Some time ago, I wrote that To Heighten is to Love. And that is certainly true. But, alternatively, to heighten is also to dislike, and to forget. Sometimes, to get it out on the page is necessary, as a form of catharsis. It’s bottled up, your chest tightens and the blank page in front of you is your means to relinquish that control.
I don’t hate my father. But I dislike many facets of him. To write about him, or aspects of what he represents, is inescapable; or inescapably a part of who I am, what I know, like an old tape that runs over and over and over again. As such, to repress the feelings and thoughts surrounding him is, at the very least, unhealthy.
I attended a book signing of author Melissa Hart’s new novel Gringa just the other night. She read a chapter from the novel and stayed to field questions. During this Q&A period, my fiance brought up a good point: preceding the question of why and for what reason the author chose (quite understandably) to take no part in her father’s life, Critter commented on the familial pressure to remain a part of that person’s life, just because they are a part of your “family.”
Is that so?
Is there not pressure, whether it be from society or from family or friends, to remain in touch because that person is of your blood?
I think so. Critter is right about this. If an individual in your family brings you nothing but pain, what purpose is there to remain; what purpose is there to stay close? Is the fact that he is your father enough?
No. But there is a stigma surrounding this topic. One feels- I have felt- almost guilty for not choosing to be a part of his life. In my personal life, my father has brought me so much pain and heartache. It doesn’t seem rational or healthy to attempt a relationship with an individual who is an embodiment of the negative facets of your upbringing, your history.
Yes, he will always be my father. And yes, he has provided me with much. But does that erase the largely negative perception of a father and husband I had been dealt? Not in the slightest.
Alasdair struggles with this question. Does he make the decision to call his father or not? Is that important to him?
Perhaps, in the end, he does call. Perhaps, though, he doesn’t. He sees that there’s no change looming, and that saddens him to no foreseeable end.
Father, if you’re reading this, you’ve brought me much pain, much heartache. I hope that you will find a way to bring about joy- in the lives of your family and friends.
I’m taking a bit of a break from writing the novel this week. I’m a bit under the weather and the medicine I’m taking is making me groggy. Keep reading the blog though. And be well.
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