Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Supposed Worst Critic

Well allow me to explain some backstory first…

I am almost 30 years old, I’m divorced and am raising two kids on my own. My father has been my worst enemy and my best friend depending on which section of my life I’m referring to. He admitted (even if only just tonight) that out of me and my three siblings, that he has always been the hardest on me because I am the one that is most like him in all the struggles he sees in his own life.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my father dearly, this is not a slam session or a woe is me tale. My father while yes, being a hardass is his strong suit, has a heart of gold and I’m reminded now more than ever that if I ever need anything he is a phone call away and would drop everything to help me, just as he would any of us kids. He is very opinionated both in his views on everything but mostly politics and religion. I was raised in a strict Baptist home with very fundamentalist values. So it was with a very big apprehension that I started my first book on the subject and with the content I did.

Allow me to explain. My book, titled The Devil’s Angel, is about a vampire with a very close relationship with the devil. All these things alone brought cringe factors when I would think of talking to my dad about it.

For reasons I can’t explain I have ALWAYS sought my Dad’s approval, when I didn’t feel I could get it I would do the exact opposite and go for him to disown me. But through all my childish stubbornness, he is still my father and his opinion is very important to me.

The entire time writing, through various dialogues between the main character and the devil, I channeled my father’s teachings. All the things he taught us growing up about how the devil would be was thrown into the character as I see him, but at the same time a nagging fear grew inside of me of the backlash I would feel from Dad reading my book.

Well 3 weeks ago I printed out the first draft and gave him a copy. He has been the only person I haven’t really followed up on about if he read it or not. Because I figured if he didn’t say anything about it, he was biting his tongue so as not to crush my hopes and dreams because he hated it and thought I was morally corrupted for writing such sinful filth. ;)

Last night, and then during another conversation tonight, my assumed worst critic boosted my ego to the point of bursting.

My father works overnights, gets off work at 7am, comes home, listens to Jimmy Swaggart for a bit and goes to bed. He sets an alarm to be up at 3:45 to be able to watch Glenn Beck and goes back to bed for a few hours after. Anyone who knows him knows you do not call between 4 and 5pm because he won’t answer, if you stop at the house, you can only speak to him during commercials. That is how much he LOVES Glenn Beck.

He finally pulled my book out Monday night and took it with him to work and read it on his dinner break, read on his other break and for awhile when he got home in the morning on Tuesday. He then proceeded to pick it up before Beck with every intention of putting it down when it started. He missed most of the show, barely following along because he wanted to finish the book! *insert squeals of excitement*

Now my father told me that because he’s always felt he had to be harder on me and keep me grounded I guess, that he was, no offense, not that hopeful. He figured there would be a lot of loopholes, with it being my first book and all, but he knew eventually I would ask if he’d read it so he wasn’t going to lie and say he had if he didn’t. He said if I don’t bust my ass and get published it will be the worst mistake I’ll have ever made. He is proud of me because he didn’t think I had that kind of talent and while he’s not a literary critic, and he is my father, he felt intrigued enough to keep reading and couldn’t put it down.

So it just goes to show that my own fears were unfounded, and that my worst critic turned out to be my best.

So all of you writers out there, who have you been most afraid to share your work with?

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