I have found professional fulfillment as a tax man and as an author, but by far the proudest days of my life were the day I married Gracie and the days Richard, Marisa, Christine and Caroline were born. Family life changes your perspective. For one, because my tax job took me on multiple plane trips, I began writing children’s stories which became bedtime reading when I was back home. As the kids grew, my writing evolved to include adult stories.
My writing also evolved courtesy of the children. For example, I was always under the mistaken impression that the word “no” was a simple one-syllable affair. However during those times our teenage daughter barely tolerates my rank stupidity, I have learned that the word has multiple syllables and meanings, as in “No—uh!” For months I initially feared Caroline was having a childhood fetish involving the Old Testament patriarchs.
My education has gone beyond phraseology. In order to be sure I did not get gobbled up by office life and was home for the children, I began coaching rec soccer years ago for the discipline of the thing. After all, while I might leave our children in Gracie’s capable hands if I was running late, I could not leave twenty-odd grade schoolers alone on a public field, especially in the pre-cell phone days.
I still recall some years ago Alanna from our fourth grade team telling me, “Soccer is a stupid game. You should be able to use your hands!” When I explained the rules did not allow that, she emphatically informed me that was my fault for not challenging the league officials. Of course marriage and parental responsibility has made me realize that almost all of life’s pitfalls are directly attributable to some action or inaction on my part.
As a writer, these youthful witticisms make their mark. A certain portion of childlike observations found their way into my novel Knight to King 4: The Fischer-Kasparov Match, as I incorporated elements into my view of Bobby Fischer’s personality. Nor do I worry about running out of ideas. The supply of children is blessedly inexhaustible.