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child abuse, cycle of abuse, family, family rules, marriage, mental health

Writing the Great American Novel

My father has been a successful lawyer since he first opened up his doors to let people in the office.  He was very different to his clients than he was to anyone in his family.  It was a perfect facade for the people who worked with him.  He was Mr. Professional.  He never lost his temper at work.

He saved loosing his temper for his family.  Family were the people who should be cherished behind closed doors.  I have always said a true mark of character was what was done behind closed doors where no-one else could see. That’s the true test of character.  If it comes close to being the same out in public as it does in private, then you can be assured the man has a good character.

My father decided that having a thriving law practice was not enough.  He had a dream to write a novel, have it published, and be a world wide famous selling author.  It was a work of fantasy science fiction.  That’s all I remember.  In my young mind, writing this novel was the beginning of the dark times.  I have no good memories of this time period.

Before this my father was always reading to me.  He was often spending his down time with me.  I enjoyed the attention my father showed me.  But sadly, it was not to last.  Things changed rather quickly.  I was told not to bother my father when he came home from work.  I did anyway.  I learned to sit quietly and watch him scribble on his writing pad.  I couldn’t talk during these hours of writing.  I could just sit there and be quiet.

My parents both believed strongly in the saying that children should be seen and not heard. The less I was seen the better.  I was not heard at all.  It didn’t matter if I said anything or not.  They never cared on whit about what came out of my mouth.  It’s sad I’ve always known this from a very early age.  My parents wanted a pretty child who would just sit there, not say a word, and do exactly as I was told.  Sometimes I didn’t feel like being this child.  Sometimes that would get me into trouble.

I would start jumping on the bed as my dad was trying to write so I could get his attention.  I’m not sure what my young brain was thinking, because this opened up a very nasty can of worms for me indeed.  And herein lay a huge amount of my problem.  My personality can be a bit quirky and I sometimes like to stir the pot to keep things interesting and lively.  My parents didn’t appreciate this side to my personality.

This sometimes made things hard for me.  I would test the waters by doing things like jumping on my dad’s bed when I knew full well he was in a bad mood.  It was kind of like unleashing the Kraken.   This was not something you wanted to be doing without good reason.  Also this was something done knowing full well there would be consequences for doing so.

I was just crazy like that sometimes.  I’d start my father screaming at the top of his lungs and get his utmost full negative attention.  But at least I was now the center of his world and getting his full attention.  That’s just the way it worked in my family.

I did not like this book my father worked on for almost three years.  I hated it, in fact.  There was nothing good about it.  All it did was take away my father’s attention.  It also had my mother’s full attention as well since she was recruited for typing the manuscript.  Lucky her.  This was before the day of typewriters.  She had to type it all from my father’s hand writing.  This was not an easy task and the source of much parental friction during these years.  My mother resented being thrust into such a thankless task.  My father couldn’t understand her negative attitude.  An all around sticky situation.

My father’s book never did get published.  He sent it out to many different publishers and no-one wanted to publish his novel.  He considers this one of the great failures of his life.  I didn’t care.  I thought it was poetic justice from up above kind.

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About advocateformutiny

I will not be silent anymore.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Writing the Great American Novel

  1. I’ve just been to a talk by Deborah Moggach who wrote the novel on which the film The Great Marigold Hotel is based – the novel is called These Foolish Things. She said that writing a novel means entering into a different world and you have to shut out everything else – so perhaps thats what your father was doing. But many people find it difficult to fill all the roles they have, sometimes being a lawyer takes all your time as well.

    Posted by scribblingadvocate | April 12, 2012, 8:01 pm

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