I started entries here a month or so before my father died (and I knew he was dying) and not long after I turned sixty. It felt like the thing to do. I have long externalized stuff by writing about it and that sometimes gives me at least a momentary hold on what I am feeling. But I don’t know about all this looking back. William Blake said, drive your plow through the bones of the dead. That I think means “screw the past” and/or “forget.” I like that idea really and am a firm believer in the powers of positive forgetting. Thank god, we do forget.
But I have long worried about the death of my parents and how that might affect me. I remember at college a Professor of Philosophy, much beloved, who, a month after his mother died, committed suicide. Psychological dependence is a powerful thing, and while I cannot say that I have positive feelings about either of my parents, I do think that powerful negative feelings may also indicate signs of dependence or at least attachment. Working these feelings through may be important.
Also over the years, I have tried to tell, now and then, stories about my growing up, and while my auditors generally laughed, at one point somebody would always say, “You should write a book!” In light of my paranoia, I did not feel people were saying, “You have great material there,” but “Would you please shut up, go away, and write a book.” I can understand how stories of homicidal rage might perturb people, and I have a strong anal streak too that some find offensive. I guess not everybody liked hearing that my father had become so constipated that he had taken to digging out the shit with a spoon.
Well, what can I say? It happened.
While I did want to do justice to the darker material, I wanted also to be humorous about it. But I am not sure I have always managed to achieve comic effects, and some people might find funny some things that I don’t. So that part is confusing, especially since one of my readers says that I appear in these entries too frequently angry, rage full, mentally and perhaps criminally unstable. In addition, this reader continued, you are not the person in these pages. You are in fact caring, compassionate, very intelligent and don’t use fuck every other word.
Well, that’s true too. But when I wrote these entries I didn’t try to filter them through my more compassionate side. I wrote from the emotion that the particular memory evoked, and these emotions were not always compassionate or caring. Sometimes, they were homicidal. I can’t do anything about that. Though I should say that I have never murdered anyone and am in fact opposed to murder on general grounds.
I write these remarks because I feel that I may be reaching the end of what I wanted to remember about my mother, my father, and my family. But who knows, something may turn up in the memory banks or I may go in another direction.