Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Confluence of Influence

As a kid I never really understood how people chose to do what they wanted to do for a living. I mean, sure, I was asked on numerous occasions what I wanted to do for a living. My answers were pretty normal; a cop, an astronaut, a cowboy, batman, a sailor, an engineer, an architect, a pilot and for a while, a deep sea diver. I guess I got my inspiration for what I wanted to do from watching television.
            I never thought I’d be able to do some of those things and I never thought I’d end up working in a museum. Which is what my primary occupation is. It’s pretty cool. Matter of fact; I love my job. I don’t think there is a better job in the world. Yet, never as a kid did I ever think I’d be managing antique toys and toy trains for a living. Preserving a part of the past that brought so much joy to so many children’s lives in a more innocent time in our history.
            I know where I got my love of trains from. I got the bug as a kid. I’ve even written about it on this blog. Yet I can’t honestly remember the one person or people who introduced me to them. Or, for that matter, many of my other interests. Electronics, video games, horror movies, books, motorcycles and football. Okay, the football interest comes from growing up in Green Bay and hanging out at Lambeau Field. I’m also sure that my love for trains can be somehow traced back to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay as well. Yet loving trains, real ones does not necessarily equate to learning the history of toy trains and toys in general.
            I listen to a ton of podcasts on all sorts of topics. One of my favorites is StarTalk Radio, hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I look forward to each and every new episode as well as any new youtube videos that are released featuring him. I usually learn something from what is talked about on his shows. Not to mention, Neil is very passionate about his job and has the rare ability to convey knowledge in an interesting, fun and well thought out manner.
            He, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, has spoken on numerous occasions on where he fell in love with astronomy. He has also spoken of the men and women who’ve influenced him. I’m a bit jealous of this fact. He has someone he can go back to and point at and say “This person, right here, changed the course of my life and I am grateful to them.” That’s pretty fucking cool.
            Now, in my life, there are a few folks I can point to and say they encouraged me to do things. Influence me? Not really. Take my writing for example. I never would have started unless an old shipmate of mine told me I should write. That I had a good voice. The fact he is a writer had a bit of an influence in my life but he did not influence my style of writing. No, it took a lot of trial and error to get to where I am right now, and I hope I can only improve with each and every passing sentence I put down.
            I’ve been writing this blog for five years now as well as writing some fiction and selling some of my short stories to publishers. Which is really cool. My daughter, my offspring, my compass needle that points to the north of my life, took up writing over a year ago. Mostly fanfiction on the internet. Also, she’s written several movie scripts and has even produced a couple into ten minute shorts. Very impressive.
            Today, she sent me a text message, it read “Dad, what are some good blog sites.”
            I responded with “I use blogspot, some people use wordpress. It’s all in your preference. Why?”
            “I want to start a blog.”
            “Awesome. What kind of blog?”
            “One like yours. A life blog.” As I read that, I teared up. Seriously. I had an extremely intense moment of pride and honor.
            Somehow, someway, through all my fuck ups in life, I had managed to influence my daughter to not just write fiction, but to write about life in general. To reach out to the greater world and share her views and experiences in life with little or no filter.
            Mr. Jefferson, the third president of this country once was quoted as saying “The earth is for the living.” I believe that statement to be accurate.
            I know, at my age, there is little I can do to change the world and the views of people in and out of my life. But, to see someone of her teen years, wanting to write, wanting to produce something of substance makes me proud. She’s not doing the youtube videos that are so popular, or the vines, nope, she wants to learn how to communicate with the lost art of the written word. It’s not easy. I know.
            So, I am going to include here the link to her blog. Why? Because she’s my daughter and she makes me proud. I hope you go and read it. I hope you understand this is her first blog and like a lot of firsts, it’s not polished, it has grammar errors as well as some spelling errors. Which is okay, she is learning and I’m extremely happy she has decided to make an attempt at taking up the mantle of so many great writers before her.

            Have a great week. Also, if you’re a parent, I’d love to hear of a proud parent moment from you. 

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