammy pairing is because it's relatable. I mean, what girl alive can say she fell in love withheld most gorgeous guy on the planet the minute she saw him and he did, too? Bella and Edward are so unrealistic. Basically, I admire more realistic feautures in a book/movie/song/story because it's, well, relatable. That is all. I am starting to rant again, I just really liked this post... Because it was very relatable. :P wow I an a strange one. Have you ever heard "Therapy" by All Time Low?

NewYorkAngel said...

Hmmmm. Maybe THAT'S why I like Cammy beter than Twilight. I never thought about it.

Cammycrazygirl said...

Okay excuse my grammer becuz i'm on my itouch, but it is actually common for pain to inspire people if you can call it inspiring. I hope that that wasn't offending or something but you have all these famous people who got their jobs by heartbreak and all these other events. You know, singers write their songs according to some events that have happened to them. Authors find a good plot of a book becuz they had an experiance like that. Oh great I have to go...sorry that your dad died when you were so young. I would give everything to have some things back too.

Cammycrazygirl aka Kelly said...

And if you can compare cammy to Edward and Bella, you have to be mentally insane. Cammy wins, no competition.

xxCammyLoverxx said...

Now that I remember, I once posted a post on my personal blog called "Pointless chicken soup for the pointless soul" and it was about how for me, writing is my "chicken soup". Personally, real chicken soup isn't comfortig at all to me -!; neither are the Chicken Soup books. Just another thig to add to my Things I Hate list, right next to Edward and his Edward-y sparkly creepy-ness.
And yes, anyone who thinks reading about some stalker vampire who sparkles and is supposedly a "vegetarian vampire" (give me a break) and watches the girl of his dream at night through her window, and even OILS her window so he can get in her room at night... Anyone who thinks THAT is better than Casey, is insane. I mean.... I'd rather not have a glittery vampire oil my window and watch me at night. I'll stick with the rusty horsehoes, thankyouverymuch!
(Is listening to "Time to Pretend" by MGMT. They have some serious issues, but then again, so do 3OH!3... I think it would he if 3OH!3 appeared in the SK books. Can you just imagine? Wow this calls for a fanfiction...! An OMG I should involve Tyson Ritter from The All-American Rejects, and Sean Foreman and Nat Motte from 3OH!3 and and and and Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low and PETE WENTZ FROM FOB!! And who else? Gabe Saporta from Cobra Starship? And maybe I'll include Justin Bieber, who will not be loved. Or maybe... I'll.... Include.... MYSELF. I think I'm going to go write now.)
Ps, everyone- ignore my ranting, I take up too much space in this world with my constant babbles....

Cammycrazygirl said...

My babble scares the crap out of everyone around me, so don't worry ;D