Writing the Book

Written on:July 10, 2011
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In loving memory of William Douglas Hooker, my dad.

I loved to study the way my father wrote.
There was a rhythm to his writing.
Sometimes I would catch him deep in thought, pen and legal pad in his lap.
I imagined him auditioning words in his mind.
I imagined British vernacular dancing leisurely in his head with American didactic terminology,
Each word tranquilly searching for its place in his remarkable narrative.
Each hoping for its step in his rhythm.

My father nurtured his words carefully.
He was never in a hurry.
He gave each word proper consideration and guided each one to maximize its full potential.
Dad saw value in all of his words and hoped to find a place for each one to shine with the full majesty of the sun beaming over the English countryside.
His words were his students, his children, his peers.
He treated them as equals and inspired the simplest pronoun to dream as big as the most scholarly adjective.
Dad filled his days with his words, from morning lectures to afternoon tea.

My father and I used to always talk about writing something together.
But he got sick and there just wasn’t time.
When I came home from Detroit, Dad was writing the book about his experiences in World War II.
While I was home, I helped him finish writing the book.
For days and weeks, I danced with his words; through my fingers, my mind, my heart.
His words glowed radiantly as they waltzed to the tune of a life well lived.
In some small way, helping him finish writing the book became for me the something that we had always talked about writing together.

I knew when we finished writing the book, Dad was ready to let go of his words.
He was ready to set down his pen and legal pad, and be nurtured to his final rest by the gentle, loving words of others.
We found the words to guide him peacefully through the final months and days by relying on the graceful example of the words he had given to us and so many.
My words, as well as those of countless others, will always dance to the rhythm of my father’s writing.

Written January 2006 in Georgetown, Texas

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