Why Dad is one of my writing heroes

My dad as a young man

My dad as a young man

I’ve said several times I don’t try to impress anyone, but there are a few people in this world whose good opinion of me (and my writings) I treasure dearly. That’s been on my mind lately, and as I’ve reflected on the people that matter most to me, my thoughts keep flowing to my dad.

He and my mom are alike in important ways: they seek with all their hearts to serve other people, they make a point of befriending the friendless, they’re loyal to their families and kind to everyone they meet.

These examples have had a huge impact on my writing. I enjoy writing most when I know it’s going to cheer someone up or inspire someone or just help someone relax.

That said, there are some ways Dad has influenced my writing that I don’t think anyone else could have done.

  1. When I was young, Dad read fiction–mostly western novels by Zane Grey and Louis L’amour. Although I never really did get into western fiction, I picked up the books enough to get the feeling of the plots behind them. These are my first memories of thinking about and trying to understand plot structures. My thoughts were completely unsophisticated, but they deepened my curiosity. I learned to love learning about (and trying to create) a good story line.
  2. Similarly, my dad read a lot of nonfiction. Not because he had to–because he wanted to. For years, I didn’t understand that. Now I find myself buying and devouring more nonfiction books than fiction books (I downloaded about 20 textbooks to my Kindle for PC lately) simply for the joy of learning. I feel a deeper connection with my dad because of it.
  3. About a year ago, I took a difficult assignment that required me to compare North Dakota’s oil fields to the oil fields in another state (where, coincidentally, my dad used to work). He did something completely in character for him. In order to make my writing life easier, he spent an entire afternoon teaching me what he knew about the oil industry. That afternoon is a specially treasured memory.
  4. Most recently, Dad boosted my lagging confidence with a simple question: “What have you been writing lately?” And my heart soared; he cares about what I write, and that makes a lot of difference in how I view my own work.

It’s not that dad writes. It’s that he helped me love a variety of writing. Very occasionally, I even love my own writing now. I’ll always be grateful for his influence.


3 Comments to “Why Dad is one of my writing heroes”

  1. Wonderful guiding hand, your dad. Nice tribute. (best part he is still coaching you)


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