--SOMETIMES THE REASONS DON’T MATTER
…I’m almost finished reading Tim O’Brien’s essay collection, “If I Die In A Combat Zone” about his time in Viet Nam. It’s riveting and revolting and beautifully written. Makes a person despise war even more than they would have before. I wish I could write as well as Tim O’Brien.
…I’ve had a run of bad luck to start the year. Some of it is my own fault, some not. I’m hoping for a turnaround any day now.
…My mother’s been dead two years now, but I think of her often. I feel quite distanced from her. In her final years I rarely saw her. When I did, it was always a game of acting—attempts to paint normal across the black past, the crimes and misdemeanors, the tortures both physical and mental.
It seems to me that it’s pretty hard to hate a child. Especially your own. It would be very difficult to hurt a child, especially your own. The only rationale for such a thing would have to be mental illness, which is what I assume my mother had during those dark years. Believing this allows me compartmentalize the experiences, to keep them contained in a place far away.
I don’t really know why I’m thinking of her now, or what trigger my thoughts. Must have been something.
Did I love my mother? I suppose so. Your duty is to love your parent, despite everything.
One of the things I found odd was how differently she turned out as she aged. Gone was the paranoia and suspicion, the lurking anger, the treachery. So if it left her, or if she kept it in check, was she really mentally ill after all? Of course, I’ll never know. But that’s some of what I’ve been wondering.
Parenting your children, teaching them well, setting a great example—those are the most important things one can do. Holding in check “the sins of the father” is key as well.
Someone suggested I write a memoir about my family growing up, but I find that idea impossible. Most of the stories I write have blades of truth in them, and that’s why my characters are always getting wounded. As I’ve said before, I just don’t know how to write a happy story.
So that was a bit of a rant and now I’m done. I promise not to be so maudlin in the future.
Let’s us have a great day, what do you say?