My father left when I was four, but his presence was felt each month through a small child support payment. I fantasized about what it would be like if he was more active in my daily journey of growing up, especially since he was, to me, a celebrity. He was a school photographer in Palm Springs and I knew that all the children of rich and famous people got to share glimpses of him that I did not. I lived with mom and my five siblings in Silicon Valley, among other burgeoning rich people, on mom’s meager waitress wages. So, when my father would call occasionally, often as much as twice a year, I would listen intently for his fatherly advice, knowing in my heart that he would not offer anything I really needed to hear. When I was thirteen, his paternal wisdom that crackled across the AT&T line was; “Don’t ever give anything with the thought of getting something in return”. I knew instantly that this was his way of justifying the fact that he never gave me anything useful, monetarily or emotionally that a daughter desperately needed from her father. Still, I had learned to salvage what I could from him and tuck that (sic) oracular advice into my cognitive file cabinet. Thirteen was a really hard time in my life and I could have become angered by my father's seemingly selfish words, but I chose to keep them for a later time when perhaps they would mean something. As fate would have it, dad may have actually given his daughter the best gift of all, because I have lived my life with that sense of gratuitous belief he so randomly offered. Giving without receiving; and it has served my spirit well.
Writing is the gift of sharing. Good or bad the sharing of ideals, of subjective philosophies, of personal history. It is the thread that links humanity across distance and time. It is a warm hug on a cold night. A comforting smile in times of grief. An understanding nod when you feel alone and isolated. A boisterous laugh shared deep in our soul. It is the wisdom we need to learn from the past and prepare for a better future. It is a the light of hope in a searching soul. And how can you put a price tag on that? How can you write from the depths of your soul when your expectation is that you get paid to do so? We expect so much, our society, and yet we have more than we ever have. What is this selfishness that consumes us?
Don't get me wrong, I am not a martyr nor am I a Mother Theresa. I want to be rich like the next gal, but I also know that writing is not tangible. It is not a steel structure or a computer chip or even a steak dinner served at a fine restaurant. Writing is a group of words that display a person’s emotional or intellectual thoughts. How can you expect someone to buy that? You can’t. Sure, I wish I was one of those fortunate people who by virtue of skill, luck and properly placed connections sold millions of my vampire books and could sit happily in my multi-million dollar home. But I would never rally the angry masses by my harsh words on a weekly blog just so that I could get paid to do so. Writing is a soulful art and I prefer that my soul take that previous piece of advice I was given as a young girl and offer my words as a gift. A gift that may never repay me in dollars but perhaps it wil be just the words some other young girl needs at just the right time. Words offered freely that become a gift she needs, just like I did.