Letter From the Dads & Families Editor

New Dads & Families Editor seeks stories about what it means to be a dad

Sometimes she asks how her brother almost wasn’t a baby; other times she’ll ask how she came out purple and silent. She asks what my dog was like, what my mom was like, what all the dead people were like. Sometimes I tell her about the thunderstorm that brought her mom and I together, the road trips that made our family our family. Sometimes she’ll want a new story, and I’ll tell it, because these stories let me comb her hair.

It took me five years to adopt this trick (maybe three, since the first two years she was bald as her daddy). It proves once again that parenting is an investment in learning that pays dividends of understanding.

It is this understanding, through story, anecdote, revelation, exploration, confessional, that made me start Experiments in Manhood in 2011. Home with the kids four of the five days while my wife saves lives as a cardiac cath nurse (I hole up in the basement to tell stories to the spiders, venturing out to teach when there’s enough enrollment), there was a need to share the parenting experience from the dads’ point of view. I wanted to write the kind of stuff I wanted to read. It was natural to start seeking submissions (I’m not that interesting or clever to post a parenting essay every Sunday.) Whatever portrayal of stay-at-home dads in the media, (this year alone, the NY Times, CNN, Fox News all featured how the number of SAHDs has doubled in the last decade), I wanted to talk to dads about being a dad.

There’s an urgency to parenting, an undeniable sense of time passing, so much so that the only brake from uttering “It goes so fast” is because of every parent that has said it before you. The paradox of this urgency is that it leaves little time to reflect, process, and engage. So comes the blog, filling a void in what remains of men’s magazines, which so frequently substitute gloss and gadgetry for substance. Then comes the Good Men Project, a multimedia initiative like no other, setting sail in the shifting winds of cultural change—in reading, and in dad’s roles in the family.

When a friend forwarded the opportunity to edit the Dads & Families section at the Good Men Project, I went all in. Here was an opportunity to engage in a diverse global community actively exploring and sharing what it means to be a man in the 21st Century. And the backbone of this immense community was—and is—story.

Specifically, first person narratives—raw, honest, specific, insightful—designed to give readers a distinct glimpse of dadhood. The Dads & Families section will also have news in all its permutations: original source-based reporting, reactions to breaking news, reviews and responses to dad literature and art, Q&As, product reviews, convention coverage—anything and everything that adds to this conversation about what it means to be a dad.

This conversation is not limited to dads. While that subject will remain, there are many interpretations to it, many perspectives to be represented, from granddaughters and grandfathers, adoptees and surrogates, sons and fathers—I’m open to anything that illuminates an aspect of the experience. As a community-based resource, the content and the dialogue will be shaped by the community.

Let’s comb each other’s metaphoric hair, work out all the knots and brambles and see what we’ve got to work with. Submissions of 500-1500 words (we’re flexible: quality over quantity) can be sent to [email protected]. If you have a blog or piece previously published—and you retain the rights—and would like to cross promote on the Good Men Project, submit. Questions, ideas, clarifications, news, stories—submit.

Thanks for reading,

Robert Duffer

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About Robert Duffer

Robert Duffer (www.robertduffer.com) is the editor of the Dads & Families section of The Good Men Project. Winner of the Chicago Public Library's writing contest, his work appears in the Chicago Tribune, MAKE Magazine, Chicago Reader, Curbside Splendor, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio, Annalemma, New City, and other coffee-table favorites like Canadian Builders Quarterly. He teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and lives in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and their minivan. Follow @DufferRobert, Google+, facebook.

Comments

  1. Tom Matlack says:

    Welcome aboard brother! Nice van…

  2. Looking forward to sending in a submission, right after we finish our book (should be done in three weeks!)

  3. So great to see this section starting at the GMP! I look forward to being inspired.

    cheers,
    judah

Trackbacks

  1. [...] For the redesigned Dads & Families section, I’m hoping to build out the strong base of contributors with first person narratives—raw, honest, specific, insightful—designed to give readers a distinct glimpse of dadhood. The Dads & Families section will also have news in all its permutations: original source-based reporting, reactions to breaking news, reviews and responses to dad literature and art, Q&As, product reviews, convention coverage—anything and everything that adds to this conversation about what it means to be a dad. There’s more on this ambition at my first post. [...]

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