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Baby Matters

The UnDad

January 1st, 20161 Comment

By Trent Wilkie

If you would have told me five years ago that I’d be writing a daddy blog I would have said that you need to call a doctor because your head is full of farts.

Let me start again.

My wife is a great motivator.

She is without a doubt the most influential person in my life both creatively and emotionally. To be honest, I didn’t want children until I met her in 2011. I didn’t want a house either. Or a car. I was pretty much a minimalist.

I had worked in the woods a lot. I was a canoe guide since 1999 (still sort of am). I took people camping and kept them alive while keeping them comfortable and very well fed. Taught them about the outdoors. Taught them about the indifference of the natural world. I embraced this. Individualistically it energized me. I worried about myself and only myself. I wrote as a form of therapy. Then Elizabeth entered my life and things started to change.

Three years ago I got a job as a journalist. Full disclosure, I had gone to Grant MacEwan University (at the time college) for journalism in 2002, but was immediately soured by the trade. I had a friend who died in a car accident and was pushed by a teacher to try to write a story about it. I won’t get into it, but it left a very bad taste in my mouth and I never did write that story. Thank goodness.

I did some freelance writing but mostly wrote creatively. I wrote some plays. A lot of sketch comedy with a troupe called Mostly Water Theatre. Wrote for CBC Radio’s The Irrelevant Show. Still do a little. I did a bit of everything, from acting to producing to directing to film making. But Elizabeth gave me guidance. Pushed me in a direction. Made me grow up. Made me start fresh. Thus the journalism.

I also worked at Mountain Equipment Co-op and kept my love for the outdoors kindled. It is a great place to work if you ever get the chance. For various reasons. Mostly for the people. But I digress.

Elizabeth does not put up with my guff; she doesn’t have the time or energy too. Elizabeth has chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Basically, she is constantly in pain and wants to sleep. Yet, she is a driven successful woman and one of the most intelligent people I know. Sure she has her bad days/weeks, but we all get that. The difference is that we don’t feel the constant want to pull our skin off and sleep forever.  I support her as much as I can. But the way she has changed my life for the better, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to show her how much it means. Anyway, new beginnings. This is the genesis.

Upon the realization that I would be a stay at home dad with the arrival of our first child, Elizabeth suggested I start a blog. At first I wasn’t a big fan of the idea. I didn’t think I’d have a lot to offer the glut of blogs out there. Plus, I like swearing way too much. But, she persisted and with the help of friends Amy Neufeld and Sam Varteniuk (who said I could totally swear in a daddy blog), I started the UnDad.com.

As far as new beginnings in life go, this was a biggie. I didn’t really want children until I met my wife. I saw all things family and child based as a bit bourgeoisie. I was wrong. Really wrong.

Writing what I want to about the most important people in my life feels legitimate. It makes me feel like I do have something to offer. After a life of sketch comedy, playwriting, journalism and just plain literary lunacy, I’ve been able to funnel it into one meaningful dad diary. And to be honest, I’m shocked.

I always tried to steer clear of the direct reality of my life when writing...thought that fiction was better than reality; wizards and fart jokes are far more endearing than being peed on by a toddler. Little did I know. I’ve realized that people, when reading quick little articles online, want something to relate to on a human level. Then want to learn and share and understand. They want to connect. And now I do too in a way.

I honestly feel like I’ve turned a corner. Sure, as soon as my son was born I knew my life would never be the same again, but from an artistic perspective, I feel like my writing has more emotional depth. I feel more legitimate.

I never thought I could be so honest to people I don’t know. I mean, plays are stories entrenched in metaphor, iconography and symbolism, but the UnDad is straight up first person reality.

The UnDad is a diary. Plain and true. It is revelation and embarrassment. It is equal parts comedy and enlightenment. And I have no idea what will happen next. Most of the time, I think it sucks. I think what I'm talking about is redundant and unoriginal. I think of the quadrillions of dads in the past who have experienced what I have making me bland and flat.

But then again, it is not for all those dads. It is for me. It is a story that is unfolding as I watch myself make the same mistakes over and over again and get to make fun of myself.

It is a way to tell my wife I love her more than the sun. It is a way to tell my son that he is a beam of light shot into my heart. It is a way to try to make sense of all this craziness without the pretension and artifice.

But hey, I still have no idea what I'm doing. And as long as I'm having fun sharing it, I will share it.

Trent Wilkie is a writer/journalist/performer in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. Trent has written for everything from CBC Radio (The Irrelevant Show) to The Canadian Emergency News to Adbusters to the Edmonton Sun and Horrornews.net. Trent is also a member of Mostly Water Theatre, a sketch comedy troupe and has also performed in several Edmonton International Fringe Festivals and had varying degrees of success. As well, Trent has also been a wilderness canoe guide for over 10 years. Having paddled all over Canada, he considers the deep dark woods a therapy that only comes at the cost of comfort. When taking time off from trying not to be boring, Trent likes to relax while watching horror movies and trying to write the perfect three chord song.

 

Tags: advice, Dads, Humour, yeg

Reader Comments (1)

Micki said on January 10, 2016

Your blog is entertaining and endearing. It is extremely generous of you to share the heartfelt feelings you experience with your wife and adorable little boy.

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