I’ve been thinking about The Alt Dad Diary as a whole. Barrage of basics. What is this? A diary? A letter? A letter to whom? Myself? To all? Or is this a roman à clef? Fiction based on non-fiction with changed names, omitted details, etc.
This is a diary. To me. And to you, I guess.
And why? Why do I wake up each morning and type type type? Why do I try for 100% honesty? Why do I scour the day’s events and start stitching? What is the purpose of this project?
The Alt Dad Diary began as a way to self-publish my work after loads and loads and years and years of literary magazines and contests rejected me. It became a DIY solution. I titled the Facebook page “The Alt Dad Diary” because at the time, EllieRoo was kicking inside Kate’s belly and I was transfixed with her arrival. This began as a Dad Diary, a place one keeps a record of daily events and experiences. Over time, the dust of new fatherhood settled. As all dust settles. Fatherhood gets integrated. Old ghosts return. This isn’t to say EllieRoo isn’t still a growing two-teethed miracle that elicits a WOW from my prefrontal cortex every day. She does. But it means that the subject matter of this diary is ME rather than me merely as a dad.
Why am I bringing this up? I’m questioning the purpose and focus of this project.
What does it mean to be Alt? Shorthand for alternative, to me this buzzword means different, distinct from mainstream, independent. It’s a brush with broad stroke—tattoos, yoga, piercings, psychedelics, etc. But it’s also an admission. I feel like an outlier. I feel like a stranger. It’s a position of perspective, or perceived perspective.
I have this artist friend named Bradley. The man in blue. Giving of his time and mental resources, he’s pushing me for clarity. Mystical and confident, he considers himself prophetic. Which I appreciate. Most of the time.
Every snake must molt his skin or die, I keep telling myself. What skin am I too big for? Bradley keeps asking me what ADD is about. REALLY about? My MFA mentor cites his experience with his MFA mentor Vivian Gornick (esteemed American essayist, critic, journalist and memoirist) asking him the same question. WHAT’S THIS ABOUT.
I’m getting closer. To my answer, I mean.
In the beginning, I knew. It was easy. Venting plus baby anticipation. But now, it feels larger and less tactile.
Bradley suggested use of the acronym: ADD. Play up Attention Deficit Disorder. I dismissed this possibility early on. When designing the website. Too much clinical connotation. This isn’t about distracted and overmedicated school kids. And it’s still not. But maybe the term is spot on. What is 2018 except for a year of hyper fragmented attention? This is the attention economy, with Silicon Valley and Big Tech fighting for more and more of our time. Smart phones pick pocket our time. We walk around like distracted decapitated chickens. Or so I feel.
What does this have to do with The Alt Dad Diary?
This diary is a mirror I lift up to my face every morning. It’s a brain biopsy. It's a fMRI.
I often say my mind is like a roller coaster. Or I say I’m floating through the yin yang continuum. Feels more like flipping round and round in the yin yang washer machine. But let's look at the ADD/ADHD thing.
The Diary is a demonstration of the struggle to rise above ADD. It’s a testament of ADD. Because ADD is not, I’d argue, a pathological deviation from the norm. it is the norm. Especially in 2018. But I’d argue all the time. Humans aren’t focused robots. (Though schools might like us to be.) We’re curious, meandering, hypocritical at times, jugglers of attention. A little here, a little there.
ADD might be my metaphor. ADD is chaos, it’s attention gone with the winds of entropy and civilization and society demanding focus! and order! The Diary pumps out brain fluid in the form of feelings and thoughts as they come. Whimsically or divinely. With split second fascination, or sometimes week-long obsession. BUT ITS REAL.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a way that healthy minds label unhealthy minds. And I object to that binary. Isn’t that the tyranny of the majority? What’s the difference between wayward attention and imagination? Distraction and creativity? Don’t they go hand in hand?
The Alt Dad Diary is a brain biopsy of Attention Deficit Disorder. It's a progression of thought from day to day. It's evolution, regression and the boiling in between.
>>>NOTE TO THE READER: Thanks for being here. To support this daily diary project and me the ADD writer, please head to my Patreon page at patreon.com/altdaddiary. It really blows wind under my flapping human wings. Even $1/month is a massive contribution from my end. Peace peace peace. See ya tomorrow.