The message came in a straightforward manner. The column about fatherhood I’d been writing for a regional fashion magazine would come to an end in 2018.
The magazine could simply no longer afford to support most of its columnists anymore, and having once been laid off from a newspaper job, that wasn’t hard to understand.
But what should I do now?
As I approach 40, no role in my life has taken on more prominence than being Dad to my two boys, ages 6 and 4, and because of this, fatherhood exists as this bottomless well of inspiration. I want to write about fatherhood. I want my work to prompt readers to laugh, cry, and hug it out with their own kids. I want to write what I want to read.
The point of the column, which appears for now monthly in Susquehanna Style Magazine and is called The Dad Diaries (not my title), was to show other Dads, particularly the stay-at-home variety, that they are not alone. This fatherhood business is hard work. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, prepares you for it completely, and my confidence level switches by the day.
I don’t know much. You don’t either. So let’s have a good laugh about it. That’s the idea.
Sitting in my home office one day while Netflix Kids performed 90 minutes of babysitting duties (don’t you judge me for one moment), I pondered the lost opportunity of the column. I’d hoped it would advance my career, and it did, a little. I wanted it to help build this thing called an author platform, a grandiose term for a writer’s legitimacy, expertise, and whether anyone actually cares about their writing. Let’s just say the verdict is still out on that one.
Then it came to me. The column, if it is to end as a published hard copy, should continue on here at Writing In the Afternoon. So what if I don’t get paid. My time as a Dad has as much to do with me as a writer as anything else, and it’s enriched my life as I flirt with 40 as it does challenge me.
Why not bring Causing Dad’mage here?
That’s what I plan to do. Let’s explore the peaks and valleys of being a father while also trying to write a book and work a job to earn enough to buy groceries and garner increased respect from my ever-patient wife.
Now, I plan to begin this soon, but I can hear the soothing sounds of whining coming from the living room, which means a verbal tug-o-war has begun over whether to watch Transformers or Ninjago.
Dave Pidgeon is a writer (and father) based in Lancaster, Pa. You can reach him at email@example.com.