Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fathering. Chicano authors win! NPR needs our help.

Esquire today: "The number of American families without fathers has grown from 10.3 percent in 1970 to 24.6 percent in 2013." It's higher in families at poverty levels, of course. With chingos of latino and black males in prison for minor drug violations. That's our America.

I didn't know my father much, not the way I would have wanted. We won't go into that more.

But I was lucky to be a father, also lucky enough to be a stay-at-home dad for my first-born, the Boy. Wish I could've done the same with the Girl. We only ever get to wish for more Fathering. So make the most of your opportunities.

Fathering decades ago, while I typed propaganda, the Boy would crawl around the floor, doing his stuff. I should've gotten down there with him more than I did. Less propaganda would've made for more Father.

Fathering both kids included doing Lamaze birthing classes, that strange experience that's makes you into a spectator of birth. La--mazing! Holding them for my first time, wiping the cheese off their face. Like a father's supposed to.

Fathering was taking the boy with me in a carrier to the bar for me to play pool, setting him in a booth or under the pool table. Giving him--and later, her--sips of beer. Until months later when they started spitting it out, wisely.

Fathering was easy hitchhiking with the diapered Boy. Stick my thumb out and seconds later, decide which person to accept a ride from. Never had to wait as long as a minute. The kid empowers the Father, both projecting contagious empathy.

Fathering meant the chance to become diaper-putter-oner extraordinaire. A wire couldn't get past the edges of my work; their blood probably had difficulty passing. That's the part about diapers to remember.

Fathering meant that when it was naptime, the favored method was lying down to lay them on my chest, pat their backs, sing dumb, made-up songs until they, and sometimes I, fell asleep. Heartbeats close to each other.

Fathering included giving the two some chiles as soon as possible, to build up their tolerance. It sort of worked.

Fathering meant playing my made-up game of "The Big Hungry Bear looking for Little Puppies to Eat." Laughs and shrieks and chasing around until Big Hungry Bear captured his meal. Oh, there was no bear; it was just a father.

At bedtime, fathering was the chance to make up silly, weird songs as if they were real songs. Songs that sometimes made Boy and Girl howl. Like fathers want to hear.

Fathering was the futile attempt to teach the Girl how to drive a car. Yes, futile. Wisdom, skill, experience flew in the face of Girl who seemed to bend time travel and inter-dimensional planes using a car with only two wheels on the road. Taught me: "I doubt I can teach her much."

There's tons more I could put here, but not enough time or space for that.

Do the father thing, at least once. Even if you have to adopt. It makes you almost human and somewhat super-human. And assume, accept and live with the fact that no matter what you do, you'll wind up wishing you'd done more Fathering. Later in life, there will never have been enough of it to satisfy.

And if you can do something about America's fatherlessness, do it. Fatherlessness is a crime of inhumanity, especially when it's not the father's fault.

Ramos, as if he knew he'd win
Two Colo. Chicano winners

The Colorado Book Awards is "An annual program that celebrates the accomplishments of Colorado's outstanding authors, editors, illustrators and photographers.

"Awards are presented in at least ten categories including anthology/collection, biography, mystery, children's, creative nonfiction, fiction, history, nonfiction, pictorial, poetry and young adult."

Tim Z. Hernandez
Chinitas, gente!
Yesterday, the announced winners included La Bloga's own Manuel Ramos for his mystery novel, Desperado: A Mile High Noir.

And in poetry, our friend Tim Z. Hernandez for his poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things. Now's your chance to congratulate them. Oh, and read the best Colorado mystery and poetry.

NPR seeks your help
"I'm a reporter at NPR's Latino USA. We're working on a four-part series on Diversity in Geekdom. The first part will focus on sci-fi/fantasy writing. I'm looking for stats on sci-fi readership by race. Have any of you come across recent (from 2010 and on down) stats on this? Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! - Roxanne L. Scott, Freelance Reporter, Twitter: @WhosWorld
Es todo, hoy, pero mañana es Father's Day. So act like you earned it.
Aka author Rudy Ch. Garcia

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