Dear Cierra and Spenc,
Should I expire sooner than later, or if you should happen upon this manuscript before it is published in its final form: you know the drill, this riddle is merely my stilted version of the story—of what we call love between two flawed human beings.
Is ours a mystery, a romance, drama, the hero’s journey, tragic comedy, the gospel? Story allows us to enter and remain in this odyssey of Finding Ever After in the tension between memory and hope. And, the secret to finding Ever After, [fascination, curiosity] is a love fired in hardship and played out on the cusp of death or separation or at least dramatic tension—conflict, overcoming great odds—all story elements essential to a rousing plot.
Like any good mystery (without a dead body), the plot of your parents’ life together is really two stories in one: the story of what happened and the story of what appeared to happen. The clues are found in the first element, and the challenge is making a leap of understanding between the two. As with any mystery, love has at its heart a paradox that begs a solution… I guess you could call us that.
Whatever plot structure you land on, you should know that I first began writing so I wouldn’t forget our stories—so I wouldn’t forget you kids, or me. I was so sick that the possibility of either or both was a real and dangerous threat. I wasn’t thinking about writing of marriage then. Now I know that writing has helped me not only to remember, but to see more clearly. We look through camera lens waiting patiently for the light to be just so, the angle or position to clear for just the right shot. We are painters studying our subject before putting brush to canvas. Perhaps more archeologist than artist, I’m picking through the rubble of human experience and memory looking for what was almost lost; going back and reclaiming what is ours.
My perspective, simply by being recorded in written form, is not more real or more valuable or more anything than that of your father’s…or yours or anyone else’s for that matter. It is simply mine. May you also have the courage to tell your own version as honestly as what I’ve attempted. Go get therapy sooner than later! Most certainly we are still in the thick of the story with any number of endings still possible.
Of course, Daddy and I hold secrets close to our chests; most will have been forgotten, or at least lost steam, by life’s end. Meanwhile, I want to tell my slant as truthfully as I can, with a measure of redemption (we will have to see what makes it to the page). Yes, it is storytelling with all the tricks and gimmicks of the craft, but always with the desire to write true. I still believe, more assuredly than ever that love is our deepest reality. I tend to get too maudlin and serious on the page, so remember also my laughter, my desire for adventure and celebration of people within the adventure, even if it was on a seemingly ordinary day.
My darlings, never underestimate the power of the human heart,
 Concepts I contributed to the opening pages of Finding Ever After.