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My family gathered today for an early birthday party for my great-nephew, Travis, who will turn two in July, and a Father’s Day celebration. As Travis had learned how to run before walking, he already started in on being a Terrible Two to the dismay of his parents. Since his mother and three of her coworkers all got pregnant at the same time, there were four Terrible Twos running around the place. Only the adults with cameras outnumbered the Terrible Twos to prevent them from overrunning the neighborhood.
I gave my Dad a rough draft copy of my short story collection (23 short stories and a novella from the last three years) in a binder. He haven’t read any of my stuff. When he saw what I was giving him, he said: “I don’t need a binder.”
That made me paused. My Dad is a very practical person. If he really needed a binder, he wouldn’t hesitate to recycle whatever was inside for toilet paper. (He did install a new toilet in his trailer yesterday.) The irony was not lost on me as a writer. My work may very well be appreciated in other ways in my immediate family. The dedication page is made out to my mother. Her death from breast cancer in March 2004 helped me find myself as a writer. (No doubt some hidebound critic will criticize my collection as “therapy stories” or worse.) That alone should prevent my Dad from recycling the pages—or keeping only that one page before disposing the rest.