Tuesday, 19 May 2009

one day you'll write about me


The other night, someone very close to me reminded me of a story I'd told her about Mum a while back.

Mum and I went through a rough patch in my 20s, as I first disappointed her by coming out as Gay and then by dropping out of University. Almost overnight, I turned from being the star pupil she could hold up as her achievement to a mortifying embarrassment and a source of family shame. Apart from one letter where she scolds me for bringing the threat of AIDS into her home and tells me that I'm "wrestling with devils on the edge of an abyss" I didn't hear from her for over a year and things were strained between us for many years afterward.

Mum was aware that I had ambitions to write. Indeed, as I struggled to define myself I found that writing aided me greatly as a meditative exercise, helping me distinguish feelings that I'd hitherto been unable to articulate, including feelings about my Parents. They were not curious people, however, and showed little interest in what I produced. I kept my poetry to myself, in the main.

However, in later years, whenever Mum found herself in the wrong on some issue, she would invariably try to distract me from her inability to apologise by saying:

"Some day you'll write about all this, won't you? You'll write about your terrible Mother."

And I would insist that I had no intention of doing so, that the events themselves were traumatic or tedious enough as they were, and why the hell would I want to experience them all over again by writing about them? To me, it seemed like Mum was accusing me of a betrayal, and that it was simultaneously somewhat arrogant of her to assume that she merited my efforts as a biographer. Most of all, I didn't like that she was implying that I could be vindictive in that way. I sincerely meant it when I said I'd never write about her.

Only now, it seems that I've made her my subject after all.

Life is one long joke at our expense.

9 comments:

citygirl said...

Greg, what a great posting! I really smiled reading this entry. I think you are an excellent writer and I really enjoy reading your blog, not just for the Alzheimers content, but for your writing.

Greg said...

Aw...shucks, thank you. You know I feel the same about your writing. You've had me gripped or devastated more times than I'd care to admit. You can really nail it when you have the need. I often have no idea what I'm writing until it's done :D

Oh Sew Good said...

I'm visiting today and just wanted to encourage you with your writing. You write very well but I have a feeling you already knew that. :)

Greg said...

Why thank you so much. I would never go so far as to claim anything more than competence, but people have been most kind about this blog and I'm encouraged to do more one day. Thank you for visiting!

D said...

Greg, isn't it funny how these child/parent issues come up when dealing w/ AD? Grrrr, I've gone through my own "stuff" too. Your mom is blessed to have you looking after her. I enjoyed this post too. D

Sorata said...

Aww... As a person who can't write, I won't comment on other's writing, but you always bring emotions out of me when I read your posts :)

LSL said...

What irony. When I came out as living with my boyfriend, not going to church anymore, and just generally being a huge disappointment, my mom stopped speaking to me for about 3 months. It's so hard to have those fears realized. Now when my mom avoids apologizing, she says, "Oh, it's just another thing I've done wrong, isn't it? Add it to the list."

Beautiful picture. Lovely.

I'm still waiting for the personal blog . . .

Greg said...

Thank you, All. This is another of those posts which I thought was inconsequential and a bit of "filler" when it first occurred to me, but which I'm glad I've recorded, now. It's so good to hear that it's brought some pleasure to you all.

LSL, I love the idea of you "coming out" as a "disappointment" (t-shirt opportunity?). Are we all destined to disappoint our Mothers, I wonder? I also wonder how much of that perceived disappointment is real and how much we're projecting (I know... I know... I don't believe it's more than 0.5% either, but I'm trying to sound open-minded). I think Mum also used that line about "just another thing I've done wrong..." too - it's a hugely annoying way of sounding like you're apologising but NOT. Grrr.

The personal blog is coming. It's not the one that I intended, though. The reason I've held off so long is that I wanted to write one about my travels and my responses to travelling, but I'm still uncertain of my plans (or if I have any chance of getting away), so I've decided to start raiding my notebooks from the past 20 years or so and recording some of my previous ideas and observations (and journeys). There won't be the same tight focus as this blog, so I'm not sure how successful it will be. Give me a month or so and I'll get something going.

Sorata said...

OOOooo while you're at your personal blog, maybe you can update mine at the same time? :D