Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller


August 13, 2011

I was never allowed to call you that. You thought it made me sound juvenile. I’m a full grown adult now, and I do what I want, Daddy.

I wanted to tell you about my day. This isn’t new. Its really all I ever wanted. I’m liking this you being dead thing, at the moment, because I can actually sit here and tell my daddy about what things look like in my life.

I’ve gotten in the habit of spending my days off alone. Its taken a lot of practice. But I really like it. Mostly. I’ve learned that I can now count on myself to enjoy my own company. I get an honest kick out wandering around the city trying to find things to do that could put a smile on my face. Where before, I needed another person to be there to enjoy me, if I was enjoying them or what we were doing was way less important.  A smile on my face was not even a consideration. The mere fact that they had me along validated my worth or something? The smile on their face was the objective. I was almost lost without it. Don’t ask me why I’m telling you this.

My day started off a little hairy. I wasn’t crazy about myself or the looming prospect of an entire day alone with me. I assembled a “cute” outfit anyway and put on my earrings. That’s a lasting lesson you imparted that I don’t feel the need to let go of. I wear earrings everyday, and wouldn’t feel dressed without them. Therapy at 2 was a given and a real chore these days that is next to impossible to look forward to. The bank. Maybe yoga. Eat something. Am I boring you? It’s not the most thrilling existence, but it is mine.

I met a director friend of mine to talk future projects over coffee and an everything bagel. I’m writing a lot of things that I would be mortified to invite you to. Just as you kept parts of yourself from me, I’m way too exposed in this work to dream of letting you witness it. Good thing you can’t. “See Jane Give Up Dick” might have killed you.

I took the noon yoga class which started late and felt rushed and unsatisfying. My new favorite thing to do is to fight the poses and hold on to as much tension as possible. Release, letting go, something I only arrive at when tricked or exhausted. My determination won today.

Then a rushed Falafel in the west village on a park bench in the shade followed by therapy. I didn’t talk about you that much today. Always a clear sign that I probably needed to. My other new favorite thing to do is talk about everything else but you in therapy, leaving only the last five or ten minutes to get emotional. A  very wise thing to do with my money, I know. Just because my therapist and I are aware I’m doing it, doesn’t mean I have to stop. Yes, I’m in therapy because of you. Are you surprised?

My other director friend texted me, I think you would love texts dad, that she could get me into see her sold out show downtown. I decided to kill the time in between with a terrible movie that no one would want to see with me, “The Change Up.” You might have liked it. Two childhood friends change lives “magically.” Its like “Freaky Friday” but with sex jokes. There was entirely too much female nudity which was probably suppose to make up for the sacchariney sweet lesson about appreciating ones life. Its what they are calling a “Bro-mance”, which is after your time, and a genre of films about male feelings and the affection heterosexual men have for one another. The match-up is always an over sexed, lude, asshole with an over sensitive, responsible pushover and we laugh as they learn from each other. I’m kinda obsessed with them because. Well, because. I can fantasize about what you would have been like if you had an overly sweet friend to tame your jerky tendencies.

I then rushed to see the play my friend had directed, Bluebird at the atlantic theater company. This is really what I wanted to talk to you about. It reminded me why I got into theater in the first place. Huge sweeping themes and giant ideas mixed with cathartic emoting. This was all present in this production, but veiled in subtlety, simplicity and honest directness. I’m still amazed how the mere act of people, being people on a stage, saying things to each other and hearing what others have said to them can be so profoundly moving. Live theater has the power to touch you. It physically moves you. I have you to thank for needing to discover this world in order to escape from mine.

Finding theater was a gift, better than any crown royal bag you ever gave me. It was my own haven. A place where family existed. A world where feeling things was rewarded. Usually with praise and applause. It was were it was safe to talk about all those things no one cares to mention in real life. Death, abuse, addiction. Ambition, greed, betrayal. Loneliness, regret, hope, love. God. Theater became my sanctuary. It was a holy place where I was welcomed and invited to feel. Laugh, cry, cry some more.

I sobbed tonight. Silently. In the dark. The man in the play was a writer turned cab driver and looked like you, the way all sad men with a secret look like you to me. And he was trying to overcome his guilt for having let his drinking ruin his daughters life. He quite literally killed her, but the metaphor is what shook me. He asks for amends from his daughter’s mother. Attempts to prove that he spent the last five years of his life working to somehow make it up to her, to undo this thing he could never undo. He missed the young, innocent, helpless girl so deeply and quietly, the way only a man could, that I sobbed. I missed you. And sobbed.

I miss you. I was able to forgive this man his shortcomings and thus you, yours. I forgive you your shortcomings, Daddy. And I cried long and hard about it. I cried for your lost life. I cried for my lost life. I cried for mom. I cried for Gillian. I just cried. In a way that I have never cried about this. I cried for your pain tonight dad.

I got that it probably wasn’t easy for you, the whole being a drunk and dieing thing, was it?

I left the theater and cried some more. Walked a few blocks. Cried. Walked a few more blocks. Cried a few more tears. I’m cried out at the moment. But I’m still so sad about all of this. I might never not be. Its so senseless and unfair.

Tonight I had a little theater to aid in making some sense of it all. I had always thought there was no use crying about it. I was wrong. I feel better somehow.

I love you. So much. I miss you, Daddy, now more than ever,

Always yours,


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Categories: Letters I Will Never Send

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