Kate and I often talk about the future. Two nights ago, she said I should stop complaining so much and share my dreams with you guys. Why I write, and what I see in the future. Not a bad idea.
In five years, Ellie will start kindergarten. I’d say we’re going to homeschool the munchkin(s), but this is a space for dreams, so she’ll go to the little “alternative” school that I’ve helped open. (And yes, plural munchkins is a possibility; a matter for the fertility gods.) In this Alt School, we’ll study slam poetry and Tarot cards and cell biology and more.
Our home will be a small house painted many bright colors. Outside, we’ll have a small garden. In the morning, we’ll gather the eggs from the chickens and water the plants in the greenhouse. We’ll live in Minnesota where winter is ice, but we’ll bundle up and build snow forts and igloos. Inside we’ll play jazz and electronica on an old upright piano and cook on a stove with cast iron. Still no microwave or TV. A little off-grid gnome home.
For quote work, Kate will still coach soccer and I will still be writing The Alt Dad Diary. This is what I wanted to talk about.
The Alt Dad Diary will still be filled with me writing about vegan meatloaf recipes even though we sometimes eat meat. I’ll write about my struggle with semi-sobriety and how the two drink a week plan is faring. I’ll write about the continued crumbling of the old world order and how those shock waves create anxiety and depression inside my head and how I cope with these inner brain woodpeckers. I’ll talk about munchkins and diaper rash and the parenting game from a father’s perspective, which is a rare one because women chit chat all the time but guys are so stoic and silent.
Why will I still be writing? This is really what I wanted to talk about. Because I fucking love to write. It’s so maddening and loud in my head and it feels so exalting to purge and expel this hot heavy air. And also, I have to write. It’s a calling.
But also, I write with a purpose. I write diary. In the past, I’ve written fairy tales and apocalyptic poems and genre-busting quasi comic books and literary novels and flash fiction but The Alt Dad Diary is different because now I’m not pretending; now I’m colorfully annotating the brain biopsy from my own head. People talk about speaking truth to power. I often write that the truth is an endangered species. Truth in the confessional sense, like: look, this is how I really feel and think underneath the surface of what I’m pretending to be.
And this is important, (if it’s not self-evident, which I bet it is) because I feel like I’m a late-bloomer, coming late to the cultural awareness game because: nobody ever told things like a) my dad was an alcoholic, which b) means I’m genetically predisposed to addiction, or c) how prevalent anxiety and depression are in America or d) how marriage is a tsunami amount of work and love and joy, but most things in life that are worth anything are.
So that’s my purpose. To report on the actual state of affairs of my pscyhe. And transmit. Ironically, as I’ve discovered in the process of diarying, it feels unexpectedly pleasurable and cathartic to expose what’s shameful and blameworthy and embarrassing about myself. It feels like I’m freed of something; some heavy 9oz GILDAN cotton hoodie of cognitive dissonance.
You get it. In five years, I’ll still be writing The Alt Dad Diary. And here’s the dope part: I’ll have 2,000 supporters who each pay $1 per month to keep my writing going, because it’s something they believe in too. The something that they believe in is partially truth-telling. And it’s partially about ad-free media. And it’s partially about correcting current market failures that don’t compensate artists—be they musicians or writers.
2,000 supporters pay $1 per month (or 3 cents a day) to read The Alt Dad Diary because they dig it and a $1 is nothing for 1 person but it’s $2000 per month for me which is a lot because it’s what Kate, Ellie and me live on right now and therefore by definition it’s what it takes to say I’ve made it as a writer which means I can say that I’m supporting myself doing what I love which is what I think we all want to be doing: living lives spent doing what we love to do.
I know this was long. And I completely and utterly hate it when NPR does the fundraising drives that last all week and never stop blaring. But I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And I don’t want to beg. And I hate asking for help because I feel like a charity case. Really I just want to write. Which is my whole point.
If you feel me, patreon.com/altdaddiary allows you to throw a set dollar amount per month at me as support. $1/per month, for example. You set it up once and it happens automatically every month, unless you decide to stop your support. Which you can do at any time.
Kate told me not to harp. So I won’t harp. Namaste, happy day and god bless almond butter. Thanks for reading.