No, I don’t have a favourite story. Why do you ask?

First of all, I hate picking favourite stories. I have lots of favourites.

Secondly, if I had to pick a story, really, I’d pick one of my own books, because if I didn’t like my own writing, I wouldn’t bother to do it. But that would come off pretty conceited, and even then, I have trouble choosing. It’s like picking your favourite child—why bother? They’re all terrific in their own way.

Thirdly, like Heraclitus said, you can never step in the same river twice. You can never read the same book twice. You grow up. Fashions change. What seemed so mind-blowing at five years old doesn’t seem so relevant now.

So I’m going super-simple on this one.

Once, many moons ago, when my father was tucking me into bed, I asked him, “If a vampire broke into the house, what would you do?”

I waited for him to tell me, “There’s no such thing as a vampire.” Or “Don’t be silly.” Or “Go to sleep.”What he said was, without hesitation, “I’d fight him.”

That brought me so much comfort. That he listened to me, and that he’d fight for me. I thought of it many times, over many years.

He died from brain cancer five years ago, but that’s one thing I’ll take with me.

Written for the iversity course “The Future of Storytelling.”

My dad, my mom, and my newborn son

My dad, my mom, and my newborn son

And the vampire story I wrote, first published in 2003. Bonus points if you recognize the title.

And the vampire story I wrote, first published in 2003. Bonus points if you recognize the title.