Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Guest Post by Author Al Cedeno: On Fathering and Fiction

Daddy, Let Me Tell This One
by Alfred Cedeno

For my two and four-year-old daughters, potty time often becomes story time. Well, a lot of times do, but potty time often has a captive audience. My two-year-old will shout, “tell me a story, daddy.” Story-telling is kind of my thing, but according to my four-year-old, I’m not the best one in the room.

“Daddy!” she interjects, “Let me tell it. I tell much better stories. Let me tell this one…”

Other than the obvious, “Hey that’s rude response,” I can’t help but be proud a bit. She does tell one heckuva a story. And there is nothing better than to see your daughter passionate—using her imagination to create a tale for her little sister to enter some new, wonderful world. Even if the big game is on, and it’s 9:00 PM, and you’re somehow sitting in a bathroom rather than in front of a TV.

Being a dad and a writer is a challenge. Hemingway famously said, “Writing is at best a lonely life.” It has to be, right. It takes hours of fingers tracing keys to compose something worthwhile. But the challenge isn’t dealing with loneliness. The challenge is discipline. It’s the challenge of the circus juggler. How do I keep this chainsaw in the air? How do I write something beautiful, something complex and new that exudes goodness and truth while grading hundreds of pages of papers and being interrupted because “I’m scared,” or “I have to go potty,” or “will you read this book to me, daddy?”

Then an even worse feeling arises—how am I seeing this little girl as the interruption. Is my writing worth it?

“What are you doing dad?” they ask.

“Well, I’m working.”

“What are you working on?”

How do I explain that I’m crafting a 300-page novel about a notorious Latino poet who crawls from an alternate universe into heaven?

“Well, sweet-heart, I’m writing a book.”

And right there is when the guilt arrives. Moms aren’t the only ones. Daddy guilt is alive and well in my house.

Tonight, I was home with a sick kid on a Friday night. My wife was at church with a group we co-lead. It’s hard not to slip into the idea that my kids are an obligation that I can’t wait to be finished with, so I can write or work. I’ll get them to sleep, so I can do something important, so I can publish another novel, so I can maybe make some cash or a name for myself, so I can…

But then we started having fun. Too much fun, ice cream right before bed. Hilarious jokes. Singing, dancing. I felt a little guilty. They’re going to not fall asleep, and Ellie has a cold, and I gave them ice cream, and I have work to do.

But that’s not what fathering is. It’s not something to rush through or feel guilty about sacrificing other parts of life for. What I’ve been learning is that I need to engage more in both fathering and fiction. I believe God wants me to do both. Maybe my writing dreams will come true. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll say something worthwhile.

But either way, I think God might see me just like my daughter telling a story to my brothers and sisters.  Maybe rather than feeling guilty, I should feel God smiling on me, his son who is clumsily tinkering with tropes. Daddy, I’m a really good storyteller. Let me tell this one…

About the Author:
Alfred Cedeno believes human beings are made of three parts: saint, sinner, and robot. He explores all three in his fiction. When he isn’t writing fiction, he teaches high school literature and writing, watches Doctor Who with his wife, and plays the types of imaginary games that a father of toddler girls plays—that is to say he is often the king of a castle. He primarily writes about the fictional poetic star Rey Pescador, and his equally famous friends, The Genius Brigade. He began blogging about these characters in 2006. His novel The Resurrection of Rey Pescador chronicles Rey Pescador’s search for meaning and adventure in a metal world that has forgotten both.

Al Cedeno's Recent Release:

The Resurrection of Rey Pescador
by Alfred Cedeno

Book Description:

His meteoric rise and fall are legendary, but Rey Pescador's greatest adventure remained a mystery.

Until now.

When David Rosario finally confronts his absurd past, he composes a series of tall tales and love letters that both chronicle Rey Pescador's tenure as the world's most famous man and finally confess his love to the mysterious Rebecca.

David's one-sided feud with Rey, his cousin and best friend, humorously catapults this adventure across continents and worlds.

It shatters genres in its wake.

Believing that even post-modern life is filled with mythical elements and that common robot fights contain deep significance, Rey Pescador seeks an artistic escape from an undying, scientific world. In the process, he becomes America's most beloved anachronism.

From his first public invocation of the muse to his spontaneous bout with an imposing heavy-weight in Madison Square Garden, his performances transcend reality. In the wake of an unexpected decline in popularity, Rey's manager promises fame beyond his imagination.

But at what cost?

 The Resurrection of Rey Pescador 
available for purchase:

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