Recently I heard an author discussing themes in her writing, and she said her recurring theme is control. Another author mentioned she explores identity. Looking at my own writing, I’d say my themes often explore family. Specifically dysfunctional parents and how that plays out in a person’s life and their relationships. I can see how identity would tie into growing up with a dysfunctional or absent parent too. Being a parent isn’t easy- and even if one intends to do a good job at it- it’s still easy to make mistakes or make a mess of it. For the record, I was blessed with wonderful parents, so all my dysfunction is self-created 😉
I think family dynamics can be interesting, tangled and yes, sometimes sad. I have always been fascinated by the number of adopted adults that have become famous. Steve Jobs, Faith Hill, Ray Liotta, Debbie Harry, Michael Bay, Louis Armstrong…just to name a few. It makes me wonder how much of a “see what you threw/gave away” component is involved. And with dysfunctional parents- does some of the drive to become a successful person spring from a “hey, I succeeded in spite of you” angle?
In honor of father’s day today though, I’ll mention a few of my favorite examples of great fathers in fiction. The character Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird reminds me of this quote about fathers:
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” ~Clarence Budington Kelland
And then of course there is George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.
“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.”~Ruth E. Renkel
Some of my favorite awesome Dads from T.V. Sherriff Andy Taylor/The Andy Griffith Show, Mike Brady/The Brady Bunch, Rob Petrie/The Dick Van Dyke Show, Heathcliff Huxtable/ The Bill Cosby Show, Philip Banks/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
It occurs to me all of those examples would be considered “Beta” male characters. Do we associate being a good dad as more of a Beta male trait? We do like our Alpha males in romance books, so I’ll have to go track down some Alpha male/good dads for this list. I know Linda Howard has a few in her Mackenzie family. Any other Alpha dads come to mind? Who is your favorite fictional father?