On Birthdays …

           Yesterday would have been my father’s ninety-sixth birthday. An Aquarian, he truly was a philosophical rebel, listening to all sides of a situation without revealing personal thoughts and providing an ambiguous “is that so?” response. Generous of his time with service organizations, he soon took on secretary responsibilities for each group, as well as treasurer. He made an annual contribution to Boys Town way back in the day when small gifts could make a difference. As an only child of older parents, he took that organization’s motto, He’s not heavy father, he’s my brother, deeply to heart. His leaning toward organizing words may be the genetic link to my love of all things paper.

Strong fathers appear in novels, although interestingly, many romances make little reference to them as characters. That may seem peculiar because every hero and heroine has one. And when they do, it’s the father who more often confounds the plot, especially so in Historical romance or women’s fiction. Fathers hardly appear in contemporary romance. How many fathers were characters in recent stories you’ve read—or written? Perhaps because the good, strong stereotype of a father is no longer fashionable.

Contemporary fathers, like the three dads of TV’s Modern Family, are more than multi-dimensional. These three dads present such different packaging of fathers to viewers. Think about some fathers who made the story: Atticus Finch of course, Andy Tayor, Charles Ingalls, Carlisle Cullen, Cliff Huxtable, Silas Marner, loveable Clark Griswold, and Darth Vader.

Next time, why not consider how a father character might affect our stories. They affected each of our lives—why not add them back into our stories?

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