600 words

My dad is dying of lung cancer, and I started an anonymous blog to help me deal with his impending death. That’s words 1 through 21.

The blog eventually became more of an anchor than a balloon, more salt than salve. I was spending too much time pondering a death that had not yet occurred, in lieu of celebrating a life that was still going on right before my eyes. So I decided to let the blog go. But not before it brought about one pretty surprising realization. That’s words 22 through 93.

The realization was this – I loved writing. So much so that I created a second blog to further explore other topics and interests. As with the first, it was anonymous in nature. Partially because I’m rather reticent, and partially because I wanted to be able to be honest with my thoughts (which translates to: I would hate for someone to read the words and – knowing the man behind them – determine them to be lies). That’s words 93 through 175.

Of course, while it began anonymously, it wasn’t before too long that I wrote a post I was particularly proud of. One that seemed to get good feedback, from all but one. The one, I realized that I needed the positive feedback from, was my dad. The very man who started the whole thing in the first. The man whom, I suppose, I’ve been seeking approval from my whole life. So, I scrunched up my best “determined” face and boldly decided to print the one post that thrilled me so and present it to him, thus “blowing my cover”. I made it very clear to him that this was a secret and that he in no way could tell anyone about this besides mom (you always have to exclude telling mom in promises like this, since there hasn’t been one instance in over forty two years wherein a secret given to dad, has not at some point then been brought up in conversation by mom). To date, he has kept our secret – with the mom clause being taken advantage of – and as fate would have it, they both loved the post even more than I. That’s words 175 through 377.

Of course – with mom being mom, and dad being dad – they made mention of the fact that this was truly worthy of being published, that people needed to be able to see writing such as this. When I tried to explain to them that it actually was already “published”, and viewable by the public, mom came back staunchly with “well, I’m talking about all of us who don’t have the internet”. Now, I love my mom, but I’m not to sure if she realizes that the “all of us” without internet is – at this point – really much more “her and dad and maybe another retired couple somewhere in the west coast – you know, for balance”. That’s words 378 through 503… Come on, wrap this thing up.

So, at mom’s request, I promised her that I would submit the post to our local newspaper, to see if I could get “published”. I went (online) to submit it, only to find out that they had a 600 word max. My posts average about 1,200 words, and this one was no exception. Mom was upset to hear the news, and to help soften the blow, I promised to try to write a post that would fit within their requirements. This is that post. Now at word 598.

I suppose that if the paper does publish this, my cover will be forever blown and my secret out. And I suppose that the promise of that occurring sort of scares me – maybe even to the point where I might “accidentally” sabotage the post, to help prevent it from ever seeing the ink-and-newsprint light of day. But that is not at all why I am now up to writing word 670.  Nope, not at all.