• drbickham

Extraordinary Commitment

Life certainly has a way of testing your commitments.

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal for myself to write and publish my first book this year.  I started the task in early March and had completed a manuscript by the end of April.  After completely reading through the book and making corrections and revisions as needed, I gathered enough courage to send my work to an editor.

The editor’s response to my work was overwhelmingly positive.  He absolutely loved it!  He looked over the book and sent it back to me and we had a conversation about ways it could be improved upon.

I set about to make those improvements, thinking I would get them all done in a day or two.  All I was really going to do was revise a few things.  The only real rewriting I planned on doing was on the last two chapters, particularly the ending.  No problem, right?

Yeah right.  That “short process” ended up taking damn near a month for me to finish.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do the project.  It wasn’t that I lost excitement for the project.  It was life.

In the early part of May, I got a call from the hospital.  My dad was there.  He had been admitted because he had started a public disturbance and there was concern for his mental state.

A bit of backstory before I continue.  My dad and I have never been close.  I had it better than kids who didn’t know their dads, but not by much.  He and my mother divorced right before I was born and there was no solid visitation schedule.  He just basically came around when he felt like it, which during the majority of my childhood translated to roughly once every six months.

As I got older, I began to feel like I really didn’t mean that much to him.  There was always something or someone more important to him than I was.  There was always some woman or drug or nightlife or whatever that he wanted to spend time with more than he wanted to spend time with me.  Resentment set in somewhere around my teenage years.

I remember my dad telling me he loved me for the first time when I was fourteen years old.  I also remembering not believing him.

To compound matters, once I got older he remarried and adopted two children.  Those children became the apple of his eye and he has always treated them far better than he ever treated me or his grandchildren.  To put it in perspective, he carries a picture of one of them in his wallet.  He has never carried a picture of me or any of my children in his wallet.  Hell, he can’t even seem to remember my kids’ birthdays.

Okay, I’m going completely off the rails here.  Let’s get back on track.

Basically, my dad is unable to take care of himself.  To complicate matters, no one else is willing to do it.  His ex-wife used a restraining order to get him out of the house he has lived in for the past twenty years.  Those “precious kids” he adopted are either too busy or just unwilling to help.

So he’s now staying at my house.

The man doesn’t want to be here, and his mental state doesn’t help.  He alternates between being angry and miserable.  I’ve had to deal with the police showing up at my house because of him calling and claiming that I kidnapped him.  I’ve had to go after him when he decided to walk out of the house in a huff.  I have had to listen to him curse out both me and my wife when we have done nothing but try to help him.  He has even physically threatened me.

So, needless to say, my writing time has suffered since I have had to deal with him.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: even though my life has changed drastically, I’ve still held fast to my commitment.  Even though it’s taking much longer than I expected to get my book published, I’m still pushing along.  I finally got my first round of editing and revising done yesterday, weeks past my self-imposed deadline, but I’m proud to say that I did not quit.

And the book is still coming out this summer.

My apologies for the post being so long.  We’ll talk again.

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© 2019 D. R. Bickham