On Bastille Day, July 14th, My Biggest Fan passed away. He was 76.
When I started writing in late 2008, I wasn’t very good. I may not be very good now but I’m at least better. It didn’t matter. My Biggest Fan read everything I wrote. He read my short stories. He read my blog. He read all my books. He told me he was proud of me. As a new, green writer, that kind of encouragement meant the world to me.
My Biggest Fan was my father.
My husband always cringed that I sent my father stories that included menages with demons, robots, oral and anal sex, rimming, and every nasty word under the sun in addition to most mainstream sex acts. I took a more pragmatic mindset after an initial pep talk. I figured my father already knew about sex…at least I hoped he did when it came to my own existence. Judging from a pair of woefully short legs, a long face, green eyes and curly hair, I have nothing to worry about. Still, I get where my husband’s nervousness came from.
But there was an epiphany of sorts in being able to shoot off a copy of my latest book to my father. If I could send it to him, I could send it out into the world and promote it. I could continue to write the naughtier bits in the interests of writing a story that readers would enjoy and, yes, derive a tingle (or more) from. I love that I was able to get over that awkward hurdle with him. Now my mother? Not her cuppa at all and that’s ok.
I feel the loss of my father in many ways. We weren’t all that close when I was growing up. He was career military during Vietnam and traveled a great deal. He lived apart from us for a year and a half. A stern disciplinarian who grew up fighting and brawling (he was part Irish after all), he inspired more fear and avoidance at times than adoration.
He also had a fantastic sense of humor, loved to tell jokes, especially play on words types. While my mother had a greater fondness for the ridiculous (so you can blame her if you find it in my stories), my father’s humor and storytelling leaned more toward intellectually witty.
He was a music lover, his tastes cultured, eclectic and even somewhat avant garde. Classical, jazz and folk were his favorites. Simon and Garfunkle, Booker T and MGs, Joan Baez, Walter Carlos, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and Bob Dylan were early household favorites before mainstream America embraced them. Those didn’t even come close, however, to his love of Vivaldi.
Though he was too poor to go to college, he was intelligent, clever and good with his hands. Broken appliances and household repairs never stymied him. That’s how he earned his living after he retired from the military. I once asked him what he would have been had he not grown up so destitute (salt and pepper sandwiches anyone?). His response? A physics professor. Wow. And he could have, too. He remembered the basics from his high school physics class and applied them in everyday life and in his jobs.
Alas, my father was a heavy smoker from his early teens until the last year or so of his life. If there’s a preachy message to be derived from my post, it’s please don’t smoke and stop smoking if you do.
Dad, if you’re reading this, I miss you and love you. I found your Kindle today and noticed you were 78% finished with my latest release. What a nice surprise! I have two books coming out next month. Wild West Succubus releases August 19th and my story, Slave Driver, comes out in the His anthology sometime in August as well. I’ll send you copies, but you might have to step outside the pearly gates for a bit to read them. I’m sure they’ll let you back in though.
RIP Dad, 4/19/37 – 7/14/13