Submissions are now closed. Feel free to submit ideas for a future collection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Submitting Content
- The Theme
- How broadly is “disability” being defined for this book?
- Do the stories have to be written by fathers?
- But aren’t many experiences shared by moms and dads alike?
- Hold on, isn’t this selfish to talk about the father’s perspective? What about the mother? The person with a disability themselves?
- So this book isn’t for women?
- Not a “how-to” for a process (such as an IEP or government advocacy event)
- Not an “anti-anything” rant
- Framing the essays
- Sample topics in progress / Essay Length
- “Moral of the story” implications and suggested discussion topics
- Poems and the Poetry contest
- Payment and Ownership
- Especially Seeking
- Communicating with Gary Dietz, the author and editor
This book will collect essays by fathers and about fathers whose child (young child or adult child) experiences a disability. These essays will usually explore either a temporal or physical event or transition point in a father’s life as well as emotional events that may or may not be tied to an event.
For example, reflections on events such as birth, first diagnosis, first operation, first visit with a psychologist, first conversation after diagnosis with [parent or friend or boss or wife], first disparaging comment experienced about his child, first day at school, last day at school, and many others.
Less “actual event” reflections include stories about planning for the future, on what fatherhood meant before and now, the transition from one perception of manhood to another, reflections on friendship and community, and zooming in on a father’s feelings during small, everyday moments that Dads of typically developing children wouldn’t usually notice in the same way.
Anything from an intellectual challenge to a physical challenge to an emotional challenge. Born with the disability or acquired later in life through illness or accident.
I understand the sensitivity around certain issues being a “disability” or not can be a hot button. For example, having autism (or being autistic if you prefer) or being a part of the Deaf community — some folks don’t define certain ranges of the human experience as “disability” per-se.
For the context of this book, almost any experience or condition or trait that is generally considered to be a disability, as long as the story is an authentic one with a father’s voice (or written for a father) is fair game.
The stories do not have to be written by fathers, though most will be. They can be written by uncles, wives, step-parents, children with or without disabilities about their father, community workers, or medical or developmental professionals. The sole thread is that the stories have to be for or about a male parenting perspective.
Of course. The stories in this book may contain things that moms or kids themselves experience. But in this book, these stories will explore fathers perspective and thoughts. Other issues may be solely the prerogative of fathers.
Hold on, isn’t this selfish to talk about the father’s perspective? What about the mother? The person with a disability themselves?
I fully recognize and embrace that the mother, the siblings, and most importantly the young child or adult child with a disability has a perspective as well. And in the case of the individual with the disability him or herself, I acknowledge that perspective is probably even more important than the fathers.
However, there are a lot of books and support groups and essays for mothers. There are fewer, but still quite a few for, by, and about individuals with disabilities themselves. There are very few story collections and sources to directly support fathers. This collection is trying to address that issue.
Actually, I am hoping the book will be very useful to women, men whose children don’t experience a disability, and folks with disabilities themselves.
I hope to showcase essays that explore fathers authentic feelings and experiences in such a way that that others can engage those fathers in new ways. This is especially important for the kinds of fathers who are quiet and are reticent to share.
The essays in this book are not meant as “how to” guides for processes for insurance, school or government advocacy, or how to manage insurance companies. There are other sources for those kind of things.
This book will not contain “anti-anything” rants or lists of the bad things others – of any group – have done. Essays will be authentic and not shirk controversy, but they will not be about putting other groups down. Only exploring fathers perspectives on issues.
There is a lot of literature out there that is book-length personal narrative about fathers and families with disability. This book will not attempt in any one essay to cover a person’s life or disability from birth to death.
Instead, most of the essays will hone in on a particular life occurrence specific to fathers whose child has a disability. Essays will inform and hopefully entertain a reader about what that dad was experiencing during that particular time. Most importantly, the stories will help inspire future discussions between readers and their loved ones and friends about their own stories that have similarities to the ones in the book. Even if they disagree with the outcomes or approach shown in the book, the idea is that the stories will spur authentic discussion.
Essays can be micros-essays (a few paragraphs to a page) or up to 2000 or 2500 words or more. Here are two short summaries of essays in progress to give you an idea of the kinds of approach I have in mind. Of course, I’m open to other approaches too.
Coffee, Tea, or God? An experience a Dad had on an airplane while bringing his son to the lavatory. With humor, this story shows the challenges of a trip to the bathroom on 737. On a deeper level, it explores issues about God and pre-destination and if and how to respond to an uninvited religious perspective that you may or may not share.
Boxes in the Night An experience a Dad had in the middle of a rainy night with his autistic son. This story illustrates how listening to a persons needs doesn’t always match up to what you are “taught” about parenting a typically developing child and what the general public may say or expect.
Yes, poems can be submitted. I’ll actually soon be starting a poetry contest, which will be the route to get poems in this volume. It will be judged by poet and author Marly Youmans. More on this to come.
A small stipend between $25 and $100 will be paid for each piece (a bit more if the Kickstarter is funded). Many authors at this point are not asking for payment for community or other reasons. Individual, short agreements will be signed between each author and Gary Dietz, Dads of Disability author and publisher.
Gary will retain all rights to the stories for use in this and future editions and other forms of print and online media including spoken word, film, blogs, and future editions. If the writer desires, mutual rights for the individual to re-sell or reprint the piece in another form or source will be granted 18 months after the physical release of the book.
The submitter (you) and the author (Gary) will execute a short agreement. Submitters must attest to the fact that the materials are their own, have not been published elsewhere (or if they have been published elsewhere that they still have the rights to assign to me for this project exclusively for the next 18 months). The details about this topic in this short FAQ should not be viewed as a contract. Only signed agreements between submitter and author shall be binding.
Yes, drawings can be submitted. Acceptance of drawings depends on content and the complexity of the drawing and if it can reproduce well with the print-on-demand partner I’ll be using to print the book.
I seek essays by fathers who themselves experience disability who have children with disabilities. I seek stories by fathers of color, of Asian descent, and of non-white races. I seek experiences of fathers of all economic and cultural backgrounds. I realize as a writer and an editor, I will introduce my own biases. I hope to get as many authentic voices included to minimize my bias as much as possible.
Schedule? The Kickstarter for this project will commence near the start of July 2013 (animated Kickstarter video is in progress). The book itself is targeted for completion no later than early 2014 (earlier if the Kickstarter is very successful). I’m open to rolling discussions / submissions of pieces. And in the best of cases, good pieces not used in the first book will be used in a follow-up edition.
This book is not currently my full-time job and email and phone communications may take place outside of normal business hours. I am in the EST time zone, “New York” time (I don’t live in NY).