Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Am I a gifted writer? I don’t really think so. My blogging abilities do not necessarily mean that I am halfway decent at crafting a professional, structured, magazine quality article.
Instead, I see myself as a modern day philosopher who happens to be an engaging storyteller. In other words, if I’m good at anything when it comes to writing, it’s knowing how to be a captivating narrator.
Fortunately for me, I’m never short on material. I’m a dad; therefore, something new and exciting (and exhausting!) is always going on in my life. I laugh at the foreign concept of “writer’s block.” My journal is full of blog titles just waiting to be written. My only threat is battling “time block.”
I would say my love for narrating life has something to do with the second best TV show ever, The Wonder Years. (The best show ever is Lost.) I sort of grew up thinking that I was Kevin Arnold. As a kid, I looked like him and had the same mannerisms as him. Even today, there’s still a strong resemblance. I easily related to his sentimental and awkward life stories. And man, the soundtrack- Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Nick Drake…
But the strongest connection I always felt to the show was actually the narration, as performed by Daniel Stern. (Yes, Marv the Burglar from the movie Home Alone.)
The narration of each episode of The Wonder Years perfectly built on the idea yearning for the past. Unsurprisingly, the word “nostalgia” loosely translates from a Swiss word meaning “homesickness.” Another favorite TV show of mine that contains flawless narration is Scrubs, as done by Zach Braff, playing the character of J.D. Dorian.
In both of these sitcoms, there was always some understated lesson to be learned from life, as it pertained to the particular story being told. That is the exact format I keep in mind with every Dadabase post: Every story is ultimately summed up by some sort of paradox, revelation, or moral.
Since high school, I have been known as a guy who is “stuck in the past.” I guess it’s a necessary trait for me so that I can be engaging in my writing; it helps create a universal sense of familiarity.
Sure, I’m stuck in the past. But I’m forced to live in the present. And the present instantly becomes the past. So it all works out.
Right now, the most complicated phrase that my son, Jack, can regularly speak is “to-gaht, to-ghat, to-ghat, to-ghat, to-ghat…”. Therefore, I must do his talking for him, by telling his stories through my “grown up” perspective.
I am Jack’s life witness and adult voice.
I am Jack’s nostalgic narrator.
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase, Writing | Tags: Fight Club, journaling, LOST, narrating, narration, Nick Drake, Nostalgia, story telling, Swiss, The Wonder Years, writer's block
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
The word on the street is true. And we couldn’t be any happier about it!
Three weeks ago my Mexican grandma (who has always been very religious-superstitious) called my sister, saying, “Do you have something to tell me?”
“Are you sure? You don’t have anything to tell me?”
“Nnnnno…” (more hesitantly than the first time)
“I had a dream. I had a dream where I saw your grandfather in Heaven and he was so happy. He was pushing a baby stroller.”
In other words, my grandma assumed the wrong grandchild. She also told my sister about another dream she had where she saw “the most beautiful little girl in a rocking chair”. We’ll know in about eight more weeks whether or not that second dream is true.
Something I never realized about finding out you’re going to be a first time parent is that it has to stay a secret for a while. Long enough to make sure it’s not a false alarm. Long enough to confirm with a doctor. Long enough to get a sonogram.
We’ve known for over a month now. It’s a huge secret to keep from the entire world for that long. What a relief! Hey, we’re having a baby!
Expected arrival is on my dad’s 54th birthday: November 11th.
Obviously I’ve got a lot more to say about it all and I will continue to encounter plenty more as time goes on. Therefore, this is the first of many in my new series I call “dad from day one”. While it seems pretty easy to find material out there for expectant moms, not so much for expectant dads.
Expectant dads don’t encounter physical changes, but they do experience psychological ones. In this new series I will be journaling the whole process, from the time we found out we’re having a baby, until… well I can’t say until the baby is born because that’s only the beginning. And speaking of the beginning, when is day one?
Was it the day of conception? The day we found out? Today, the day I’m publicly telling everyone I haven’t already told in person or on the phone? I don’t know. Day One is the beginning of this new person I am becoming.
In the likeness of a TV show I’ve never seen but heard good things about, How I Met Your Mother, another goal of “dad from day one” is to create an archive for this kid to come. To show him or her what was going through my head during all this.
Eighteen years ago, I was given a blank journal by a classmate from school as a Christmas present. Inspired by my favorite cartoon show at the time, Doug, I remember my first entry:
“Dear Journal, I will be writing everyday so that in the future when I have kids of my own one day…”
Then I stopped. I embarrassed myself with the phrase “kids of my own one day” because it wasn’t the way I actually talked. It just seemed too weird. I threw the journal in the garbage.
Here I am 18 years later, seven months away from the big day. About to have a “kid of my own”. Let’s do this thing.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
Categories: People, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: conception, dad, dad from day one, daddy, dear journal, Doug, dreaming about pregnancy, expectant dads, first time dad, first time parents, having a baby, How I Met Your Mother, journaling, Mexican, mom, mommy, Nick Shell, November 11th, Porkchop, pregnancy, religious, She's Having a Baby, sonogram, superstitious, we're having a baby