thinking about how to turn a damaging expose of private family life into an entertaining romp thru the vagaries of human nature. there’s a steep hill. there’s a slippery slope. depends on whether you’re above it or it’s still to do. gravity.
but, be honest, how many of us have never wanted to kill our parents, our siblings, even our own children? i have an aunt who once admitted to me that she wished she’d drowned one particular child at birth. it seems cold hearted, and in this day of political correctness and humanitarian oversensitivity, it seems unnatural not to cherish every moment with your loved ones.
but i remember being a teenager and heartily wishing everyone in my family dead, at times, even myself. not something i would have carried out, but that doesn’t diminish the emotional intensity or the vital urgency of escaping from the pain and torment of living with my family. and they’re a fine family, i hasten to assure you.
it’s not them, it’s me.
actually, it is them. it’s them too. as a rational adult, i know that each of us has their own path, and their own problems, and their own solutions; that what works for me would so not work for any of the others. we all have a right to whatever works for us, no matter what. it’s just that i never for one moment thought that they’d all become right wing republican born-agains. i believe they’re wrong, that they chose their paths out of fear instead of love, and i take every opportunity to gently guide them back toward a kinder, gentler way of seeing the world. which of course never works. at best i can undermine their certainty and march off in front of them toward the light of understanding and acceptance, hoping they’ll see my happiness and follow.
i think my point was trying to be that even tho as an adult you just plain old have to accept that other people have the right to do what they want with their lives, the child in you wants to beat them to death because they’re an abomination of everything you live by. and if you take a family, even the cleavers, and remove all the kind, good, generous, helpful things about the relationships, what you end up with is a bunch of trapped animals tearing each other apart. which makes for good copy.
i was lying in bed with jim last night talking over the plot, trying to fit all the extra role models into the few roles there are to play, blending personalities and grievances. i reached the place of understanding for a moment. i saw how to make mom so nasty and evil that you couldn’t help wanting to kill her. that’s a good place to be. it means i can go forward with it. i think i was toying with having mom rewrite her will every time somebody pissed her off, which they would do in rotation, with a new black sheep and a new favorite child every few weeks.
this is the theoretical mom, i hasten to add. the fiction mom, the larger then life repository of all the archetypal mom stuff. is that okay?
no, can’t say i’m conflicted here. for every insight into family dynamics i have an equal feeling of shouldn’t that stops me for a moment. jim will say that’s a good thing. if i’m feeling anxious and torn by contradictions at this early stage, i’ll have a real chance of exposing the very raw nerves that make me an artist, and give me a chance to rebuild that significant part of my mental makeup as i process it. that’s the real goal of an artist, laying the soul bare.
i’m starting to get away from using actual family members as role models, anyway. once i combined them from 6 kids to 4, that reduced the numbers of spice who also had to be killed off. what i need to do is define them as archetypes, and fill in the personality details of friends, relatives, and detestables as i go along. that’s why i started out with birth order psychology.
funny, when you look at my family, my oldest younger brother and i share traits of the oldest, and i also look a lot like the youngest, which the two youngest share as well. we all separate out into distinct family roles, but they aren’t the same as any of the birth order explanations i can find on the net. however, since we’re talking about fiction, i can make them up any way i want, as long as you can tell them apart and they end up doing different things. yeah.
i’m thinking that i will enjoy writing again. my main thing is art, but i also find very great fulfillment and artistic flow when i write. it’s something about getting my accumulated knowledge and wisdom out and communicated, such as it is. it’s also something about having these words appear in my head and flow thru my fingers without much conscious participation. they say channelling feelings like a very long orgasm, and leaves you exhausted. it’s addictive, like all art is, and i find it easier to produce art thru my fingers onto a keyboard than to struggle with pigments and mediums and surfaces. i’m planning on getting the laptop out and making it connect to the wireless probly with help, and installing it down in the studio so that i can paint when i’m not writing, and avoid burning out maybe, like i did after last year’s nanowrimo.
i think i remember that i worked on cathy eats her words in ’07 and continued working on it in ’08. all the more reason not to continue to the conclusion in ’09. nothing turned out anything like what i was writing, anyway.
it’s turned into a fine early fall day outside, which means breezy and sunny but with few to no mosquitos, so maybe i’ll go pull back some kudzu and pile up a few yards of weeds. i could take the dogs and let them hang in the dog run. i’m going to enjoy sitting in my plastic chair and watching my backyard. maybe i’ll take my notebook and work on who the characters are and what they’re like at home.