Saturday, May 07, 2005

Chile rellenos and a banjo from 2000 miles distant

We met her in the BART station and she walked barefoot the ten blocks (glass littered, crawling with invisible terrors) back to the attic where I live. My little sister, desert girl, she's outgrown me, that's for sure. As always I am awed, impressed, and slightly aghast but also overjoyed to see her. She's been living in the mountains up of Taos, no phone, no internet, just a banjo and a beloved and apparently lots of elk. And she's burnished terra cotta and she looks good and I don't really know what to say, I always want to deny her vulnerability and ascribe some super humanity to her because it's there.
She's spent the last four (shit, is it four?) years well. I have spent them badly, losing things, losing the tips of things, letting go, deadened. And I wonder if in part this is a function of her having found someone to love and be loved by, or is it the other way around? The way she TCOB generates love, as the self help gurus would have us believe. Will, and habit, and patterns, and luck. I don't know. So she's teaching herself to play banjo and I walk around feeling like a double amputee,but who was the surgeon? Again, I don't know. The chile rellenos were cold. But good anyway. You couldn't pay me to walk barefoot in the Mission. Berkeley, maybe.

And that says it all.
No, it says nothing.


I am going to try a revolutionary experiment and dwell on my competence around my little sister, and what I have to offer, rather than running into this selfish retreat of assuming I'm shit and she's shinola. (and there are times when I wish I had read fewer self help books and more philosophy, because somehow their idiom always comes up in my relationship to my sister--why? I read acres of them when trying to deal with this thing with her, and so did she,and we traded them back and forth,and it was our way of communicating. To name a few:
The Dance of Intimacy--Harriet Lerner, Phd MD
The Dance of Anger-- Harriet Lerner, etc
Radical Honesty--Dr. Brad Blanton (meaty lipped Kurt Russell looking guy on the cover)
Non-Violent Communcation--Dr. Marshall Rosenburg (this is actually a fantastic manual for revamping knee-jerk modes of communication--I've since lost it, of course)
Pema Chodrun--When Things Fall Apart
and on and on...
what was I saying? Oh yeah, I don't remember.

If I could compile a list of self-help books that I've read in the course of trying not to slit my wrists over this breach with my sister, I would have to put Uncle Kurt Vonnegut at the top of the list.
Uncle Kurt saved my life. The very bleakness of his vision was a consolation. The absurdity and the pragmatic tenderness that runs through most of his books bolstered me. And he loved his sister. She died.

Christ I am rambling, but so what, this thing just hangs in a vaccuum anyway, it's interstellar graffitti, or the wash of thoughts that runs through you as you're falling asleep, easy come, easy go.

I was talking about my younger sister, and the idioms we embraced in trying to find a way back to each other, and thinking about how canned wisdom takes hold, and cliche, and how there are kernals there that really can help.
I draw the line at "Chicken Soup for the Soul."


Blogger Boz said...

Barefoot, seriously?
I'm sending you good vibes.

9:34 PM  

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