To My Dad And To Everyone Who I’m Going To Prove Wrong

Submitted into Contest #46 in response to: Write a story about someone returning to their craft after a long hiatus.... view prompt



I stared at the blank page before me, hands poised above the keyboard. It had been two years. Two years working minimum wage jobs, two years since I dropped out of college, and two years since I’d quit writing completely, because, according to my father, “You can’t make a living as a writer. You’ll be a starving artist.” Well, I wasn’t a starving artist. I was just a starving minimum wage worker, which he says is basically the same thing. Between working long hours, eating, and sleeping, my time was limited and I had little-to-none to devote to writing, but that wasn’t the main cause of why I stopped.

Writing was embedded in my blood since I was a child. I would grab books by the armful and speed through them, the ink and pages and words being absorbed into my body. Then I would write my own stories in a tiny little journal my mom gave me. When I was in elementary school all the way up to the end of high school, I would always have a book in my bag, and more often than not I would get in trouble for hiding books under tables and reading in class. I used a notebook to write out fan fiction in classes. When I tried to coax my dad into maybe allowing me to go to a school for writing or social work, he scoffed at the idea and said he wouldn’t pay a penny if I went that route, and so, I was ‘forced’ into IT as a major. In college, reading and writing got more difficult. On top of classes and part-time work, I could barely find the energy nor the creativity to write anything. And that was when it happened.

The whole me stopping writing thing. Sure, friends encouraged me, but their words fell on deaf ears. In my eyes, if I wasn’t a successful writer, I wasn’t a writer at all. I certainly wasn’t worthy of still being called one of their kind—writers—after taking a two year break from it. 

And so, here I was at 2:00 AM, not being able to sleep and attempting to write. My mind felt hollow and I drummed my fingers on the table as I thought. I slowly blinked as I stared at the page, before slumping down into my seat. There had to be something I could write about. I needed to be confident. I might not be known world-wide, but I needed to start somewhere, and... nothing was coming to mind. 

Bzz. Bzz.

My phone buzzed once, twice, and then three times before I picked up.

“Hi, dad.”

“Hi, munchkin.”

“No offense, but why’re you calling me at 2:00 in the morning?”

“I saw you were active on Facebook.”

Of course.

“How’re you?”

Struggling. “I’m good, just trying to write. You?”

“I’m going to assume you still haven’t gotten a degree or become a famous writer yet, huh?” he laughed, and without meaning to, I forced out my own laugh with him.


“Well, I’m doing good. My IT job is paying me well. You should really go into that field. People pay writers pennies.”


“What’s the matter, munchkin?”

Don’t say it. “I’m tired of you belittling my passions.”

With that, he merely chucked, making my blood boil. “Well, sweetie, writing isn’t—it’s not a career, you know? You can only be a writer if you get famous and get a lot of money. If anything, it’s more of a hobby. And hey, I’m not knocking it down or anything—if you become famous, that’s great! Keep at it.”

“I love writing and helping people. And I don’t have to be famous to be considered a good writer or a good anything,” I countered just as quickly. 

“So what, you’d throw away a great salary in IT for pennies? You’re already working a minimum wage job which is already disappointing, but now you want to go into two jobs that don’t even pay well? You don’t even know if you’ll make it, and you never let me read any of your work anyway. Who knows if you’re actually any good?”

I felt my heart drop at those sentences, and for a second, we were both quiet. I’d gotten many compliments on my writing before, but to hear from a family member that they don’t think you’ll make it in the industries you love... it breaks a part of you.

He sighed softly. “I’m sorry, munchkin. I just—I don’t want you to get your hopes up or—“

“Or what, dad? Or disappoint you again? Do you have any idea how hard I tried?”

“Well, obviously you didn’t try hard enough. If you did, you’d be known now or have a degree.”

It felt like with each word he spoke, the air got sucked out of my lungs and my heart broke a little bit more. I now remembered why I disliked talking to him.

“Look, all I’m saying is you need to either find a different career or try harder. It’s the least you could do after dropping out.”

I pressed the End Call button as hard as I could.

Oh God it hurt.

Why the hell didn’t he believe in me? I was a good writer—or a decent one at that, considering I’d gotten writing requests and compliments before—and he just dismissed it. He dismissed all the things I wanted to do, all the things I was passionate about and I’d never be good enough for him. 

I stifled a sob as I raked my hands through my hair, doing my best to breathe. He thought I was a failure.

I inhaled, then exhaled, then inhaled, then exhaled.

Through blurry vision, I stared at the blank page. I slowly felt my jaw clench as I exhaled a shaky breath, the rims of my eyes red as my thoughts raced.

You’ll never make it as a writer.

They pay writers pennies.

If you go into social work, teaching, or writing, I’m not paying for your education.

You’ll be a starving artist. 

Then, I typed:

To my dad and to everyone who I’m going to prove wrong.

Sincerely, me

June 18, 2020 21:51

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Doubra Akika
21:22 Aug 09, 2020

This was amazing! Loved that even with all the obstacles in her way, she chose to write. Takes determination! Wonderful job!


Maria Gelman
02:39 Aug 11, 2020

Thank you so much! I 100% agree that it definitely takes determination to do so when so many things, plus family, are against a person. I did incorporate some things my own dad said in the story, so to hear that made my day haha. Again, thank you so much! I hope you have a great day! 😄❤️


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E. Jude
07:43 Aug 29, 2020

What a beautiful story! It seemed so realistic and descriptive that I really felt for the girl. The concept was also great and the title. Dialogue was good and the characters jumped at me from the laptop. Keep writing! You are very talented! I would love it if you could check out my stories too!!! XElsa


Maria Gelman
18:05 Aug 29, 2020

Thank you so much, it means a lot to me! I really put my heart and soul into this one. I’ll definitely check out yours! ❤️


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16:14 Jul 24, 2020



Maria Gelman
20:14 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you! ❤️


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