Drama Club: Message in a bottle

Why do I write? The question becomes really important now that three copies of my memoir are setting on my parent’s porch. One for mom, one for dad, and one for my sister Candra. A book cover with two boys kissing in front of the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple. All the details I’d hidden from my family during high school – details about love and sex that have been only half-explained over the years are now in print ready for them to peruse 

How will they react? Will it embarrass them, make them proud, or some mixture of each? Since they are in it, I wanted them to see it before the rest of the world starts reading it.  

As if the rest of the world is going to read it. There’s that too. More fear. The fear that no one will want to read it.   

So why do I write? One word: survival.  

It was a solace when I was a teenager and continued through the tough years of my young adulthood. Putting pen to paper (that’s what we did back then) conjured magic. The angst inside my heart became lighter as words fell from my pen onto the paper. I felt legitimized and relevant. It was a message in a bottle to a distant future, a place where people were allowed to love who they love and be honored for expressing their passions for art and beauty. 

The message made it. I’m here. And after a phone call to my parents letting them know the books are waiting for them – even as they drive back from their time working in their local Temple – I know, and more importantly, I feel the unconditional love I had hoped against hope would be found if I just wrote it all down. Let’s hope they feel the same way after they’ve read it.  

Our Father

Dad’s been in the hospital for a week now, and even though he wants me to wait, something inside me yesterday said, just go now. As the plane descends into the plains of my native region (Nebraska born, but KC, MO is close enough culturally juxtaposed to WeHo) I’m feeling more happy to go “home” than I have in decades. 

This serious illness has brought into vivid clarity how much I love and appreciate the man who raised me. For two years I was one of his two boys as he did the work of a devoted and loving single dad. Not once during my 51 years of life has he ever cited his efforts and sacrifice. Not even when I was railing him with lists of reasons I’d judged him a failure as a parent.   

We were both lucky to live long enough to grow and let go of what separates and focus on what brings us together. Love.   

Now my sister will pick me up at the gate (almost nearly, it is the KC airport) and we will revel in our father’s goodness and scheme on how to keep him healthy so that he’s here with for as long as possible.