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  • Writer's pictureblaine daigle

Fatherhood and 'The Broken Places"

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

We're a little over a month away from release, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about one of the main thematic ideas present in The Broken Places.

This is a story of how pain and grief change people on a fundamental level and how our society has reached a point where we essentially worship it almost on the level of a deity. But, even more than that, it is a story about fatherhood. About the sacrifices fathers will make for their children, and how that juxtaposes with the sacrifices some fathers force their children to make for them.

My father is who got me into horror in the first place. Two of the first movies I remember seeing were Jaws and Jurrasic Park. But the first time I really remember being completely absorbed by what was happening on the screen was when I sat down with my dad at nine years old to watch the 1979 version of Salems' Lot.

I was terrified. My blood ran cold. But above all, I was enthralled.

And scary stories kinda became our thing. I am incredibly lucky to even have a thing with my father. I was incredibly lucky to have a father who made sacrifices for me. Unfortunately, our world is full of children who don't have that opportunity, and I wanted to address that reality in the story.

It's also worth noting that I finished the first draft of the story literally sitting in the hospital following the birth of my second child while composing the rest of it in the months leading up to the delivery. I spent a lot of that time with my firstborn and thinking very hard about what kind of father I wanted to be. What I would do for my kids. For me, the answer was simple.


And then I thought about men who were raised without fathers, and I thought about the effect that heredity has on the decisions we make. What does it take for a man fully neglected, abused, abandoned, and misguided by the generation before to stop that cycle of misery? What sacrifice does that require? How many men in that position are willing to make that sacrifice? How far would a father go to ensure that the cycle stops with them?

These are fascinating questions, and I did my best to explore these ideas within The Broken Places. The truth is we live in a terrifying world. Much scarier than any horrors I could conjure from the depths of my imagination. Fatherhood terrifies me. It is the most important job I have, and the most fragile. It may one day require things from me that I don't even have yet. God, how badly I want to protect my kids from pain and grief, knowing damn well that I can't...and maybe shouldn't. Perhaps they need to feel it.

And what about that? Knowing it might be necessary to step aside and let your child feel pain. How do you reconcile that? How do I look my four-year-old in the eyes and know that as much as I love him, I need to raise him, too? Even if that means standing by the two most important things in my life and letting them experience this world and all its cruelty?

Like I said. It terrifies me.

All I can lean back on is the standard set by my own father. The image accompanying this post was painted by him when I asked him to paint me a picture for my website. He did it in two days. Because he wanted to. For me.

And maybe that's the secret to it all.



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