Authors have to contend with many decisions after a publisher picks up a novel. There is an author photograph to be taken, a website to be created or updated, fine edits back and forth between author and publisher, perhaps an author package designed to help the author reflect on what resources they have or could have to promote their book, acknowledgements geared for giving credit where credit is due, and that page where the author might dedicate their book to someone. 

For me, this was, and was not an easy decision. There is family to consider, long-standing friends, even a husband who, with good reason, might expect to see himself on that page. Bombing the moon is my first book. It’s felt like a special achievement and I know that sounds obvious. But if you knew my dad, you’d understand more of what I mean. 

After the second World War, Wilfred George Chislett went to Carleton University to become a journalist. He moved from Ottawa to Winnipeg and married my mother. From there, when I was wee, he worked at the now defunct Winnipeg Tribune, as editor. Later, he began his own public relations business. He had an office downtown, then later worked from home. I still remember him typing madly on one of those old-style typewriters. I don’t think he knew I could hear him, but he swore a lot when he hit the wrong key.

He’d often talk to me about my studies as I was a literature major at the University of Winnipeg. I also studied a little philosophy and history and he was glad to discuss difficult texts. Heidegger. When was the last time a family member discussed Heidegger with you? He even gave me my essay title for that reading; “Obscurity for the Obscure.”

He dreamed of writing something more literary. He tried his hand at a short story about a family at the cottage and a bear. I have a vague memory, many years ago, when I was small, of being told to remain inside the cottage. Of course I ran out, and unless I dreamt this, there was a bear on his hind legs standing in the ditch on the other side of the road. My dad screamed for me to get back inside.

He read three newspapers a day. There was always a supply of books to read. I remember very young thinking that I’d like to be a writer when I grew up. We’d discuss stories. He told me about an idea and I told him how I pictured the scene in my mind. When I was through describing what I saw, he said, “that’s just how I saw it too.” It’s nice to think that someone in the world “gets” you; that imaginations and temperaments align. Cliche perhaps, I admit.

As I pound away on book number two, I think its a shame that my dad, in particular, isn’t around to see this. Of course, my mother and brother Matt who passed away would be proud also. My brother Mark came to my book launch with his wife, Karen, and my niece and nephew, Shawn and Kevin, were there too. There are many people to be thankful for and their inspiration is immeasurable. But Wilf, if able to attend the launch, would have been beside himself in the happiest way. Overcome. So though it’s hard to leave some loved ones off the dedication page, it had to be “for dad.”