In October we are capsized by abruptly cold weather no matter how much we long for it. The veil between this world and the next lifts just as abruptly.
I’d been dreaming of all the couches where I perched in my childhood–all the family homes where I briefly ingratiated myself, not because I craved the companionship of peers or the comfort of uncomplicated adults, but because I’d craved order and cleanliness. Coziness.
Even now, though my mother and I rarely speak, I hesitate to write about the disorder of my family home. It is sexist that the blame landed so resoundingly on her shoulders but the truth is it was mostly her fault. She and my father had one of those fucked-up divisions of labors that a creative person like her should never have attempted–he made money, she kept house. I knew she was bored, I knew she was unhappy, I knew she was profoundly ill-suited to this suburban pathology masquerading as mythology. I also knew she couldn’t think of anything else to do so she sat at the kitchen table day in and day out, drinking cold coffee, slowly reading the paper, looking out the window.
And, you know, not keeping house.
Keep in mind it wasn’t the 1940s but the 1970s. Women’s liberation was happening all around her. It just came too late for her purposes. Continue Reading →