There’s a poem by Philip Larkin I’d like to share with you (he wrote it back when people still read poems, so you might have heard of it). It sounds the battle cry for those of us who suffer from “daddy issues:”
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you…
Here’s why this “Daddy” Issue is less about abandonment, and more about adaptation and embrace. It’s a bear hug, if you will—an acceptance of all the memories and associations, baseball games and aftershave, that we’ve scraped from the backs of our minds and presented on a day of good writing.
We’d like to thank you for all of it, daddy.
We wouldn’t be here if you were a crococodile or other deadbeat animal dad (pg. 38). You didn’t swallow us before we had a chance to develop an affinity for drugs, sex, and other forms of rabblerousing—you gave us half a brain to find our wild side. In doing so, we’ve learned to avoid your conservatism and Christianity, and the benefit of your collegiate legacy will still guarantee our admission to a top college (pg. 14).
When you haven’t provided us with money, as is culturally normative, you’ve provided us with a network of older men who are willing to support us (pg. 10), or alternatively worked your ass off to provide for us (pg. 6).
Now, I know what you’re thinking—this whole issue is going to be some kind of sardonic, Socratic dialogue that’s completely off-topic. But maybe that’s where we strike gold: we’ve even included a screenplay by Miles Griffis as an introduction to a new fiction section in Cipher where we’ll feature one creative piece per block (pg. 20).
Daddy, you’re our muse. And we are here to do you proud.
Hannah Fleming and the Cipher staff
Image by Walker Walls-Tarver