Work Too Late for Bedtime Stories?
Dad Says Maybe You Should Write One, Instead
M.J. Rusaw never lacked the desire to be a good father and do all the little things for his daughter, like read her bedtime stories and tuck her in at night.
The only problem was that he was divorced and his daughter lived with her mother on the other side of the country. The former Air Force enlisted man -- who was awarded a medal for his service in 1985 -- visited as often as work and finances would allow, but he missed out on that personal time. So, he thought of another way to give her attention, even when he was away.
Instead of reading her bedtime stories, he wrote her one. In fact, he spent 9 years writing one that he would send her or read to her over the phone in small pieces over time, until he finally finished it. Then he published it, and put his now grown-up daughter on the cover as one of the lead characters in his fantasy epic, The Tides of Eternity (www.thetidesofeternity.com).
“While the media is filled with stories of parents not carrying their weight, I believe that most parents love their children and want the best for them,” Rusaw said. “The problem is that modern life isn’t getting any easier. Some families have both parents working two jobs each just to keep a roof over their families’ heads. Some are single parent households, or shared custody situations, which makes finding those little moments difficult. So, I would squirrel away time when I wasn’t with my daughter to write a bedtime story. I figured if I couldn’t be there to read them, maybe writing one that I could share when we were together would show my daughter how much I cared.”
Rusaw took his inspiration for the story in equal parts from his love for his daughter and the childhood joy he remembered from reading fantasy novels by authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. He remembered the day he flew his daughter in for a visit after her 21st birthday, and showed her the final manuscript.
“She went upstairs and read it all the way through,” he said. “When she came down, she was laughing and jumping and crying all at the same time, and she ran into my arms.That’s when I knew that all the time I had spent over the years had been worth it. I may have missed a lot of the little moments, but in making the extra effort, I found that my story had helped us bridge those years together. If we couldn’t be together in reality, then my story would give us a fantasy world we could share even when I couldn’t be there.”
He added that his message for parents in situations similar to his is similar to the one he embedded in the story he wrote for his daughter.
“I wanted her to know that a hero lives in every heart,” he said. “As a parent, I’ve always wanted to be my daughter’s hero, but initially I felt the circumstances of us living so far apart would prevent me from ever proving that to her. Now I know that the power of the heart trumps just about everything -- money, distance and even time are powerless against it. Every parent simply needs to harness that power in their own way, so they can show their children that a hero lives in their hearts, as well.”
Scraps of Life Book Club Review: While I must first admit that I don't read a lot of fantasy books, I do have a certain mind set when it comes to the genre. When I was handed the book to read, I really thought I didn't have to look past the cover to know what this book would be. That is why I was so surprised by the book,The Tides of Eternity by M. J. Rusaw.
This book doesn't fit with my normal concept of fantasy fiction for several reasons. The most glaringly obvious reason is that a main character is God. Having God in a position of power and authority in a fantasy book took me by surprise. To take this change from "normal" fantasy even farther, the main character is female, and she is no shrinking violet! She is brave, faithful and courageous. I love that there is an absence of some of the negative influences in normal fantasy fiction writing and is really just the story of an adventure, a journey taken while remaining in the hands of our faithful God.
I struggled a bit with the language of the book. It is written in such a way to make it sound appropriate for the time. I think if I were more of a regular fantasy reader, I would have had less difficulty.
On the front cover of the book, it describes the story as "a fairy tale for grown ups", and I think it works very well in that role, however, I wouldn't pigeon hole it that way and am planning to add it to my 12 year old son's "To Be Read" stack. He enjoys fantasy fiction, and I will enjoy relaxing while he reads this one.
On an interesting note, while I was reading this book I discovered that there are several high tech options for fans to express themselves, talk to other fans of the books, and visit with the author!
If you are curious about The Tides of Eternity, it is worth looking it up on facebook to see what M. J. Rusaw has to say to fans, and thoughts about a future book.
The other thing we thought was interesting with this book is that the author wrote it for his daughter. Very touching.
About the author, M.J. Rusaw
In 1978, M.J. Rusaw enlisted in the United States Air Force, served nine years and achieved the rank of E-6 Technical Sergeant. He received the Air Force Achievement Medal for heroism in 1985 for his efforts at the scene in helping to save the life of a fellow Sergeant who had become a work center shooting victim, and went on to be selected as the 1986 Aircraft Maintenance Professional of the year for the First Tactical Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Over the more than 20 years since leaving the service, he has worked for DynCorp International as a contractor on Patuxent River Naval Air Station, first as an Aircraft Electrician at the United States Naval Test Pilot School, and currently as an Electronics Technician III at the Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Site.
Thanks to the sponsor for providing a copy of the book for the purpose to post an honest review of the book. Our own tasty words and opinions are expressed here.