Father's Day · 5:05am
To write stories, I have to understand human nature, observe closely, and pick up subtle details in the things people say and the way they interact. I could take any of my characters and tell you what they wanted, what their strengths and weaknesses were, how they felt.
But if I'm so good at that, why is my father such a mystery to me?
I realized, while struggling to write a Father's Day letter, that I understand even the minor characters in my shortest stories better than I understand my own father. I don't know what he wants from life. I don't know what he cares about most. I don't know what he thinks of me, or if he thinks of me. I don't know if what he has shown me is a mask, or his true face. I don't know what his story is.
Every Christmas, I buy gifts early for everyone else, but end up buying him a sweater, or Christmas sausages and smoked cheese, or some other generic gift. No one in my family ever knows what to get my father for Christmas.
I can't recall him ever complaining about anything. Shouting, yes, but never complaining. Sure, he could get angry. But he never told us if anything was really bothering him, or disappointed him. Or that he was really looking forward to something. I don't know if he was trying to protect us, or if he just didn't think about things that much. He was always quick to make a joke out of everything, but I don't know why.
In my stories, everyone has a motivation. I try to discover how to sympathize with everyone, even the villains. But I've never discovered how to sympathize with my father. I don't know his motivation.
if I were writing a story, I could imagine that he was holding himself distant, hiding behind puns and forced grins. because of some deep insecurity that could be resolved by a dramatic experience or personal epiphany. But I think he just really likes puns and isn't very interested in people.
Or I could be completely wrong. I'll probably never know.