Report 1, 4/8/10

Dad sits in his study. His mahogany wood table is littered with black and blue pens, sticky notes, and odd bits of string here and there. He’s sucked in by the light of his new laptop. I wonder what’s so special about it. He stares at it like it holds the threads of his life. Decides his choices.

Damn, he’s obsessed.

Or possessed.

I wouldn’t know.

I’ve been watching too many sci-fi movies lately.

He bought me this journal a few days ago. Said he want me to become just like his old man. I mean, I do have a flair for writing. When I try. I can spin words into syrupy-sweet concoctions, serve them up for the audience. It’s fun. Kinda. Takes the energy outta me sometimes, I dunno.

Dad said to write something, anything in this journal.

Lift your pen and let the ink flow freely.

What he said was quote-worthy. That’s the only reason I scribbled it down.

Report 2, 4/9/10

He has been getting on my case lately. “Write, Matthias,” He says. “It’s in your blood.”

When he says that last bit, my chest puffs up with pride.

But when I try to follow through…things take a different turn.

It’s not that I hate writing. I’m just not interested in it. When my ninth-grade teacher announced a creative writing unit last week, there were groans and silent yeses. I stayed quiet, not knowing what to think.

The people dreading this unit aren’t bad at writing. But they stick in stilted metaphors and imagery in their stories to fulfill the grading requirements. They don’t care about writing, aren’t awed by the presence of sweeping stories chock-full of spiced, sizzling words. They just want their grades back and the unit to be over with.

They’re somewhat like me in that sense. I’m decent at putting stories on paper but lose interest quickly. The boys tease me about it. Say that Matty-o be going to Harvard. Which is a lie—I’m not even considering applying to Harvard. Creative writing courses at Brown or Columbia are what I’m vying for.

I see the beauty of words, of perfectly crafted sentences. I can write them, too. But sometimes, I wonder why I do it. I don’t feel any satisfaction or pride after writing the best damn story I can. I just feel a hollow emptiness gnawing on my bones.

So I write in this journal, my first place where I spill out honest thoughts. The empty feeling stays.

And I never tell that to my dad, prodigy writer and New York Times bestselling author.

Report 3, 4/13/10

Two days ago, the worst possible thing happened. Dad clutched his heart. A pained wheeze escaped him. His face was screwed up tightly. I should have run to the study, not walked with slight concern in his steps.

But he was having a heart attack. And the hospital bed he’s in right now sucks. He looks pale and sickly and so unlike himself that I have to double-take the scene.

My father, who writes fire-breathing dragons to life. My father, whose dreams are filled with magic and battle. My father, who pushes his son to achieve literary greatness. Is looking like someone drained him of life.

It’s not possible.

But it’s happening.

So I wait for him to wake up. The chair is hard and becomes more uncomfortable throughout the night.

The monitor keeps on beeping steadily, and I concentrate enough, I can hear the hiss coming from the respirator and oxygen mask.

Mom is sleeping next to me, dried tears sitting on her face.

I’m going to stop writing in this damn journal.

(ง ͠° ͟ل͜ ͡°)ง            ಠ_ಠ            ( ͡ಥ ͜ʖ ͡ಥ)

(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿)            [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°̲̅)̲̅$̲̅]             ( ͡°( ͡° ͜ʖ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ʖ ͡°) ͡°)

My doodles are filling up the page. The first one is a suspicious man getting ready to square up and fight. The next is what my face probably looks like now, eyes puffed up and bleary. The one I drew just now is a caricature of me crying. Looking pathetic. I drew a dude with sunglasses to make me feel better. Then a money-face.

I’m just doodling randomly now.

Report 4, 4/14/10

Fuck life.

░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ▄▄░░░░░░░░░░░












Report 5,  6/19/10

He’s dead. There.

I fucking said it.

Report 5,  6/21/10

I don’t want to write anymore. I feel like Dad always was the force behind getting me to write. Without him there, I don’t feel the urgent need to type up a story. Perhaps he’s frowning at me right now, wishing his son was better. But I’m not. At least I can be honest with myself.

Report 6,  12/12/10

Dear Dad,

I love you. I miss the clutter in your study. I miss the string on your writing table. I miss the creak of your writing chair when you sat down in it. I’m listening to old recordings of your voice. I cry less these days. Mom and I are struggling. She took a few weeks of leave from Microsoft. We’re struggling, but we watch the home videos you’d hoarded away in your closet every weekend.

School was hard at the beginning, especially with a rough patch in October, but I’m getting my grades back up. I had a C in English. You would have been mortified. It’s now sitting at a low A.

My teacher allowed me to redo two of my tests. And I’ve been working hard. Going to Columbia or Brown needs my best grades. I’ve been grinding for a 4.0, and it’s going to take some real effort. I have three years. And I will succeed.


Report 7,  3/15/11

I’m reconnecting with my old friends. I played video games with Aarav the other day. And I went out for a basketball game with Tyler this weekend.

I’m thinking of asking out Carmen. I know she likes me. She’s shy, and honestly, I think it’s cute.

I’ve heard her friends talking about me. They have a code name for me. Matt Ryan. He’s some hotshot celebrity. I bet they have no idea I figured it out.

Mom and I still miss you, but we’re living again.

And I have something to say to you. I know you always wanted me to write. But that’s not my true path. I love creating stories, yes. But I bring stories to life with drawings and art. I’m thinking of becoming a graphic designer or working in animation at Pixar. I want to make you proud.

Maybe someday, I’ll write a novel. But in the near future? Nah. I’m going to be working on my passion.



Report 8,  3/20/11

He’s my first character. The first character whom I loved creating. Not with words, but with strokes and dips and curves of lead.


This pen doesn’t write. It draws.

This ink doesn’t form words. It forms drawings and sketches and a new, raw type of beauty.

This journal formed stories earlier. And it forms stories now.

The ink flows freely.


April 09, 2020 18:35

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Cait Bippes
00:40 Apr 19, 2020

Your casual style of writing is really cool and very fitting for the character. I like the use of time and writing style to show how the character grew and developed. Very moving. Beautiful snippet of a coming-of-age story.


Neha Dubhashi
04:41 Apr 19, 2020

Thanks! I'm used to writing more in a more old-fashioned tone (I mostly write YA fantasy) so hearing this from you is awesome. :)


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Nicole Leah
17:41 Apr 16, 2020

I really enjoyed reading this. Great message. It is great how the diary entries slowly merge into mini letters to his Dad, you showed how he worked through his pain beautifully. Cute pictures!


Neha Dubhashi
03:49 Apr 17, 2020

I'm glad you liked reading it--I loved writing it!


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Neha Dubhashi
18:40 Apr 09, 2020

Loss isn't an easy journey. Neither is identity. Whatever you are going through is not infinite. It won't last forever. Grief, pain, anger, depression, any feeling is valid and will pass with time. You got this. Lots of love, Neha


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E. Jude
10:11 Jun 14, 2020

Nice! Gave me a quick, casual insight into his life, but it was also kind of sad, because of his dad!!! Very moving. Loved how you finished the story! And wow, with those drawings!! I would love it if you could check out my stories too!!! XElsa


Neha Dubhashi
04:49 Jun 15, 2020

Great to hear that from you--and as for your stories, I'd love to!


E. Jude
14:58 Jun 19, 2020

Thanks, I guess Ill see you on one of my stories then!!


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