After my father passed away, I started writing a memoir about growing up with him; about how this Indian man raised his two daughters after his Jewish wife passed away. My mother wanted us to be raised Jewish and Dad took up that challenge. The majority of the time, Dad hadn’t a clue. He tackled a different culture and a different religion. For anyone that’d be difficult. As a single parent it was more so. But Dad did it with his usual gusto, which included missteps and lots of humor. My memoir’s ultimately about love, tolerance and death and how those three things led me to have an incredible relationship with my father. He ended up being my best friend.
It seems only fitting that tomorrow I’ll be sitting in a chilly hotel conference room listening to a critique of my memoir after I read one of its passages aloud. After that book manuscript workshop I’m attending with 19 other finalists comes to a close, the powers to be at the writing conference will meet and then announce a winner on Saturday night. The winner receives prize money and the best part—a book deal. I hope my name is announced on Saturday night. But even it if I don’t hear it, it’s not a complete loss. I’ve come a long way and I know Dad would be proud of me.
Plus, the conference is at a hotel in Grapevine, Texas, near the Grapevine Mills outlet mall. When Dad drove from Albuquerque to visit me he’d always stop at Grapevine Mills to “stretch his legs.” Really, he didn’t have time to stretch his legs at any of the gas stations or rest stops on the way? No, of course not. Those places didn’t house a Neiman’s Last Call or a Saks Off 5th outlet. Dad was a consummate shopper. And I’m just like him. So if this weekend doesn’t turn out the way I want, I’ll turn my energy (just for the night) to the outlet stores. Hey, that mall stays open until 9 p.m. Then come Monday, I’ll be back to polishing my memoir and striving for more. That's what he would've wanted for me.