I have always thought my dad was one of the luckiest people I know. It’s certainly not because his life is perfect seeing as how he continues to compete with Elizabeth Taylor in his search for wedded bliss despite numerous failed marriages. No one who knows him would say he has had a stress free life. Besides his love-life turmoil, he has been to war, raised several book-worthy rebellious children and lived through a ten year company strike in which he started and grew a flourishing business only to have one of his business partners literally run away with all the money. It is none of the immediate things you think of when you are evaluating someone’s life and concluding he or she is charmed.
The luck comes from the fact that even though his job as a pilot threw him a few loops, like the strike, missed family holidays, crazy sleep schedules, and prolonged periods of simply being absent from home, he loved his job. He had a passion for flying and he was able to live that passion out every single day for forty years. I think part of the reason he stayed optimistic in his personal life was because he garnered so much joy from his career.
About ten years ago while I was visiting him at his lake house which contained many of the luxuries flying had enabled him to purchase, I asked him if he loved to fly because the money was so good. He’d been strumming on his guitar, singing a Willie Nelson song, but my question put a frown on his face and stopped his nimble fingers in mid-stride. He told me something I would never forget, something that enabled me to say goodbye to my eight to five job and pursue my own passion of writing.
Dad said he flew because it made him want to get up. He flew because it was in his blood. And he flew because not to fly was unthinkable. Apparently, as children are apt to do, I had romanticized the early years in his career when the job had not paid so great, and he had struggled something fierce just to make ends meet.
After the visit with my dad, I went back home, but I never forgot our talk. The other day one of the women in my critique group posed a question on her blog that asked why do you write. That long ago conversation with my dad came to mind, and I thought immediately that I write because I love it, but then I sat down and really looked inward, wondering was this really true. I’ve definitely had my shares of ups and downs so far in this business, and though I’ve sold some short stories I have yet to get THE CALL for one of my full length manuscripts.
Sitting in my kitchen with my beloved cup of coffee, I asked myself if am I writing for the call or because I really do love it. The answer was immediate and swift. I love to write. It’s my passion as flying is my dad’s. Even with this answer, I wondered honestly if I would continue to write even if THE CALL never comes. When I woke up this morning the first thing I wanted to do was sit down and write the next chapter on my current work in progress.
Writing is the food that feeds my soul, and I don’t think I will ever give up the journey since the characters and stories keep popping up in my head and won’t be quiet until they have their moment to shine on paper.
So I suppose this blog is dedicated to my dad who showed me one sunny, summer day that one of the luckiest things in life is to find and pursue your passion.
The Marchioness of Mayhem