Tag Archives: Fatherhood

@badlydoodled

I only met Pete in person recently. I’d heard lots about him, wondered if perhaps we’d be a match as friends. My partner is keen to get me “out there” to meet more people. I’m not sure where this place is but, from what I hear about Pete, he sounds like he’s filling a similar space to me. Then I started reading his online comics. I saw something sparkling. That feeling when you witness a special thing, and you can’t quite explain it. Like a comfortable button being pressed at the bottom of your heart. Here is something special. Here is some destiny with noticeable traction.

I predict great things for Pete. I see many already. Do take some time to read the words I sent to @badlydoodled and the words he, indeed, sent back to me.

Pete
38
Danish
Dad
Husband
Lived here for 15 years
Works in an office all day
Pretty nice guy when you get to know me
Good at baking bread
Lover of crisps and chips
Hardly ever drank tea or ate curries until I moved to the UK
Likes Danish football and music
Likes long walks on the beach
And pancakes

What’s the cruellest thing you’ve ever witnessed?

On the insanely busy roads of Delhi I once spotted a man without legs begging. He used his arms to move the piece of wood he sat on, to navigate between all the rickshaws and cars. As he rolled past our rickshaw the person in the car next to us spat at the poor guy. I don’t understand people who do such things. There really is no excuse.

My mum once bought me a bin bag of “Roy of the Rovers” comics in a car boot sale. I was four at the time. The smell of old, festering paper is one of my first olfactory memories. That and rain etched car journeys. What are yours?

Many Danish suburban home smells mixed in to one. In the 80s, the Danish version of Grandstand, would show English football on Saturday afternoons. I’d often do that next to our wood fire, at the same time as my Dad would fill the air with his pipe smoking…so lots of smoke smells. That and the smell of newly mown grass.

What three titles would you recommend for a newcomer to comics?

Ooh that’s a tough one. I grew up raiding the library every week for all the great European comics; Lucky Luke, Asterix, everything by Franquin, the Spirou et Fantasio albums by Tome and Janry, Tintin etc, but I wouldn’t be able to single out specific titles. I then had a long break from comics for no particular reason. About 10 years ago I rediscovered the medium through the many great graphic novels out there, and I’ve really enjoyed exploring all the great titles that are now available. I could recommend Maus and From Hell or the many amazing titles by Ed Brubaker or Adrian Tomine, as they are all incredible books, but my favourites are by other creators.

I love everything by Joe Sacco so one of his books. Probably “Footnotes from Gaza” which is amazing, and illustrates well how different peoples’ memory of one event can differ so dramatically.

Guy Delisle is another great storyteller but very different from Sacco. His “Jerusalem” is brilliant.

And every single book by Chris Ware. He is so imaginative and has such a recognisable style. His books look amazing, and even if his stories were rubbish, you could spend years staring at the artwork in total awe of this man. “Jimmy Corrigan” is brilliant, but his newest “Building Stories” is so innovative and just incredible, that any newcomer must read it, just to get a flavour of what this medium can do that no other is able to do.

So, that was loads more than 3 books, but our newcomer will thank me for this. You’re welcome.

What is obvious in your work is how much you clearly love your son and, at the same time, find him hilarious. Would you say your creativity has been kindled by his very existence? Or, to put it another way, has parenthood ignited something inside you that perhaps might not have been realised without him?

No Oskar. No comic. I never knew that I wanted to do this and it was a total coincidence that it happened. I had made lots of notes of the funny things he would come out with since he was about three years old. My wife designed a book for me and all my “bloody notes” as she put it, so I used it for all this. I would update this every now and then but never really knew what to do with it. I was afraid that one day it would be forgotten and then what was the point. Around the same time I got really fed up with not really having any kind of hobby. I have always been fairly creative and it annoyed me to bits that all I did now was go to work and come home and do nothing in the evening. I thought that I should take up photography again, but I had no good camera and no time to take photos, other than photos of Oskar. And then I thought, why not do something with those bits of dialogue and comments I had noted down. “Fatherhood. Badly Doodled.” was born.

It’s been great ever since. I was not good at drawing at the beginning so it has been a journey for me too, where I have improved my drawing skills, refined my style and had a sense of achievement by seeing how far I’ve come since those first drawing in Paint. It has also made me more aware of what my son says and I am sure I am more tuned in to his monologues etc now, than I was back in the day. It sounds like I didn’t use to listen to him, but I think most parents know that sometimes you just have to put the mute button on when they don’t stop talking.

So, yes. No Oskar. No doodles, and luckily he finds them quite funny too.

You’re a keen tack on Twitter. Without even trying. What is your take on social media?

To start with I had no idea what it was all about and I had no idea how to engage with people, or how to get people to look at my work. I still don’t really understand this but I know a lot more now than I did 18 months ago. I started out by finding a list of comic artists on Twitter. The list was humongous and I never made it past the letter A before I got insanely bored by asking them to be friends with me. However, over time, and I have no idea how this happened, I started “meeting” likeminded webcomic creators on Twitter. People who creates the most amazing comics, some of them daily strips, and with so many different themes. It was a real eye opener. I had no idea that there were so many of them out there and quickly found out two things; my comic was by no means the only one about being a father/parent, and the comics community on Twitter is incredible and so supportive. Again I had no idea how massive this community is.

So back to your question. I use Twitter a lot. It’s the place where I get most followers and most feedback from, so it has been a great place to spread the word about my work. I try to engage with other artists, but I wish I had more time to do so, and it is one of things I’d like to get better at. So, I do try to use social media. Facebook is a funny one and I am not sure how much I get out of that one. My page grows by 1 follower a month so this is not the place where I get to promote my website. On the other hand, it’s the main promotional platform for all my friends and family so definitely has a place. I also publish on other platforms like Tumblr (which is the platform I used at the beginning) but that grows even slower than my Facebook page, and finally I have started using Instagram but this is mainly a platform where I can share my drawing progress and the occasional cartoon. This is the platform I understand the least.

So I am trying to learn all the time and at some point I am sure I will crack social media. I have no idea what a good amount of followers is or what is a good number of website visitors, so I still have much to learn. There are still a few other places to try out like Reddit and Pinterest…

Do you draw digitally or with pen and paper? I’ve always thought new technology/software must be a drag for comic artists. Discuss.

I draw with various pens and pencils on card/thick paper. Around the beginning of the year I started using a non-photo blue pencil (that scanners don’t pick up on) for my outlines and that has really improved my drawings. Around the same time I got a selection of pens in different sizes which made it even easier to play around with my drawings than before, so these two tools instantly improved my life and my drawings. I use technology a bit. I use Photoshop Elements to correct mistakes, sometimes I add the text on there as well (I’ve created my own font) and also to colour in large areas.

I have thought about drawing digitally and I get the impression that a large amount of artists do that these days. Their work is amazing and I get the idea that it’s a real skill to draw that way. However, I am happy with the way I do it. I like to play around with my pens, I can sit on the sofa and watch Netflix with my wife while I draw. I sit in front of a computer all day at work so I don’t want my hobby/evening job to be in front of the screen too.

Top five films.
As a former film student this is impossible. Even if I wasn’t a former film student this would be impossible as it really depends on my mood.

  1. The film that moves me the most is a Canadian film called Last Night from 1998. It’s about the end of the world, but without all the drama and explosions of other Armageddon movies. It is very funny and very moving.
  2. Since most of the films I watch these days are cartoons I feel like I have to put one on this list. I love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 and 2. Amazing gags and amazing characters.
  3. I love First Blood and there is nothing you can do or say to make me change that. It’s a great film.
  4. Old detective novels, especially Raymond Chandler, have a big place in my heart, as does Film Noir. I am not sure I can pick a specific favourite as there are so many great films from that period; The Third Man, Double Indemnity and Big Sleep. Pick one.
  5. Finally it’s a toss-up between Alien and all zombie movies ever made. I can’t decide.

Top five comics

I’ve already mentioned some of these previously.

  • Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. One of the best books I have ever read. It’s incredibly moving, the artwork is incredible and atmospheric and everyone should read this. Everyone.
  • Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco. Sacco is one of my absolute favourite writers/artists, and this is my favourite, although all his books are brilliant.
  • Jimmy Corrigan: the smartest kid on earth by Chris Ware. Another of my absolute favourites. His style, innovative ideas and imagination blows my mind.
  • Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. I always assumed that everyone knew this, but every time I have mentioned it to colleagues they just stare at me. Clearly not everyone knows how amazing this comic strip is. I introduced it to my son last year and he loves it and reads it every morning before school. So much that he wants to dress up as Calvin/Spaceman Spiff/Stupendous Man at the next World Book Day
  • There are so many more I want to mention but can’t. Anything by Guy Delisle, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine and Charles Burns. The Criminal and Femme Fatale series by Ed Brubaker, or Maus and From Hell which are both momumental. There are so many amazing graphic novels/comics out there, not to mention all the talented webcomic artists out there

What makes you feel comfortable?

When I can relax. Drawing is a very relaxing thing to do so I am always very comfortable in those situations. Being by the sea is very comforting too. Finally those moments where your child curls up next to you on the sofa for you to sit and read together or watch another of the loud cartoons he likes, that is probably the most comfortable moment I can think off. When I know he is content and happy.

What lessons do you really want to pass on to your son?
Ok this is a bit cheesy but; be kind to others, be empathetic, positive, inquisitive, explore, learn, fail, follow your heart, be true to yourself, learn languages, travel, read, don’t work in Events like me, don’t get a job in an office, and don’t ever change.

What are you afraid of?

That anything bad happens to him. Things that are out of our control like serious illnesses or accidents. Also, him becoming a money grabbing, selfish, banker, who exploits us common folk. That does potentially go against my advice for your previous question as I said he should follow his heart. Well, if this is what he wants to do he should NOT follow his heart.

Lastly, if you could have any team of writers, artists etc compose the comic masterpiece of your very own life, who would you choose?

I see a multi-platform event here. Comics will be written, films about the process will be produced and performance artists will brighten up the streets of London in the months leading up to the event. Every single one of them dressed up as Toulouse Letrec and miming sequences of my life to confused, and intrigued, tourists who would rather be left alone.

Since my life isn’t really that eventful it would need to be someone who can find the small stories in ordinary lives. Someone like Adrian Tomine would be great at that. Although, I had some odd experiences travelling in my early 20s and for that Joe Sacco would be a good artist to get on board. It would also need to be funny, as I am a hilarious person, so someone funny like the Swedish Martin Kellerman who wrote a great comic strip called Rocky. I imagine this collaboration would be designed by Chris Ware.

Yes, that would be rather, as my son would say (due to excessive US cartoon consumption), awesome.

Some lovely words and crafted insights from Pete here. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for donating his precious time to me. You can follow Pete at @badlydoodled and read his brilliant, heart smashing comic Fatherhood. Badly Doodled here. I especially enjoy watching a creative talent flourish and sharpen. Through his strip archives Pete’s love for the art and his family grow symbiotically, which is all an audience can ask for. Check it.

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@cathjanes

Some of you may know that, at the moment, I am furious. Boiling with rage. So angry in fact I could quite happily crush the world to dust in my fist and cry with laughter at the same time.

This is not about me. When I feel that the human race is simply a collection of useless, meat filled puss bags, I turn to The Kraken. Her roar dilutes my rage with substance and clarity. Her words seem to centre me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the Kraken.thekraken

I am The Kraken (rarrgh!) and I’m forming a black hole of fury so you don’t have to on www.thekrakenwakes.org. Blame wanky drivers, twatty children, fat-handed shoppers, sexist spaff-baskets, cockwombling celebs and anyone else that forces me to wave my fist in the street. No longer capable of seething silently, I’m loudly venting my rage and angst but with more laughs than green ink and more nous than an entire Tory conference. In fact, I am the new voice of reason. Come, put your head on my shoulder and tell me what makes you mad…

Why are you so angry?

Angry? Moi? Well, if you insist… It’s because I’m continuously staggered at how ignorant, insensitive, thoughtless, unaware and just plain pig-thick so many people can be. Contrary to my image as an enraged blogger, I’m very loyal and put an enormous amount of thought into other people’s feelings so when I don’t get the same consideration in return I ever so slightly lose my marbles. I’m also a supreme optimist and believe that there is good in everyone (I know, I know, you’d never guess) so when I see the bad side of others I feel let down to the point that I actually have to blog about it. This probably makes me highly needy, pernickety and demanding of towering standards but I like myself that way. In fact my rage makes me happy and my blogging is like online therapy. Once I’ve raged I feel so much better that it has actually become addictive.

How do you process negative feedback on your writing?

Now that depends on the feedback. I adore debate so if someone wants to challenge me I’m like a pig in shit. I started my career with the intention of becoming a barrister, before moving in to journalism, so debate is one of the best parts of blogging. In fact it motivates me to keep writing because I only ever write what I believe in and I adore having a voice. However, if I get negative feedback because someone hasn’t read my blog properly or misunderstood me I actually become distressed with frustration and won’t stop raving until I’ve had the last word. For example, recently someone accused me of only trying to be controversial rather than honest which sent me through the roof. I’m not trying to be controversial. I’m simply trying to express myself. If you think that’s controversial, that’s your opinion not mine.

Is there anything in life that softens you?

Kraken Junior. Seriously, if you saw me blowing raspberries on her belly at bedtime and smothering her in kisses you’d think I’d had the Kraken side of me lobotomised. She can melt me like no-one else as can Conjugal Kraken, bless his tormented heart. I’ve also been known to cry at adverts and school plays and the film Meet Me in St Louis makes me sob so loudly that I become incoherent. Me bawling into a cushion and gasping for air has actually become a Christmas ritual.

And, oddly, Kraken Junior and Conjugal Kraken are also why I am so angry. I adore them both so utterly that if anyone crosses them I become enraged to the point of insanity. I’m not so much a mother as a starving tiger determined to rip the flesh off anyone who does her cub wrong.

Do you worry about the future that your children will be living in?

Fuck yes. I worry continually that Kraken Junior will be let down by the world around her. That sounds very bleak but she is such a hopeful and happy child that when someone disappoints her she feels it keenly and I want to do whatever I can to stop that from happening. My biggest fear, as the mother of a little girl, is the amount of sexism that she is forced to endure. I thought it had died out until she was born and I realised that it’s actually become worse. The pink, princesses, sexualisation…and I despise that while I fought against this all of my life she will have to fight it all over again. I become almost deranged at the fact that her gender could one day be used against her. Woe betide anyone who does that to her. They will have The Kraken to deal with.

Describe yourself in five words

Pissed, astounded, hopeful, broken, hungry.

The Kraken lurks in your very subconscious. It hides beneath your skin. You will find it’s scripture here. You can, on a stormy, chaos strewn evening watch it’s scaly head break the surface of the ocean here.

Do say hello. She is just lovely.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming” ― H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
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@babberblog

When I joined Twitter I very quickly came across Lewis (@babberblog) and instantly learned that he and I are quite alike. He is hilarious, passionate and an excellent, honorable father.

I learned a lot from him about being a dad in the first hectic, miserable, eye-gouging, terrible months of fatherhood. Sleep deprivation does strange things to you. Lewis is the type of person who likes to help other people out. His pacifistic nature shines through when you converse with him on Twitter. He’s talked me off the edge a couple of times. He might not even know that. That’s Lewis for you. He is quite human.

I’m Lewis, I’m a distinctly average person making my way through life. I’m ticking boxes on my way through, as we all do. Last year I finally ticked one of the big ones: having a baby (not the physical act, of course, that would have been distinctly un-average).

Aside from having a small human to look after, I also have a wife, a house, a car, lots of bicycles, a healthy appetite and a scraggly beard.

I blog about stuff, mainly the baby, but also other things that interest me. I’d love you to come and say hello. Validate me.

What inspired you to start blogging?

Blogging is one of those things I had felt like I ought to do for years. I’m a gifted procrastinator, so I’d never got around to actually doing anything about it. It was a quiet murmur in the back of my head, which occasionally got a bit louder.

When my wife was seven months pregnant with Cam I had a week off work on my own, which I used to indulge myself in all the hobbies I thought I would probably have to put aside for a while once the baby arrived. I also listened to the murmur which was suggesting that blogging would be a hobby I could keep doing.

I’d also spent some time reading sites like Bounty and Netmums, and not engaging with them at all. I had no idea there were so many great blogs out there, which is good, because if I’d found them I’d have been too intimidated to start my own.

What is the one thing you hope to achieve with your writing?

To provoke a reaction in whoever reads it. It’s what I want when I read other people’s words too. I don’t mind too much what the reaction is. Laughing’s a good one. Crying would work for me too. Thinking about something that wouldn’t normally register.

Obviously, if someone wanted to pay me to write, that’d be just fine…

What characteristics for you, based on what you’ve learned, make a good Father?

There are so many, and I’ve barely got started yet.

Early on, I was glad I’m a patient man. Babies don’t set out to wind you up, I don’t think, but they’re very good at doing it. Battling through the mental effects of having less sleep than you’ve had since you were a baby yourself, patience and tolerance are essential. No matter how many people tell you how difficult a newborn can be, no-one gets it until it happens.

One I feel is really important, but that I could do with working on, is feeling comfortable making a fool of yourself regardless of the situation. I’m a shy sort, and easily embarrassed. I don’t always find it easy to be effusive and “fun” in public with Cam. I hate feeling like I’m being looked at, and people tend to look at you when you’re busting out your best baby entertainment moves.

As time goes on, I’ll be looking to emulate the characteristics I saw and continue to see in my own father. He’s a quiet, gentle, fair, honest man. If I can be as much of a father to Cam as he has been to me, I’ll be doing a damn good job.

How close is your online personality to your real life persona?

The protection we’re afforded by our keyboards, monitors and the physical separation of the internet all mean it’s very easy to fabricate a completely different life for yourself online. That’s fine, if you let people know that’s what you’re doing. If you’re a blogger and you’re not telling the truth, I don’t want to read that.

I don’t make any attempt to be anything online which I’m not in real life. I want to be honest, I want to be thoughtful, compassionate and kind. I want the people I interact with online to feel that there’s value in those interactions. I think the connections and friendships we make which start online are just as important and “real” as those which start offline.

All that said, I’m quieter in real life and I’m not confident talking to people I don’t know. I had to make a conscious effort to overcome that when I joined Twitter. I’m happier putting words in writing than verbalising, so it wasn’t as difficult as I’d feared.

So, I guess, “pretty close” sums it up.

What do you hope Cam learns from reading your blog (when he’s able to read)?

He’s going to read it? Shit. Erm.

I didn’t write it for him to read, really. If he does decide to, I hope he’ll learn that I’ve loved him from the very first moment. Actually, I hope he’ll know that already.

Describe one moment of your parenting in which you’ve felt “a bit of a twat”?

Just one?

I feel like a twat when my tolerance reservoir runs low. When Cam has managed to rile me and I’ve got to the point where I feel like I love him, but I don’t like him.

He then makes me feel even worse by doing something really sweet to make friends with me again, usually a particularly coy game of “peepo”.

That makes me feel an utter twat, because all the blame lays with me, and there he is being the bigger man.

What is your favourite piece of writing that you’ve written?

A while back I wrote a short piece of fiction and posted it on the blog. It was the first time I’d written anything like that in about ten years.

All my blog posts are hastily scrawled in a lunch break, so it was nice to spend a bit more time on something. To think about it. To finish a draft and think “no, not right” and go back and change it rather than just posting it anyway.

It’s nothing special, but quite a few people commented on it in a positive way and some of those were people whose own writing I really admire. That made me feel good.

If I had more time, I’d love to write more fiction. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to.

What inspires you to write? What inspires you in general?

I love words. I’m a bit of a word geek. I’ve always loved writing and I find it a more comfortable way to communicate than speaking. So the thing that inspires me to write is a love for writing. Usefully, this also means I can find myself writing about any old thing and still enjoying it.

In general, I’m inspired by people. People who achieve things which I think are good things, invent things I think are worthwhile, overcome things I imagine I’d find insurmountable.

I once took a psychometric test which told me that altruism was one of my strongest drivers. So I’m inspired by a desire to help other people. I quite like that, although it does come with its own set of awkward questions.

Lastly if you could offer any new parent one piece of advice what would it be?

I think the most important thing is to trust in yourself. Nobody goes into parenting with all the answers, no matter how hard some people try to make you think they have some magical manual at their disposal. Trust that everything you do out of love for your child is very likely to be the right thing. Of course there’ll be mistakes, but we all make them.

Being a parent is hard enough, without trying to be a perfect one.

Before I go, I want to say a huge thank you to Sam for inviting me to answer his questions (and for putting up with how long it took me to do so, it’s an honour to have some of my words on one of my favourite blogs.)

Lewis makes being a dad look easy. If I was a brand new father I’d follow him on twitter for sure @babberblog. Read his blog. There are some excellent pieces of writing in there. This is my favourite at the moment. There are beards within it.

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Something is Wrong

“’Then you’re watching television, you’re watching the news, you’re being pumped full of fear, there’s floods, there’s AIDS, there’s murder, cut to commercial, buy the Acura, buy the Colgate, if you have bad breath they’re not going to talk to you, if you have pimples, the girl’s not going to fuck you, and it’s just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that’s what I think it’s all based on, the whole idea of ‘keep everyone afraid, and they’ll consume.’” – Marilyn Manson

There is something wrong with the world. There are too many of us. We are limping through a broken economy. We are bearing witness to the financial collapse of neighbouring countries. We are sexualising our children at a young age. We are helpless in the face of atrocities in Baghdad, Syria and Iraq. We have no connection with our leaders. We have automated killing machines in the skies above us that are designed specifically for murder. We are losing our grip on the very nature of humanity. There is something very wrong.

Recently I have been feeling The Fear. I can feel it on my skin and I see it in the eyes of others. I can smell it. I think of myself as a relatively intelligent person with a sound moral outlook. I feel compassion and empathy for the struggle of others. I would like to think I’d be one of the first to help at the scene of an accident. I will do anything for those closest to me regardless of the impact on my strange little life.

However, since becoming a Father, I have become scared. I am becoming fiercely aware that the world is darkening. It is fair to say that becoming a parent has given me a fresh pair of eyes when looking at the world. I cannot help but shake in helpless panic. I cannot shake the feeling that there is something very wrong.

The other night I had a confrontation with our neighbours. These neighbours are made up of a large family living in a small living space and, as a result they make a lot of noise. This noise often goes on late into the night and sometimes into the early morning. On this occasion their antics had woken Eve repeatedly. My wife and I could not get to sleep. This being approximately 3 am in the morning it became increasingly frustrating.

Before I even knew what I was doing I was outside of their door screaming into their intercom. I was obscene. I was horrifying. I was furious. I became, quite simply, a monster. A monster willing to do anything to protect the wellbeing of his family. I am not proud of myself nor do I think anger and violence is ever the answer. I did however act instinctively and it made me scared of what I am capable of doing should a similar situation arise.

My neighbours are ethnically different to me. They have a set of strong religious beliefs. As do many of my other neighbours. To me this is not a problem. The only problem with religion I have is that particular religions teach those that adhere to it that they are better than those who do not. It teaches those with belief in a system of ideas that they are separate from others, that they are exempt from judgement and that they are excused to behave as they feel they should. As far as I can understand, with my limited knowledge, religion has led to bloodshed, segregation and war countless times over.

However religion isn’t the problem here. The problem is that my own neighbours while living next door to me may as well be living a thousand miles away. There’s a separation between us and an inherent lack of understanding and compassion. There’s a separation because we are terrified of each other. It has nothing to do with religion but it would be ignorant to think that it has no part in the bitter make up of our societies.

I am fearful of the gap between all of us is widening. Whether through class, religion, money or attitude we are becoming scared of each other. We fear our neighbours. We fear poverty. We fear our own governments. We fear for our own lives. Doesn’t it all seem so unnecessary? Why should we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear?

I realise now that I was more scared than angered by my neighbours. I managed to get a taste of what it could be like should the alleged differences between human beings widen even further. The idea of a world in which we are all one is somewhat naïve and short sighted. One day it will become necessary to pick a side. It’s happening already as you should be aware.

Our children are going to grow into a world very different to ours. Unlike previous generations we are muffled. We are quiet and apathetic. We are quite happy to escape into our paradigms of total consumption even when we living in close proximity to people who are oblivious to kindness and basic nutrition. We are more than happy to know our place and stay there. So now my thoughts turn to how to bring up my daughter. I’m keen to teach her survival techniques, a martial art, how to speak Spanish and the very art of self-discipline. All of these considerations are born in courage rather than fear. We find courage in our ability to control our own environment.

And every day, every second, every shimmering moment that I see her face I cannot help but smile. The world is a better place with her in it. I refuse to allow the world to terrify her as it does me. It’s a beautiful place if you have the courage to look hard enough.

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