Since finding out this month’s topic, I’ve struggled to write this post. I’ve thought of how I could spin it in a way other than where my brain wanted to go. I tried to focus on writing. That should be easy, right? I’m a writer. Just write about what I love. Couldn’t do it. Well, not completely, anyway.
June 4th. That’s the date. The big one. The one I’ve been waiting for since, well, a long time. The day PODs, my debut young adult novel releases. Some people may think of summer when they hear June, but actually summer doesn’t begin until the 20th or 21st of June, depending on your time zone. That puts the 4th, PODs’s book birthday, in the spring.
I have two adult urban fantasies published in e-book, one in print through Createspace, but PODs is my first traditionally published book. It doesn’t make it any more of a “book” than my others, just another first—except, there is one thing that makes PODs something more, something better than my first books and likely any other book I’ll ever publish: My dad. He died January 28th this year. And although he’d been ill, it wasn’t life threatening at the time and his death took me, and my family, completely by surprise. He lived in an apartment on my property. There are still days I expect to walk in the door and see him there. And now that the weather is nice, the yard he loved seems too empty and depressing without him working (he called it playing) in it.
My dad never really understood the difference between my e-books and a traditionally published book. He just wanted to go to a bookstore and buy my book. “We’re gonna go to the bookstore, Mac, and I’m going to buy your book and tell everyone there that you wrote it,” he’d tell me. “I’m going to need enough copies for all the guys I hunt and fish with, too.” I smiled at the thought of him passing out a young adult book about a seventeen year-old girl to his sixty year-old friends, but was secretly doing a happy dance because I knew he was proud of me.
So why am I telling you all this? Well, because I think sometimes spring is for tears, like the ones I’m shedding as I write this article. Not all of them are sad. Many of them are happy tears at the memories my dad left with me. And that leads me to another thought. Maybe not all spring cleaning has to do with cobwebs and dust bunnies. Perhaps it’s a time to clean our minds and spirits of bad memories, those we don’t need, that don’t serve any purpose but to hurt. Spring cleaning is a time to make room for the good memories. That’s what I’ll be doing this year, making room for the good memories. Only the good memories.
Oh, and I’ll be going to the bookstore to buy my dad his book. I won’t tell everyone I wrote it (he really would have). But my heart does ache that I won’t get to see his face the first time he held it or hear him tell the sales clerk that his “Mac” wrote it. I wanted more than anything to be able to give him a copy. So I’ve done the next best thing. I’ve given them all to him…
In loving memory of my dad,
Michael Lewis Hayes
March 12, 1944 to January 28, 2013