HOW TO TELL YOUR FAMILY THAT
YOU’RE WRITING A MEMOIR
“MY MISSHAPEN SKATEBOARDING BOOK HAD BECOME A BOOK ABOUT, WELL, US”
I didn’t intend for it to be a memoir. I swear. It just kept tilting in that direction.
The only scenes that felt real and true were those with my wife and two sons. Still, it took a few years of writing my way in and out of corners and dead ends before I stopped referring to my book as a “history of skateboarding with bits of personal narrative,” before I understood and started calling it what it was: a family memoir, a story about fatherhood and raising boys.
I’m not sure how far along I was before I came clean and told my family that dad’s misshapen skateboarding book had become a book about, well . . . us. The secret grew inside me until I finally admitted to my sons, Sean and Leo, to my wife, Mary, and to myself that the story had evolved, grown more personal, more cathartic for me but more fraught for us all.
When we had “the talk,” my kids and my wife were understanding and generous in ways that I’ll never be able to repay. But coming clean was just the beginning.