I’m a Writer. Daddy Said So.

It’s time.

I don’t know how I’m going to make it happen, I don’t know how I’m going to finish it, but … it’s time.

A little over a month ago, I finally launched The Caffeinated Advocate after saying for many years, “you know, I should run a blog.”

Years ago, I announced in front of over 700 people at the kickoff luncheon at Heinz Field for what was then known Pittsburgh’s “Walk Now for Autism” that I would be writing a book “someday” that shared our story. Thousands across the community know pieces of our story, including the devastating incident that led to Christian receiving his diagnosis of autism. I started writing a few chapters years ago. When I reached my seventh chapter, a few things happened:

1) I froze, because I reached the point where I had to relive April 2001, pouring buckets of salt into old and deep wounds that were very slow to heal.

2) A week later, I lost everything I had spent months writing because my portable drive was damaged and I had failed to backup the files to a hard drive (at the time, cloud computing wasn’t as much of “a thing”).

3) I decided that it wasn’t my time to write and publish a book, not only because I wasn’t ready to face the pain of 2001 but also because I felt like there was much more story to unfold.

Well, point three was certainly correct. So much has happened in the past ten years, and I’m glad I didn’t move forward at that time with sharing and publishing our story. Both Christian and I have evolved and are light years from where we were back then. I believe my book can and will have much more substance given where we both stand in 2018.


Some of my views have changed over the years since that powerful speech was delivered. We have both blossomed in extraordinary ways despite many unbelievable struggles.

Back then …I guess it wasn’t time.

In early 2009, my father was slowly (very slowly and very painfully) dying of many ailments. Don’t bother asking me what he died from, because there are at least six illnesses on his death certificate and who knows what else was running rampant in that poor body at the time of his passing. I remember a conversation with him one March evening where he asked me how my book was coming along. I told him “I can’t even get past Chapter Two!” I told him it was hard to make time to write, and that I wasn’t sure that I was qualified or ready to create a book. I did promise him though that someday, it would happen.

“You’re a writer, Kissie.”

(Yes, my childhood nickname was Kissie. Don’t ask and don’t judge.)

I remembered those words when I delivered Dad’s eulogy on July 18, 2009. I said that my Daddy told me I was writer, and I prayed that day that I didn’t disappoint as a speaker in front of a rather large group of people who gathered to mourn our loss.

Daddy said I’m a writer, and fathers don’t lie to their little girls. Well, they shouldn’t, anyhow.

In my heart, I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been told countless times that I am a good writer, a passionate writer, and a powerful writer. I come by the bug naturally having two parents who taught college level English classes (and one of whom enjoyed writing poetry, my sweet Daddy).

It’s time.

In my thirties, I set a few general goals for myself in terms of both deep personal recovery and strong professional growth. One of those goals was to write our story before my 40th birthday. Ok, so that might not happen. It’s March 13th, and August 23rd isn’t terribly far off. But goals can be adjusted and steps can be taken to propel forward. I just need to take that first step again.

Begin anywhere.

I do still have a chapter list, old speeches, and community presentations saved that can help me start to piece something together. The finished product may not be ready by August 2018. Oh hell, it might not be out by August 2019. But the only way to make progress is to … go. Always go – that’s what an old friend used to tell me.

It’s time.

Imprisoned No More – A Mother and Son’s Story of Recovery and Resilience

To be continued. I don’t lie to my Daddy.

Author: Catherine Hughes

Passionate Advocate. Innovative Storyteller. Engaging Strategist. Author. Editor. Blogger.

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