GUEST POST: Tom Slatin’s “My Father was 64 When I Was Born”

Today’s post comes from a good writer friend of mine, Tom Slatin. In this post Tom writes about what it was like to be born to a father who was already old enough to be a grandfather, and the generation gap that resulted.

In addition to writing, Tom is also a very talented photographer and web designer, so take a look at his site if you’re interested!

My father was 64 when I was born, and that in and of itself created perhaps the greatest generation gap I have ever encountered in my life. In some respects, by fathering a child so late in life, I may have skipped a generation.

Throughout my life, my father told me that everything in the world was always subject to change, and if anything could change, it would. My father looked down upon my generation and told me that with every new generation came a new set of challenges upon the generation before it. According to him, every generation would be, among other things, less respectful of their elders, much less productive, and far less responsible.

Somehow, he predicted the coming of the so-called generation me. A generation that believed that the world revolved around them. A generation that believed that the world owed them something. A generation that was indeed lazy, uninspired, egotistical, and borderline failure. A generation that, sadly, embodied every possible attribute that my father expected it would.

I was raised differently. My parents raised me to do good work, even if I wasn’t being paid or somehow compensated for it. My father used to tell me that you either do good work, or don’t do it at all. I was raised to believe that quality, doing the right thing, and personal responsibility and acceptance of others was most important. As time went on, these
lessons became personal attributes, which became both a blessing and a curse.

At a young age, I was thrust into the world believing in fairness, equality, and caring about the feelings and needs of others. My depression came as a result of learning that not everything in the world was as my parents told me it would be. The world is full of unfairness, inequality, and fascism. The utopian society my parents made me believe in simply did not exist.

My father looked at life with pessimism. I couldn’t be sure exactly what it was, and at first, he wouldn’t tell me. He always said that there was something he needed to tell me. Something vitally important that hinged on the basis of the right timing. Something, he would say, that he claimed needed to be said before he passed away, but that day never came. He passed away days before he promised, once and for all that the time was right that he would tell me what he had waited so long to tell me.

The most important conversation was the one I never had with my father. There was an unpleasant feeling that came over me every time I brought up the topic. For the last few years of my fathers life, I would bring the topic up every now and again. It was almost as if my father was waiting for me to ask the right question of him, almost as if the right question would be the key to solving the seemingly unsolvable mystery.

The morning my father passed away I knew that I would never have the most important conversation with my father. Perhaps the conversation was not as important as he said it was, or maybe it was something simple that needed to be discussed. It may have been a question my father wanted to ask me; some facet of my life that was always a mystery to him, but I seriously doubt it. My parents were very much involved in my life, perhaps too much so, even when I was a full grown adult.

They say that sometimes things are better left unsaid. However, in this case, I may never know for sure.

Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Four: Publish a Round-Up


The beauty of the Internet age is that we have access to vast quantities of information and entertainment at our fingertips virtually anytime and anywhere we go. The problem with that is there is so much information that it is practically impossible to sift through. Because of this counterproductive system, we thrive on websites that consolodate awesome stuff for us. We love it when others do half the work. That’s why, today, Michelle W. tasks us to publish a round-up post of links to posts on at least three other blogs, and tell us why we should read your recommendations.

So we may as well get right to it!

The first post I want to recommend is one that was posted a few weeks ago by internet sensation, The Bloggess. The post is entitled “Women Who are Ambivalent about Women Against Women Against Feminism”. Though I am a major believer that we should cut all this feminism and men’s rights crap and start focusing on the idea of HUMAN rights instead of pitting sex against sex, I absolutely loved this post because of the amazing wording. The Bloggess gets right to the heart of the matter (though sometimes in a roundabout way) and basically explains that hating on a movement because some of the people who support it are nutso is not a helpful way to deal with things. I just thought she really hit the nail on the head, and the fact that she managed to work Sharknado in as an ananolgy really made the post for me.

The next post that I want to share is one that I stumbled across on a site called “Scary Mommy”. Post writer “Emily” wrote this wonderful bit called, “15 Things Veteran Moms Really Want to Say” ( I loved it because every point is so true, and I myself am not past the days of feeling judged because I don’t happen to do things exactly the way every other parent seems to think I should. Emily lets new moms know that, for the majority, we old hats remember what it was like, and we salute you for having not completely lost your mind yet.

And finally, I’d like to share the post of a blogger pal of mine, Tom Slatin. In Tom’s post, “What Writing Has Taught Me About Life” he makes some excellent observations about how writing can teach you some important lessons. I think Tom was spot on with this post, and I think it definitely deserves a read, so check it out, okay?

Blogging 101 Day Five: Love Your Theme

Now we’re getting into the more visual aspects of the blog. Today’s assignment is try out at least three other themes. Michelle W. over at The Daily Post tells us that it’s important to try out different themes for your blog because you should love the way your blog looks, and because you never know what you’re going to like until you try it. I can definitely second those notions. I tried dozens of themes before I struck on my first one, and a little over a year later I tried dozens more before I settled on what you see today.

There are tons of theme options available on WordPress (I can’t speak to the other blogging platforms, but I’m sure there are lots of options there as well), and I strongly suggest using the Preview option to try out anything you might like before actually imposing the change on your blog. Something I learned very quickly is that the themes as you see them on the theme page don’t always look the same once you apply them to your own blog. In addition to previewing, you want to check out the options that are available with that particular theme. For instance, does the theme allow customization, or are you stuck with it exactly as you see it? Does the theme have tablet and mobile modes for when someone accesses your blog on a non-PC device, and do those modes look nice? I’ve vetoed several very nice looking themes because they absolutely destroyed my blog when switching to mobile mode.

There’s not a great deal that I can do for this assignment since I’ve already done my fair share of theme-hopping ages ago, but for the sake of helping others, I thought I’d share the website of a friend, Tom Slatin. If you click on the “Web Design” tab of his site, you’ll find that he regularly shares free WordPress themes. As of the writing of this post he’s up to 71 free themes. Check them out! You might find something awesome. 🙂

Writing Process Blog Hop!

Last week fellow writer and blogger, Jay Dee Archer from I Read Encyclopedias tagged me for an interesting little blog hop about the writing process.  The questions are based around your current writing projects and process, which I thought was really fun and informative. I always enjoy hearing from other writers about what works for them and what they’re working on, so of course I had to take part in this particular hop. Please feel free to check out Jay’s entry when you’re finished with mine. 🙂

Photo 2-8-2014, 11 10 24 AMWhat Am I Working On?

The obvious answer would be the zombie apocalypse novel that I should be working through the final edits on instead of writing this post. But, since most of you have already heard about that often enough, I thought I’d talk instead about the project that I’m going to be working on as soon as the aforementioned edits are complete and out of my hair.

My next project is going to be something that I’ve been working on for a decade, but is going to have me pretty much starting back from scratch. I’ve mentioned this particular piece before, but for those who don’t know, the tentatively titled “Parallels” is the story of a young woman who, during a tumultuous time in her life, is transported to a parallel world and tasked with saving that world from an ancient evil. Back when I first started writing this story it was just a bit of cathartic fun to help get myself through a rough patch, but it grew and grew until I began to have visions of this epic story. Throughout the years I wrote and rewrote, changed the story, massacred the plot-line again and again, and eventually found myself with something that was a heck of a lot different than what I began with. In the past year or so I’ve spent a fair bit of time working on this particular piece, and I’ve had a lot of fun and came up with a lot of good ideas, but now it’s time for a truly big change. I am planning to begin the story over again, right from the beginning, as a young adult series. Because of the structure of the plot and the “A to B to C to D”-style goals involved with the story, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Parallels” would be much better set as a series than a single novel. I suspect that it will end up being six parts, based on the goal style mentioned, and I think that chopping it up in this manner will greatly improve the overall readability and enjoyability of the story.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

This is actually a really hard question. I guess, in one sense, it differs from other works because at the core of the story is a creation built of my own personal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires. Speaking from a more general standpoint, I’ve had people who have read bits of the story tell me that I have a fairly unique writing “voice”, which I’m pretty sure is a good thing. Aside from those two points I’m not really certain that I can answer this question without giving away any major points of the story.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

Whether it’s horror, fantasy, adventure, fan fiction, personal stories, or anything else, I write what I enjoy writing, and what I personally would enjoy reading. I’ve been reading scores of books since I was in grade school, so while I may not be the most talented writer in the world, I know what is fun, enjoyable, and captivating. I aim to write those kinds of books. I try to write the kinds of things that I love to read, like the horror scenes that make you squirm with discomfort, or the love scenes that makes your skin feel hot. If reading my own writing creates those kinds of reactions in myself, then I’m confident that it’ll create excellent reactions in others, and that’s my big overall goal.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

The writing “process” for me is something that I’ve been struggling with since things other than reading and writing began to become important to me. When I was young I could literally sit for hours with a notebook and a pen and just write, write, write, but as I grew and began to enjoy other things, gather responsibilities, and change in numerous ways, it became harder to convince myself to spend that kind of time on my writing. These days my process is a bit of a hodgepodge mess of pantsing and panicking.

I’ve managed to bring some little bit of order to my writing life over the past couple of years via this blog. The desire to have a successful blog/author platform has driven me to keep returning to write posts on a five-day-a-week basis regardless of what else I have going on in my life. In the past year I have missed only a handful of days, and most of those were due to extraordinary circumstances. Blogging is my rock, the thing that makes me think of my writing as a bit of a job, and keeps me putting words to paper/computer screen.

Unfortunately that seems to be where any semblance of organization and dedication stop dead. I write sporadically, not on any kind of schedule. I very very rarely plan anything out in advance, instead opting to write from the cuff as the words and ideas come to my head. Sometimes I will write random scenes as they come to me, but for the most part I feel the need to write things in order, and I’ve been known to rewrite entire pieces from the beginning because one plot problem or inconsistency bugged me.

I’m a disorganized artist, and I don’t think I’ll ever be anything else, but as long as I get the writing done, that’s all that really matters, right?

Tag People!

I’m going to follow Jay’s example on this one, and tag those people who have commented the most on my blog and who also happen to be writers. So, L. Palmer, Tom Slatin, and Djinnia, consider yourself tagged! No pressure to participate, but if you do please link back here and let me know. 🙂