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Writing For My Dad

Life has suddenly gotten very busy. Thankfully, I thrive on being busy so this kind of breathless activity only enlivens me more, but gosh, when I say busy, I mean really busy.

For instance I'm going out of town twice in the next week. First to Nashville, and then to New York. (But more on those trips later.) Tack on regular mom duties, the fact that I still have a regular job, and now this looming deadline for my book, and yes, I'm feeling breathless.

Really though, I wouldn't want it any other way.

This week I've been working on one of the final chapters in my book about my dad, and it's really the most important one. It's also a hard one. It's a chapter that isn't just a bunch of memories in my head, rather it's also my father's story of his experience in WWII.

There's a lot for me to look up, historical dates and facts to research and the hardest part — making it really compelling. In my opinion WWII can get boring fast, mostly in the way that it can feel so far removed from present day life. The last thing I want though, is for this chapter to be boring.

It's my dad's story, his BIG story, the story he carried around with him his whole life. It's the story that really defined him, that influenced pretty much every decision he ever made in life. And I want to do it justice. Better than that, I really want to make my dad proud.

I was on the verge of tears all day yesterday, working on it in the coffee shop. I haven't let myself miss my dad in a long time, but yesterday I really missed him. I wished so badly I could tell him about the book and how I'm putting his story in it. I can't even express how happy I know he'd be.

See, the story is about how in 1999 he traveled back to a town in Czech Republic where he was shot down in 1944, in order to find answers to three questions he'd carried with him his whole life. He was 80 years old when he took this trip, and I went with him. It was the defining moment of my relationship with my dad.

This trip was so special, not just to us, but to many WWII veterans, and in the last years of his life my dad worked hard to share the experience with them. That's why I'm so emotional thinking about what it would mean to him that this story, his story will be published in a hardcover book next year.

I just have to write it really well.



  1. …And you WILL. :)

    Comment by Francesca on January 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

  2. I would bet that there isn’t anyone who could write it better. The love and respect that will go into his story guarantee it will be right. Just don’t edit yourself too much. The first words and thoughts are probably the closest to your heart. I hope he knew how much his fellow citizens appreciate what his service.

    Comment by Lynne on January 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

  3. Oh my… wonderful. There is something special in the scope shared by you and your dad. I can appreciate that WWII is daunting as it’s always important to talk about.

    Comment by Christine on January 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

  4. I am anxiously awaiting your book!

    Comment by Christina on January 19, 2011 at 11:25 am

  5. I have family in Nashville and we took all the kids one summer a few years ago- it’s just gorgeous.

    Comment by maggie may on January 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  6. I’m sure you’ll find the right words and I’m positive your dad knows about your book and his story.

    Comment by heidig on January 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm

  7. Oh, thank you so much for having confidence in me!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

  8. Ooh, I cant wait!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

  9. Oh, thats so nice of you to say!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

  10. Thanks for the encouragement!!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  11. Oh, those are such kind words. Thank you for the support!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  12. Thank you, Fran!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm

  13. I’m sure you’ll write it REALLY well, and that your Dad would be so proud. Good luck!

    Comment by Sophie on January 20, 2011 at 12:47 am

  14. He knows…I’m certain that he knows and that you will make him proud. The stories of his remarkable generation, what they did and went through must live on. They are an important part of our American Heritage.

    Comment by Sheri on January 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

  15. They really are important stories. Thank you for the encouragement!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  16. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

  17. I cannot wait to read your book.

    Comment by Amy on January 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm

  18. Aw, thank you!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm

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