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“Rad Dad Feature: Scott Bourne”

In my circles, Scott Bourne needs no introduction.  One of the most stylish, and creative skateboarders to ever set his foot on a skateboard, he could have held his head high with his legacy left in the skateboard world.  Though Scott is, and has always been much more than just a skateboarder.  After years of living in a room devoid of the sun, Scott made a new life for himself, outside of the confines of skateboarding.  He left the skateboard world at a time where corporate involvement was just too much to bear, and skateboarding had turned into something almost unrecognizable.  Years later I found that Scott settled in Paris and described his times in that windowless room with his first novel, A Room With No Windows.  When I received a copy of that book I never put it down once I started the very first line.  It is an amazing novel about living life, that summarizing does no great justice to.

Scott is a sincere, honest and caring person, who inspires all those who look or listen.  It was an absolute pleasure to be able to talk with Scott, learn a little more about him, and have him continue to inspire me through his words and actions.  He is a dedicated father, husband, poet, writer, artist and it is my honor to be able to share this “rad dad feature” with you.  For those of you that know of him, you will be delighted to hear his take on parenting, and for those that don’t please get to know a truly amazing individual, Scott Bourne.

Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?

I am a writer, published poet and novelist currently dabbling in children’s books and I am at present shopping a screenplay but I am not sure that I have a career at all… writing is my work. I have always said that a job is what you do for money and work is what you do for yourself and since I am not making a living as a writer I am able to remain hard at work. If truth be told, I make my living as a model but I am not sure I am even looking for a career there. Modeling is something that came to me and has given me the opportunity to balance my life in several ways. Before my son was born it allowed me to spend long hours alone at a desk, which is a central element if one wants to be a writer. Now it allows me to spend long hours with my son. I am the only father I know that gets to spend as much time with his child as I do. This is a luxury for me and at the same time I have had to drastically limit my work hours to do it. With that said I would also like to add that our child is my greatest work of art and what kind of artist would I be if I screwed that up by not giving him the proper time he needs to develop. A novel is not written over night, it must be lived, learned, cultivated… created. A man is much the same. I am helping our son create himself. Wasn’t it Rousseau that said: “…the human race would have perished if man had not begun as a child.”

What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?

I am not sure there is too much modern about me at all. I have no cellphone. There is no T.V. in our home, no Ipads or digital cameras. I am not a fan of the Internet or the wave of homogenized cloned culture it has created. I am not part of any social media group and don’t care to have second to second updates from friends or companies and hate that the two have somehow become confused. I do all my work on paper with a pen or typewriter and even though my wife and I live in the same home, we write each other letters and mail them. I like things that are personal and have a flesh of their own. If there is anything modern about us as parents it’s the simple fact that like many other couples in our time we are completely displaced from the family unit, which is to say we are raising our child without their help. There are no grandparents or cousins and uncles down the road or even in the same town. This is one of the greatest social phenomenon of our time. We, much like the rest of our generation, no longer have close family units.

How did becoming a father change your life?

I used to always wonder how the world got the way it is and now I don’t anymore. As a father I go to the sandbox everyday and play with my son. I watch the parents and nannies. I see what they do or what they don’t do or how they are often there but with their fingers in a phone and their ears stuffed with plugs. I watch the children and what they do and how the parents handle it or do nothing at all. Spending day after day with my son in this sort of social situation it’s become easy to watch class and code develop. I can pick out the displaced children and all sorts of social stigmata arising. Lines are being drawn very early. Every single roll their lives will take on is being set down in the sand. I know many of the children by name and have never once seen their parents, and when I finally meet them they are usually disturbed that I know their child’s name and he/she is eager to play with me and my son. We live in a pretty international place and even at a young age I watch peers teaching racism and hate. We have French, Chinese, Spanish, English, American, German, Russian, Ukrainian, and even homeless Gypsy kids (which is hopeless and unimaginable in itself) that live throughout the district. My point is that I never knew that being a parent would somehow show me how the world got this way! Now I know, it’s all world politics from the sandbox, all one has to do is observe.

What’s the greatest part about being a dad?

I live in my own secret world with my son. Together we travel the universe. We go places and share things that no one else could possibly understand or participate in, and I don’t bore my friends that do not have kids with any of those travels and moments. They will one day know for themselves or they may never know. It’s the most intimate relationship I have ever had with any human being, more intimate than the one I have with his mother. One moment I am a bird, the next a Fire truck or a Von Trapp. We take the boulevard with a do, re, mi, and the war around us becomes insignificant!

Can you share a funny story about being a father?

This is actually one of the things he did when he was not quite two and something I have written into a children’s story that is at present being illustrated by Andrew Pommier. We were walking through one of the long boulevard parks that you have all over Paris. Although dogs are allowed in restaurants and often sit in the patron’s laps, they are not allowed in the parks. Tennessee is holding my hand and we see a little old lady up ahead with a dog on a leash. When the dog starts to poop, she merely turns her head and pretends that she does not see it dropping mud right in the middle of the walkway. It’s in this moment that my son breaks away from me and runs towards the squatting dog. By this time the turd is dangling beneath his tail and just before it drops, Tennessee kicks it out from under his little butt and it flies through the air. In my mind it literally turned into a football and I watched as it passed through a field goal and I became the proud father whose son had just scored the game winning point. No sooner has this event occurred than he is jumping up and down pointing at the poop screaming “caca papa, caca papa”. As any human with a heart might imagine I began laughing hysterically. However, the old lady saw absolutely no humor in any of this and immediately began to scold me. And for a moment I felt like a little boy who had done something wrong and it actually took me a moment to pull myself together. I looked up and saw Tennessee looking stern and even angry and realized that we had changed places. I was the big him and he was the little me. No sooner had I seen his face than I turned back towards the lady and told her what she could do with her little dog. Things like this seem to happen everyday and they are what I have based one of my children’s books around. I love that my son has somehow become my muse.

What advice can you give any new father out there?

Don’t take anyone’s advice. You are a natural fathering force and have already been given the god granted gift of a superhuman ability to understand your child that no one else on the godforsaken planet has. Just LISTEN to it. If you feel something – react to it. Do not question yourself or what anyone else around you thinks, especially society. Look at the mass of dullards that thing has produced. Your child will speak to you in unimaginable ways and believe it or not, you ARE equipped to hear his/her tiny secret voice. This is the magic in it all, the gift if you will! So don’t miss it worrying about what all the others will think, or plugged into some gadget!

Thanks so much Scott, it means a great deal to me that you took part in this feature, and I wish you continued success in everything you do.  I’m already looking forward to that children’s book, and can’t wait to have a copy in my hands!  Thank you!

For a short documentary about Scott’s writing: http://vimeo.com/64647082
 
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