Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
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Aphelion Editorial 057

March 2002

The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...

by Dan L. Hollifield

Hello and welcome!

This month the staff and I wanted to catch up on both our backlogs of work and our off-line lives. So this Aphelion can be considered a "greatest hits" issue. Each section editor slaved away to pick out the most memorable submissions they'd seen. I think that they did quite well, considering the number of stories and poems that Aphelion has accumulated over the years. You might disagree with their various picks as being the absolute best, but I bet that you'll be entertained nonetheless. (Dissenters can post their own "best of" lists in the Lettercol, if they want.)

And as an example of how life can get really busy, for the last four days my girlfriend and I have been babysitting her year-old grandson. Aside from being tired out from walking, rocking, and chasing the baby boy, I've been watching him see the world for the first time. Its a positive joy to see his eyes light up when he figures out a new toy, or to watch him bob and dance when the radio plays a good song. I've been having a great time playing grandpa while his Mom recovers from her bout with the flu and his Dad, my girlfriend's son, is working. The couple are separated, and are trying to reconcile, but they're both just young kids themselves and argue a lot. They're both working hard for the child and are both being reasonable about his care and expenses. Pretty cool folks, all in all. I'm just sad that they can't make the marriage work for arguing- but for both of them, the baby comes first. That says a lot for them both.

Well, the baby is on his way home to Momma as of a few minutes ago as I write this, so my adventure in parenting in over for now... But I remain forever ready to return to grandpa duty at any time. Its fun, except for when it reminds me of what I missed not having any kids of my own. But that's just life. Speaking of which, my sister and her husband are expecting their first child in a few months, and my brother's wife's daughter (step-niece?) is also expecting at nearly the same time... Looks like I'm going to get a chance to do a lot more babysitting in the future. Good thing I'm not really all that old yet, eh? I've still got energy enough to be Uncle and Grandpa, as well as Godfather to half a dozen or more kids ranging in age from 2 to 14. Hey, I've been at this babysitting bit for over 30 years. I've helped raise nearly 20 kids over the years- I even remember when diapers were all made out of cotton, had to be put on with pins, and had to be washed out after "use". You readers with children may take these new disposable diapers with tape to close them for granted, but us old fogies remember when times were a bit rougher. But times do change, and my own child-like personality helps me make friends with the children in my life. My friends' children all flock to me as if I were the Universal Uncle, and have done for decades. I don't know what it is that I've got, but St. Francis can have it back anytime. {grin} In any case, it looks like all this training is paying off again, but the smile of a child as you read them a bedtime story or rock them to sleep to quiet music- That's priceless. And as a reward, its finer than spun gold. And seeing them discover some new aspect of the world for the first time is almost as priceless as when you were a child, making the same discovery.

Now, as a writer, you just know that I'm rolling this stuff up on a fork and eating it as if it were so much soft fudge. To see the world through new eyes? Isn't that what fictioneering is all about? So I'm cheating- a little. Still, the smile of a child... Isn't that the reward I was after when I started writing? And everything I see him learn, I learn all over again. And if I'm smart, I can learn something from this to make my writing better. I like the idea that I might have as much to learn from a child as I have to teach them.

I already found out one thing just today, the baby absolutely loves Pink Floyd. But then again, some things transcend age.

Thanks for your time.



2000 Dan L. Hollifield

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