Go Ask Mom readers know that I features local moms in this space every Monday. But in June, in honor of Father's Day, I'll be featuring some local dads who are doing great things for their kids and others.
First up is Ryan Bliss, a Cary father of one, who emailed me about his children's poetry a few months ago. The lawyer by dad, poet by night posts his works on his website Mooseclumps and in just a few months has generated quite a following from around the world.
Just read a couple of his poems and it's easy to see why he's building a fan base. His work is everything from sweet to hilarious to silly to truly quirky. They immediately had me laughing out loud as I read through his site.
"My writing style is focused on the fact that ... I think kids are a lot smarter than a lot of children's authors give them credit for," said Bliss, who grew up reading poets Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky.
Bliss has always been an aspiring writer though he never exactly figured out what he wanted to write. When his son was born, he started making up poems for him. He had so many that he decided to write them down, adding doodles (reminiscent of Silverstein) to make it more interesting.
By the time his son was six or seven, Bliss had written so many down that his son asked him if he would try to turn it into a book. Bliss gave it a shot for a couple of years, sending his poems to publishers only to get rejected. He gave up for a bit, but then he remembered why his son wanted them in a book.
"He wanted to show the poems to his friends," Bliss tells me.
So in February, Bliss posted his work online at Mooseclumps (named after the clumps of fur left around the house by the family cat named Moose). There's even a Flash-based eBook that allows readers to flip through the poems online as if they were reading a book.
As things do online, word of Bliss's poetry grew. Pretty soon he was hearing from parents and teachers from around the country and the world.
"It's insane," he said.
Bliss finds inspiration from his son, 10-year-old Aiden. It might be something funny he says or something he does. The poem "The Staring Contest," for instance, was written after Aiden stared at the potato on his dinner plate. The family, which includes wife and mom Jessa, reads a lot too.
"Reading is a pretty big thing in the house," Bliss tells me.
Bliss continues to write, posting a new poem each week at Mooseclumps. And as he builds fans on his website and Facebook, he hasn't let go of his dream of publishing a book.
As he writes on his website: "He really, really, really wants to write children's books."
Go Ask Mom features moms every Monday, but we're writing about local dads in June.