I’ve been struck by how much of what my daughters do and say will be forgotten. I saw this documentary two nights ago called Stories We Tell. Director Sarah Polley interviews as many people as she can about her mother, and eventually Sarah finds out who her father is for sure and the story is partially about her interactions with that story. It’s also about how the stories we tell differ, about how we all have our own take on something that happened. I write this morning, as the sun rises on an early fall Connecticut Sunday morning, in part because Sarah had a lot of pictures and video footage of herself growing up. I hope to do better creating a small trail of words and pictures that tell the story of my kids.
As a father, I think, I will never forget that. And then I do. The film Stories We Tell reinforced something I already know. When a story is told about an event in the past, it gets remembered differently depending on who you ask to remember. I can’t even reliably remember what has happened to me. Part of what has put me in the chair to write this morning is that I want to do more writing about my daughters. I want to get myself into a rhythm of setting down some of what they do and say. I also want us (yes, I hope they will some day be interested,) to have a record of some of their life.
I haven’t even got to the second documentary I saw that set me in the writing chair this morning, but I’ve thought of a book that also contributed to the topic I want to undertake (my girls!) and the book is Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat. The title comes from something one of Gaffigan’s five! kids wrote about him. Gaffigan is one of my favorite comics, especially the bit he does on bacon. His book is episodic, and it goes hard for the silly laugh. And he does get me to laugh, but what I want to do that he’s done, is to do more writing about being a father, a son, and a husband.
The final shove into the writing chair (and I do sit here a lot writing what I don’t want to write) was the film Woody Allen: A Documentary. I saw it on Amazon Prime, and I think you can watch it on Netflix. From the movie, it seems like Allen has been writing almost everyday since he was sixteen. I wrote almost everyday for ten years. Then there started to be publications. Schedules changed. There was more editing and promotion and travel and requests from work. And the regular morning writing has become less regular. Which is fine for some people, but I think I need be an almost everyday writer. Even if it’s just my old standby number of 800 words. I get that number from author of Write to Learn, Donald Murray. The number doesn’t matter. It’s the starting off writing that does.