Father’s Day is a trial for those of us who do not have dads, and who will never have them again, especially if we ourselves have not been parents. This entire past two weeks has a been horrible. I’ve dealt with the email blowback of “The Smartest Boy Urbanist in the Room” which was, in general, quite mild tone policing more than anything. (I am not so foolish as to not know that puh-lenty of smartest boy urbanists are just a-waiting for their chance at a Dr. Lisa take-down. I’m sure the opportunity will arise for y’all soon enough. I am often wrong.) I also lost a friend, a man who helped me a great deal with rescue, who clearly didn’t plan for his own exit and who also hid a great deal from his friends. The result was that his passing became a nightmare for the rest of us he left behind. Most of last week was spent dealing with that heartbreak and work.
And then Father’s Day, and then the bloody heat started. And I’m working on a think piece that is going precisely bloody nowhere. The old horse isn’t walking, not even for me, not even for a July 1 deadline.
One happy pick-me-up in the weekend of sadness and grief was this marvelous piece from The Hairpin by Rosa Lyster entitled “My Father Reads Withering Heights for the First Time”. It is endlessly charming, if a little meandering in parts, about the relationship her father has with books, and in particular, with books written by women, including one of my favorites, Middlemarch and Jane Eyre:
My dad, naturally, admires all this without qualification. He doesn’t find her weird or boring in any way; he just thinks she is magnificent — a woman to look up to. He once sent me an email with the subject line “Jane Eyre: I love her.” He likes her spirit, and her independence, and how she doesn’t let anyone push her around. He even thinks she’s funny. He read Jane Eyre twice in a row, and then he read Villette (subject line: AAAARGH BELGIUM). He read Wuthering Heights (subject line: What is Hindley’s problem?), he read Agnes Grey (and then, of course, he read twelve books about the Brontës, and has ordered several more), and he will read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall before the month is out. He is probably reading Wuthering Heights again as we speak.