I am a lot like my father. I didn’t realize it until today.
In 1986, my father took pen to paper (literally) and wrote down one of the many bedtime stories we enjoyed as children. He painstakingly hand wrote, revised and edited, while my mother obligingly typed. Each revision, change and typed page was labeled and stored in a file folder. When polished, he mailed Mountain Adventure to publishers, only to receive rejections. So, the book was placed in a drawer, forgotten.
In 2007, I found a typed copy of Mountain Adventure, and transferred the work to computer. I formatted it for print including the original paintings father created and at Christmas 2007, I presented a bound copy of Mountain Adventure to my father and siblings. (This small, tangible book would eventually spur writing the sequel in 2010.)
My process of writing since 1988, has been the computer. I have numerous non-fiction works, which are organized and sequential – easy to write. Yet this process didn’t work when writing fiction. I could not decipher why, all I knew is I needed a process that worked if I were to effectively write fiction.
My father’s process of writing seemed antiquated and exhausting. After all, we are a computer world. Putting pen to paper is time-consuming. As I prepared to format the sequel, I read through the pages of meticulous notes on legal pads and stapled stacks of each revision (complete with CD backup). I stopped. The revelation was so simple. I am visual.
School day memories came flooding back. I am writing a paper at my friend Janie Lohoefer’s kitchen table. I read my revisions out loud, marking sections to move with letters and asterisks. I smile. I am proud of my work. I could ‘see’ the improvement from the first page written to the final draft. I was exhilarated and proud of my achievement.
I (re)discovered my way of writing.
Today, I smile as I lovingly hold the hand-written pages of my fathers second, and final, children’s book. I trace my finger along his ‘chicken scratches’ on the pages he held. As a tear forms, I pop in the CD, and begin formatting.
My Father, George Fyhrie, wrote the sequel to Mountain Adventure in the summer of 2010 at the age of 83. He passed away that fall. His books have special meaning to my family. They hold the enjoyment and love he had for his family and life. He never thought of himself as a writer, often quipping “I are just an Engineer”, but he has left a family legacy we shall cherish the rest of our lives. — Suzanne