I have wanted to be the next great American novelist for years.
I’ve enjoyed writing from the time I was a youngster. I’ve enjoyed the writing of greats like Orwell, Faulkner, Vonnegut, Salinger, Wilde and today enjoy greats like Pearl and Reverte. The problem is, even as a long time writer, I might only be good at writing about two things; being a dad and being a Buddhist.
I have not lived through a great war, a great depression nor a seemingly great moment in time. I did however manage to have my own existential crisis which came prettily packaged with its own near death experience.
What I came to discover was this brought two things largely into focus for me; my dharma practice and my role as a stay at home dad. So while I day dream about being nominated for a Pulitzer I am actually just writing about poopy diapers and missteps in mindfulness.
I speak to my daughter in dandyish diatribes about Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse. I wake up singing songs from Sophia the First and go to bed reading the Dalai Lama. To fill my day, I make mac-n-cheese (noni cheese according to my daughter) for lunch and draw Batman logos in sidewalk chalk. I find myself rocking back and forth in the grocery line, a learned reflex to calming down a screaming two year old.
I have given up trying to have any dignity while defecating.
I am now just a flesh-colored, smelly coloring table. This writer’s beard I have smartly grown…it’s really just because I am too tired to shave when I manage to sneak in a five minute shower.
So here we sit; you dear reader, me dumb writer. The child naps and I revel in the opportunity to pen (type) the greatest work of literary prose on why I couldn’t get the laundry folded from 10 a.m. yesterday morning.
I am surrounded by mountains of books.
My make shift library and writing desk are set up in my basement where an ever running dehumidifier keeps them safe. A bust of Plato on my left, the autobiography of writing extraordinaire, Christopher Hitchens’ is on my right; my feet bruised and bloodied from insipid little toys that were played with for all of 15 minutes before they broke or failed to keep her interest.
It’s 4:30 p.m. and I am still sitting in the shorts that I woke up in. I don’t think I have even brushed my teeth today but I have laughed, I have played, I have seen the wonders of the heavens in the shining blue eyes of a child and I got to watch last night’s Cosmos broken into seven sections of brief, “what happened last time I unpaused?”
It’s okay though. When I lay down tonight, I will read another section of The Poe Shadow and fall into a fitful sleep where I dream of accepting the Pulitzer from Big Bird.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Evelyn Giggles/Flickr