5 Questions with Author, Alum, and Superhero While he Sleeps, Narcippa Teague
Narcippa Teague’s recently published children’s book Daddy, I’m Scared is about taking control of bad dreams. Though he wrote the first draft more than a decade ago, the moral of the story is one he gladly re-learned. Teague (Communication Design, ’04) was inspired to write the book when his daughters Lisa (now 25) and Lizette (24) woke him on consecutive nights after having nightmares about the boogieman. On the third night, Teague was ready when they came into the room. He explained that he also had those nightmares as a child, before learning how to take control of his dreams.
Teague tells the story of how he conquered his own fears and anxiety in rich detail. It began with the realization that the dreams he was having were his, and he had the power to control them. So, the next time he began to have the nightmare, Teague reminded himself of that and turned himself into a superhero. He watched the way the boogieman worked, learned his habits, and soon surprised and subdued him. It was a skill his daughters mastered as well. They chose to become Wonder Girl and Hawk Girl and discovered how to turn scary obstacles into opportunities for adventure.
It isn’t always that easy. Sometimes the fear of real-life boogiemen—like the fear of failure that accompanies a daunting project—can become difficult to overcome. That’s what the book became for Teague. The manuscript lived on a laptop for nearly two decades. It wasn’t until Teague reunited with his high school sweetheart, Kamika Kelly, that he found the courage and motivation to put it out into the world. He and Kelly were married in January 2020 and Teague became the proud parent of three more children: twins Sydney and Walter (23), and Aaron (15).
“I showed her the manuscript that I’d written years ago, and she challenged me to do something with it,” Teague said. “She put the battery in my pack to just see what would happen if I got it published.”
It took nearly two years, but the book was published in September. Seeing it through to completion nearly 15 years later has Teague right back where he started that night with his two girls—basking in the confidence of having defeated a boogieman and feeling the promise of an exciting future. He is in the process of retiring after 15 years at AT&T and plans to use that time to write more books, continue coaching basketball (Teague played two seasons at Chico State following a nine-year stint in the Navy), and work on the business he and Kamika have started, S&K Enterprises.
When did you discover your talent and passion for writing?
It actually started when I was in the Navy, out at sea. I would write to friends and family, describing the daily routine of being on a ship. In the Navy they describe being on a ship as the haze, and gray, and underway. I really enjoyed the process of writing, and I got feedback that I was pretty good at it, which was nice.
You were 27 when you came to Chico State. What was your experience like, including being the oldest member of the basketball team?
Coach (Puck Smith) was an Army Ranger. I think that my age and my military experience were something he thought the team needed. He wanted me there for that. The team was coming off a rough year and had a lot of young guys coming in. They called me uncle and grandpa, but I think I brought some maturity that was good for the program. We turned things around and had a couple of good seasons. (After winning only six games in 27 tries the season prior to Teague’s arrival, the Wildcats finished 18-9 the following season and 17-10 in 2003-04, advancing to the NCAA Championship Tournament.) As far as Chico State itself, it was an awesome experience. I had never been to Chico, but on my visit, I just fell in love with the beauty. I had babies at the time and just felt like this would be a nice spot.
What have been some of your favorite responses to the book?
Websites and podcasts have hit me up. I did a podcast called Dads with Daughters and another one called Tony on the Mic. That’s been really cool to have them notice the book and reach out and let me share about it. And then there’s the group chat I have with my Chico State teammates; They send me pictures with the book in their hand and reading it to their kids. They’re making faces and clowning. It’s fun to see these dudes with kids now. They used to see my girls running around the gym and now some of them have their own.
How do you Do and Dare?
Getting this book out there was a turning point for me. I’m ready for some new adventures. We started a business—I want to do some consulting and public speaking. I want to give back to my community. I’m coaching and I want to write more books. I tell my children all the time to jump into the water with the sharks and see if you can swim. So, I need to do the same thing. I’ve been stuck in this day-to-day monotony for a long time, and I’m finally doing new things, creating new opportunities for myself. I tell my kids not to wait until they’re approaching 50 like I am. My 15-year-old is autistic and the dude writes, man. He types so fast, and I ask him, “Why are you banging on the computer?” Then I look at the computer and they are full sentences. He’s writing a full story. Seeing me write this book and get it published in real time—seeing the process—motivated him. That felt good, man. So, me being an example by jumping out there is the biggest thing for me, even when it’s scary.
Do you have any ideas about what you want to write about next?
I have a whole bunch of titles and ideas that revolve around basketball. One idea is a series of stories revolving around a short kid with big feet—kind of like the ugly duckling story. My sophomore year I was five feet four. From my sophomore to junior year, I went from five-four to five-eleven with size 13 shoes and everyone used to call me Ronald McDonald. I want to kind of play off that to write some fictional stories.