Sunday, June 16, 2013

All My Fathers #TBSU

Happy Father's Day, Dad! My father, Louis Joseph Moran, Jr., died 31 years ago, on June 13, 1982. The proximity to Father's Day makes the day bittersweet.

Me and my Dad, in student housing in the fifties.

I idolized my Dad, and I'm pretty sure he's turned up, subconsciously or consciously, in the male characters in all my novels. I've written twice about fathers explicitly, in Ophélie and Twelve Nights. Both are complex men who embody aspects of my own Dad.

The father in Ophélie doesn't appear directly in the story, but his legacy shadows Ophélie's life. When she was a girl, he dove into a river in front of her, to try to save a woman from drowning. He died, and Ophélie feels abandoned. My father died of cancer when I was 30. Though the circumstances are different, in some primitive emotional core, I also felt abandoned.

Link to an essay on Sir Toby

Aggie and Angela's father, Gordon, in Twelve Nights is a comic character, modeled loosely on Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Sir Toby marries Maria, and Gordon's girlfriend's name is Mary. Like Sir Toby, Gordon is a problem drinker. I indulged in some wish fulfillment in the novel, because Gordon joins Alcoholics Anonymous and begins to make amends. In real life, my mother was the drinker, and she didn't join AA. My Dad didn't drink much, but neither did he curb my mother. My Dad was also a prankster who loved to tell jokes. Families are complicated, both in real life and in fiction.

Other male characters also embody aspects of my Dad. Jimmy Buko in Twelve Nights and the Master in Beauty of the Beast are both powerful, hardworking, hard driving men. Both also retain their compassion and empathy, empowering those around them. My Dad rose from a high school dropout before World War II, to the Dean of Arts and Sciences of the University of British Columbia. He was beloved for his championship of students and university office workers.

Bran in Fantasy Impromptu is modeled directly from a beloved friend. Keith Ditto was a principal male dancer in ballet companies around the world. Before he died, he asked me to put him in a book, and I did. Along with Keith's love of music, Bran shares my father's love of learning. My Dad was a psychology professor for many years. Bran is also a wise teacher, always a step ahead but sensitive to the needs of Chantal.

These are some of the Dads and Dad-figures in my novels. Happy Father's Day to them all, and to all the Dads out there enjoying your special day! Would you like to share a story about your Dad? If you're a writer, do your male characters reflect pieces of your father? Fire up the barbecue and grab a beer. Let's have a lively conversation in the comments!

Check out these related posts:

Three great blogs, presented here in the grand tradition of The Blog Scratchers' Union! #TBSU


  1. My dad Carole, died in 1992. He was twenty years older than my mother, a poet and a dreamer, whose ambition was always to 'go home'. He was first generation Irish American, and he thought he wanted to go back to the country his parents and grandparents talked about. My mother was a girl from 'the old country', but her parents emigrated to England which is where my parents ended up living, not Ireland as he wanted. His great regret was that he never did 'go home'.
    He was one of the nicest, funniest, kindest men I ever knew and he looked like a film star. A 'black Irish' like my mother and like me. He only saw the first three of his ten grandchildren. I still miss him.

    1. Sounds like we share a lot in common, Jane. Thank you for commenting, and for telling the story of your own Dad!

      My Dad also only met his first two grandchildren, my daughters. He loved them so much! I wish they could have grown up with his influence in their lives. At least they have a few photos of his joy in being with them.

      My Dad was Cajun, 100%, but unlike yours, he did not want to go back. He did everything he could to escape his dirt poor roots. My Mom always said that one of the things she loved about him was that he had no idea how handsome he was!

      Huge hugs on this special day! Thank you for sharing remembrances with me!


  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Seumas!

      I remember the importance of the father in your novel, The Violin Man's Legacy. In a way, he's the title figure. You don't say if he reflects your own father, but he certainly feels authentic and memorable. The story of Jack's early years is one of my favorite parts of the novel!

      Thanks so much for commenting here today! Hug,


  3. Thank you, MC, for this special post. It is open, honest and moving.
    My Dad died 4th June 2004 - the Friday of our halfterm break. It was sudden and unexpected. He was 58, fit and healthy, had recently retired and was reading for a degree in American History. Since his retirement he'd qualified in TESL and was the main day carer for my beautiful baby girl when I returned to full time teaching. He was intellectual, funny, flirtatious (you couldn't take him anywhere!) and caring. He was my rock. When he died, I broke and it took me a long time to put the pieces back together. Even now, I think the glue still shows on some of the joins.
    Your Dad looks lovely by the way. The pain of losing them is overwhelming but the joy of loving them makes it possible for us to endure it. So yes, let's celebrate Dads - old and young, loved and lost!
    Always remembered - Jim, my Dad. Love you!

    1. Hi Molly,

      My Dad was 59 when he died. Too young in both cases! How wonderful that your father spent lots of time with your baby girl! Even though she probably doesn't remember him, his loving spirit nurtures her!

      I fell apart too. Divorce and the whole works, though the split had been coming for awhile. It seems to me you've stepped into your father's shoes: funny and intellectual and strong! You're right—this is a day to celebrate our amazing Dads!



  4. It's a bittersweet Father's Day when your dad has passed away. Mine died of pancreatic cancer 12 years ago. He was the bravest man I ever knew. I hope I face death with as much dignity and courage.

    1. Thank you for sharing a moment here today, Maria. Your father must haven been an amazing man, and he's left you a legacy of strength.

      Today can be a tough day for me too. When I first pulled out a photo for Facebook this morning, I cried as if my father had died yesterday. Then I talked with my sister, and wrote this post, and the memories turned toward happy times.

      Hugs, and thank you again for stopping by!


  5. Hey MC!

    Very heartfelt post and comments.

    The trailer for Twelve Nights is cool. I was a wee one in 1982. Were times simpler then I wonder? Still, they keep getting better an better and I am so proud of what you have done here! Kudos! Very inspiring indeed!

    1. Hi A!

      Thanks for stopping by. You must be about my daughters' age. They just barely met their grandpa. I don't know if times were simpler. I was a single mom, teaching full time, with two kids. Life was good, but hectic!

      Glad you like the trailer! It's fun having it.

      Hugs! Good to see you,