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.